History, architecture, landscape
Probably not for you if you don't like history, Harry Potter, books or gardens
An excellent centre for wonderful things to see around Northumberland
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
The Alnwick Garden was opened to the general public officially in October 2002 by its patron, the Prince of Wales. They were not as big as I thought they would be but interesting nontheless - a good mox of plants and fountains of modern ddesign too (see pics). The large fountain has various timed displays. The gardens can be visited separately to...more
If you're in the Gardens, it's not at all apparent that you're right next to the town - if you're come by car it would be easy to leave without seeing the town centre at all. Which would be a pity, as Alnwick is a very pleasant market town (the market is on Saturdays, incidentally, although I was there midweek and missed it), with some nice...more
If you are a big Harry Potter fan, or are travelling with one, then this castle is likely to be a must see - it's one of the filming locations for Hogwarts School. When I got there, there was a "Harry Spotter" tour going on, which seemed, naturally, to be aimed at kids.For the rest of us, the castle is the real deal - it dates from 1309, but unlike...more
If you like gardens, or enjoy a stroll in attractive surroundings, then the Alnwick Gardens are well worth a visit. The modern gardens opened in 2002 and are based around a huge water feature and a lovely walled garden, and new features are being developed as the garden matures. The main water feature, named "The Grand Cascade" has a set of...more
we went to alwick castle for my daughters 5th birthday as a surpriseas she is a mad harry potter fan and she wanted to go and see where he goes to school!!!!!!. When we got there we went around the gardens while we waited for the castle to open and had a brief look and were very impressed and then we went to the castle when we went around the...more
I really enjoyed the castle visit - both externally in the grounds and internally where there is so much to see. You really do get the impression that it is a much loved family home (informal family pictures in the rooms added to the homely feel) and not just a museum piece. Infact its the second largest inhabited castle in England (second only to...more
Right by the Bondgate, so 'Alnwick central'. Private parking at the rear (steepish drive to get into...more
Chathill, Alnwick, NE67 5DN, United Kingdom
Good for: Business
Embleton, Alnwick, NE66 3UN, United Kingdom
Good for: Business
Pleasant little place this, with a good choice of pizza, pasta etc.Good to find somewhere that offers something more than just the bog-standard Anglo-Italian fare.I enjoyed my roasted vegetable risotto very much, and my 2 glasses of house white wine. The espresso was good as well. For a total of 12.50GBP (2009) this was a good value place to eat,...more
I stayed here, but I ate here as well.I'd have eaten here every night, but the full cooked breakfast meant I simply couldn't eat a big meal at night as well!The evening menu is not large (they serve a range of light meals, panini, soups, sandwiches, cream teas etc during the daytime) but it is really well-cooked and very reasonably-priced.I had the...more
The lunchbox is a cheap and cheerful cafe in the market square in Alnwick. You can eat in for £4.50 or take the food out for £3.00.There was a choice of about six main courses.There are also plenty of sandwich options, all at well under £2.00.We had tea and chocolate cake for 2 and the cost was only £4.00.ONLY OPEN DURING THE DAY.Staff are very...more
When going to Alnwick by train, hop off at Alnmouth station and then take the bus into Alnwick. The bus stop is just up the road somewhat to the left; the 518 runs once every hour or so and takes about 10 minutes. When travelling from Newcastle, you can also take the bus, routes 501 or 505 (best NOT to take the 518, as it takes absolutely ages), which is a cheap alternative to the train and takes somewhat more than an hour to get to Alnwick. For fares and timetables, check the Arriva bus website.
This secondhand bookshop is based in what used to be Alnwick station. It is one of the largest secondhand bookshops in the UK.
The railway theme is maintained by the model trains which run along the top of some of the bookshelves.
Tea, coffee and soft drinks are available.
A great place to spend some time browsing.
This pretty little cottage sits opposite the Tenantry column on the main road into Alnwick from the A1.One legend says it was built in two weeks, as part of a bet (a wager) between the Duchess of Northumberland and the 2nd Duke.But that may well not be true.Nice little place though, especially with this year's 'clock' flowerbed in front.more
Entirely amazing this, and a real sign of how the ruling classes were once perceived by those 'below' them.The Tenantry Column was raised in 1816. It was paid for by the tenants of the 2nd Duke of Northumberland, who had kindly reduced their rents during the recession which followed the Napoleonic Wars.Amazing.Local legend has it that, having seen...more
...because some are still to be seen.Look up, because often the higher storeys of a building are the least changed. The windows in the photo are clearly much, much older than their wooden sashes would indicate......probably 16th or 17th century.The two shops in the main photo were once the Hospice of Alnwick Abbey (its guesthouse). They date from...more
It was a gorgeous, sunny September day when we visited Alnick Castle and gardens. Some might say that we were lucky. Yes, we were. But not because of the fine weather, but because the location is such a gem to visit.
Home of the Dukes of Northumberland since 1309 (as well as home to the current Duke and Duchess and their family), Alnwick Castle (pronounced 'ah-NICK') is an imposing (some describe it as 'forboding') and impressive as you approach it, and is one of the finest medieval castles in England. Located above the city of Alnwick, the castle provided important border defence for centures (it is believed that the Romans also had a settlement here) and now provides the visitor with an idlyllic, romantic venue full of historical and visual interest.
Several rooms are on view inside the castle, featuring fabulous works of art, fine period design and other displays that tell stories about the interests of the Dukes of Northumberland through the ages. The stone towers in the inner and outer bailey are home to fascinating and informative museums. When we visited, a live display of falconry and other birds (such as owls, which we found out from the trainer and particularly dim!). There are always activities for children and families (the castle served as the location of the quidditch match in the first Harry Potter film), making it a truly special place to visit for people of all ages. Check the website for current special events.
A short walk from the castle is the Alnwick Gardens. Jane Percy, the current duchess, began renovating the derelict gardens in 1997. In my opinion, the woman is a genius. The grounds are beautifully landscaped, with fabulous fountains, stunning architecture and, of course, a variety of plants of all kinds. The magnificent rose garden and the poison garden are of particular interest, as is the fascinating cascading fountain. Activities for children ('Know and Grow') and the opportunity to purchase many of the plants on display (sadly, those of us in N. America can only dream of doing this...) are just two of countless reasons to visit this magical place.
Both sites feature a good selection of places to eat and cottages are available to rent at the castle.
Please check the website for opening times and prices during your planned visit.
There is much more to say about Alnwick Castle and Gardens than can possibly fit here. It's a magical adventure that should not be missed!
NE66 1NQ England
Tel: 01665 510777
24 Hour Information: 01665 511100
Alnwick is approximately 45 mintues from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne; off the A1. Castle and Gardens are 309 miles north of London. Trains from London leave from King's Cross.
Fondest memory: There are so many to choose from...however, I'll have to choose the fun and educational hawking demonstration that also included other birds of prey, including owls. It was partially interactive, which meant we could approach and touch some of the birds (mostly the owls).