This interesting museum gives the history of Alnwick and District in an interactive way.
See and hear people from past and present. Special film and achive footage.
Entry costs £2.50 for adults and £2.00 for concessions. Children free. Open 10.00 am to 5.00 pm in the summer and children under 16 must have an adult with them. Wheelchair access throughout.
Also called Bondgate Tower, this is the major remaining chunk of the town's Medieval defences.
Alnwick was never fully-walled, because the money ran out. But it did have this massive great gate, and a similar one at Pottergate (replaced in the 1700s).
The Hotspur/Bondgate Tower dates from 1480, and was built by the 4th Earl of Northumberland. His grandfather was Sir Henry Percy, nicknamed 'Hotspur' because of his impulsive nature., and so the tower got its name.
It fulfils a useful function nowdays in slowing down traffic as it enters and leaves the main street. The tower gate is only wide enough for one vehicle (and too low for most lorries, which is useful), and there are no traffic lights or management. Drivers just have to go very, very slowly and are thus forced to be nice to each other! :-)
150 years ago the landlord was putting the bottles in this pub window when he collapsed and died.
It was said that anyone moving them would suffer the same fate.
So they have not been touched since. Apparently.
Which makes photgraphing them rather difficult, because the window glass, as well as the bottles, is pretty dirty!
You can see them in the window of 'Ye Olde Cross' pub, at the end of Narrowgate.
A proper English pub, this one.......nothing fancy here.
One room, a stone floor, small round pub tables with wrought iron legs and a bench running round the wall.
A large TV and a slot machine and, judging by the amplifiers tucked away up the corner, a regular music venue of some type.
But friendly enough on a wet afternoon, when I was the only customer, with good beer and a free newspaper to read.
Beware: the clock on the wall is a 'backwards' one. I was confused for quite a while, and I'd only had half a pint!
The Golden Fleece is a good pub, with a range of proper beers, a real fire and a good selection of food (except on Tuesdays).
It also hosts a monthly jam session for musicians playing traditional Northumbrian music (see videos) as well as various other musical events, quizzes etc.
Unfortunately, they stop serving food very early on nights when there is music. I found this out to my cost, but the crisps and real ale made up for it (followed by chips from the local chippie later on).
Worht popping in for a pint or two, and edefinitely worth a visit if it happens to be a traditional music night.
Accommodated in the old Victorian railway station, Barter Books is one of the biggest second-hand bookshops in Britain. You can easily spend hours in here, just browsing or sitting in the reading room (once the waiting room) with a cup of tea next to the open fire (only in winter). Much of the walls are lined with glass cases containing antiquarian books, there's a model train linking the book columns in the central room and there is a beautiful writers mural painted by Peter Dodd, also in the central room.
Open every day 9-5, Thursdays 9-7.
April-September open every day 9-7.
Hulne Park is part of the Duke of Northumberland's lands, and part of it is open to the public. Great for a good few hours' walk, sometimes without meeting a soul. It is all fairly easy terrain and there are three different routes to follow (all signposted), which take you past fields, over the river Aln and across woods and some moorland. Don't miss Brizlee Tower on top of Brizlee Hill and the 13th-century Carmelite priory. Unfortunately, you can't get inside Brizlee Tower, but it is still worth climbing the hill and enjoy the building and the view. Hulne Priory is generally open though. Other interesting buildings include the park's entrance and the gatehouse of Alnwick Abbey (which is all there is left of it). Local wildlife you're very likely to encounter include feasants, squirrels, some deer if you're lucky and lots of sheep and cows.
Open from sunrise until sunset
In the middle of Hulne Park, on top of a great hill in the middle of a field lies Hulne Priory. This Carmelite priory was built in 1240 to house 24 friars. Later additions include the 15th-century bell tower and the 18th-century summerhouse and statues. It is surrounded by high walls, but the door overlooking the fields below is generally open. As it is not advertised as a tourist attraction, it is a wonderfully secluded spot; I've hardly ever seen anyone there. Wonderful to wander around in and soak up the atmosphere.
The Lonely Planet Guidebook says that if you like castles dont miss this one!
This castle has probably got a lot of attention since becoming the location for the Harry Potter (not Harry Hotspur!) movies but is also acknowledged as being the second largest inhabited castle outside Windsor.
The Percys, Earls and Dukes of Northumberland, have owned this castle since 1309 and apparently are best known for their ancestor born here, Harry Hotspur (not Harry Potter!) who was killed in rebellion against the king and immortalised in Shakespeare's Henry IV.
