Are you a Harry Potter fan? Have you always wanted to visit the very spot where Harry Potter and friends first learned to fly on broomsticks?
Do you love classic British architecture? Do you swoon at the sight of a medieval gargoyle or a castle turret?
Or perhaps you are a British history buff, always interested in new tidbits of information about royal families, treason, betrayals, and romance?
Whatever your tastes, Alnwick Castle is the place of choice for anyone interested in a day of history, beauty, and even a little magic.
Alnwick Castle sits in Northumberland, England. It is the current and historical home of the Duke of Northumberland, although it has passed through many hands before gaining this distinction.
Built in the eleventh century, Alnwick Castle has played an important part – several times over – in the struggle for Scottish independence. The castle and its grounds have been the site of many military struggles and conquests.
Walking through the grounds, you can almost feel the history that has taken place there. The men who fought on that very patch of earth, some defending and some conquering, seem to live on in the thick and fragrant English air.
Alnwick Castle is not only an historical site, but a popular filming location, as well. Many movies have filmed scenes on the Alnwick grounds, such as Elizabeth, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, and – of course – several Harry Potter films.
Alnwick Castle’s exterior serves as Hogwart’s Academy in the Harry Potter movies, and die-hard fans are able to walk around and point out spots where important events took place in Harry Potter’s world.
For visitors who are more interested in the architecture, you won’t be disappointed. Alnwick Castle is incredibly well-preserved, although many alterations and restorations have been done over the years, blurring many styles together. This variation in styles does, however, add to the unique charm of this historic castle which has changed hands and loyalties many times.
The stately Alnwick Castle has the distinction of being the second largest inhabited castle in all of England, and it even shares its grounds with the offices of St. Cloud State University. The castle is also home to an impressive and breathtaking collection of art pieces from around the world.
In keeping with its strong sense of British history, Alnwick Castle is also home to the Fusiliers Museum of Northumberland. The museum houses an incredible collection of uniforms, memorabilia, weapons, and other artifacts relating to this most fascinating branch of the British military. The museum was recently updated and even features children’s activities.
Alnwick Castle isn’t just about history and architecture. During your visit, the children in your party can find out what it was like to be a knight or a lady in medieval times by attending Knights School. They will wear the clothes that knights and ladies wore and learn how these noble souls received their training. They may even get to participate in a lively joust or swordfight!
While you are at Alnwick Castle, a visit to Alnwick Garden must not be missed. Established by the current Duchess of Northumberland, the garden is the third most popular paid admission garden in the United Kingdom. It boasts a beautiful cascading fountain, 6,000 square foot tree house, and a quirky poison garden.
As you can see, a visit to Alnwick Castle is a trip through many parts of Britain’s incredible history – and even its present. Spending a day at Alnwick Castle will delight everyone in your family. If you have to choose just one castle to visit during your stay in England, Alnwick offers you the most variety of activities and educational opportunities.