Little has changed outwardly but the interior has been substantially altered. The six rooms open to the public are full of Italian paintings by masters such as Canaletto and Titian.
Also available with a separate ticket are the infamously expensively landscaped gardens with enormous water feature.
Theres an excellent view of the castle looking up the River Aln from the B1340 road to the coast.
The revolutionary home of Lord Armstrong, Victorian inventor and landscape genius, was a wonder of its age. Built on a rocky crag high above the Debdon Burn, Cragside is crammed with ingenious gadgets and was the first house in the world lit by hydroelectricity.
The variety and scale of Cragside's gardens are also incredible. Surrounding the house on all sides is the one of the largest 'hand-made' rock gardens in Europe. In the Pinetum below, England's tallest Douglas fir soars above other woodland giants. Across the valley the Orchard House still produces fresh fruit of all varities.
Down in the valley the power house can be visited. Armstrong's amazing creation can be explored by foot and by car and though I didnt see any, provides one of the last shelters for the endangered red squirrel.
Give yourself at least a couple of hours to enjoy the house and extensive gardens which are now run by the National Trust.
Opening times for the house are daily afternoons only
(closed Mondays - except open Bank Holidays!)
March to Oct 1-5.30 pm
Oct to Nov 1-4.30 pm
Gardens (also closed Mondays - except Bank Holidays open): March to Nov 10.30-5.30
and restaurant Nov to 21 Dec 11-4pm (closed Mondays & Tuesdays)
Last admission to house 1 hour before closing
The Alnwick Garden has something for everyone. The Duchess of Northumberland has been instrumental in the development and planning of the garden.
The Grand Cascade is a wonderful water feature, with gallons of water providing a fantastic display. Children enjoy playing in the jets of water, so bring a change of clothing!
For garden enthusiasts, there is a rose garden, an ornamental garden (walled), a poison garden and also a woodland walk.
There is a maze of bamboos and a serpent garden with 8 water sculptures.
The treehouse is huge with rope bridges and walkways which are great fun to cross. There is a restaurant in the treehouse.
The other restaurant is in the Pavilion next to the Visitor Centre, which also includes shops and an information centre.
There are always lots of activities going on at the garden so it is worth looking at the website before you visit.
You can also hold a wedding at the garden and they cater for parties too.
Cost to enter the garden is £8.00 per adult, Concession £7.50. No charge for children.
We were fortunate enough to visit Alnwick town whilst a Continental market was being held. The array of goods on sale was larger than I expected and the variety most interesting.
Salamis and hams of differing breeds were on offer, all types of roasted nuts and crystalised and dried fruits, olives, cheeses, vegetables and a freshly baked baguette stall were amongst our favourites. Sampling was the done thing, with plates of the goods on offer all round the market.
We only bought a tiny venison salami sausage and a baguette. Both of these items were £1 each. We were astonished at the high prices and kept our hands in our pockets after our two measly purchases,our purse only being very, very small!!!
Great to wander round and if you've lots of money, I'm sure you'll find plenty to spend it on!!
Alnwick Castle is the main attraction in Alwnick. You may not even realize that the town is there. Anyway, you have to park a ways back from the castle and walk up to it, which adds to the experience. Especially since my trip starting on a bleary day with a light sprinkle which made the castle a bit foreboding. Once you get inside however it has some beautiful grounds and great architecture inside. Currently inhabited by the Duke of Northumberland, this castle has also played host to many movie sets including Harry Potter. The surrounding countryside is rolling hills, horses, cows and a river running by. Perfect setting.
Well, this is the obvious thing to do in Alnwick. The castle has been the home of the Percy family since the fourteenth century and is still lived in (there was a table football table in the library when I visited). It looks like everyone's idea of a medieval English castle, and was used as a location for filming Hogwarts School in the Harry Potter films. If you are that way inclined, you can buy a broomstick in the giftshop.
Inside, the apartments are grand, but with lived-in touches (such as the aforementioned table football and family photos).
There is also a small archaeological museum, but the Egyptian artefacts are now in the Oriental Museum in Durham.
The garden promises great things, but when I visited in 2004, a lot of the construction work was still going on. The roses in the rose garden were impressive though.
Alnwick church is well worth a visit. There is believed to have been a church on the site since Saxon times, though the current building mainly dates from the 1460s.
There are two tombs with stone effigies, which belong to the de Vesci family, which held Alnwick castle from the 11th century until the end of the thirteenth century, when the last Vesci lord died without a surviving legitimate son; one is that of his wife, Isabella, the other of a young man believed to be a member of the household.