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Highlight: Alnwick Castle and Gardens

Alnwick Castle is in Northumberland in the north of England, and it currently serves as the seat of the 12th Duke of Northumberland. It was founded in the 11th century and has served as the seat of Northumberland nobility for hundreds of years. It’s actually still inhabited today. However, a main reason people visit is because it’s the location where the first two Harry Potter movies were filmed. That was the real draw for me and my family to take a trip from Edinburgh and see it.

Alnwick Castle

You can buy a ticket to the castle, the gardens, or a combined ticket. Keep in mind that each deserves a good hour or two. At the castle, the main attraction is the State Rooms, which are very gorgeous. They remind me very much of the Newport Mansions in Rhode Island, very lavish in decorating. What stands out the most is that people still live there, so you’re not seeing State Rooms of the past, but State Rooms that are used in modern day. Also you can see some photographs of the current Duke’s family, a TV, some modern furniture, etc., which is quite a unique feature.

Alnwick Castle

Alnwick Castle

The exterior of the castle is incredibly gorgeous, and there’s some other things to do around the castle besides visit the inside. The castle has daily themed tours at different times of day, such as a movie tour. They also have an “Artisans Courtyard,” which is primarily designed for children. However they do have some crafts that are acceptable for adults. They also have a ride called the “Dragon Quest” (or something to that effect). In the courtyard alone, there’s a lot for younger guests to do, including the crafts and dress-up. It’s a nice idea.

Alnwick Castle

The castle also has “broomstick lessons,” mimicking the broomstick lessons that were filmed there for the first Harry Potter movie. What I did, and thought was quite fun, was archery. You get about 5-8 shots (depending on which mentor you get) and the mentors teach you how to shoot a bow and arrow. Though the line takes a while to get through, it’s because each person is given adequate time to learn how to properly stand and shoot. I found that to be cool. (Also, I hit the bullseye!)

Archery at Alnwick Castle Archery at Alnwick Castle

Next door is the garden, which is actually very large. It’s not a part of the original castle as it was first used as a garden in 1750. The garden you see today was sponsored by Jane Percy, Duchess of Northumberland in 1997, so it’s very new. They have a lot of different areas of plants to see, so it’s not your typical castle garden. The prominent feature of the garden is the cascading fountain. However, I found their rose garden to be absolutely stunning (I went in July and the roses were in bloom). It was so gorgeous. The gardens are also known for their Poison Garden, which I’ve seen coined as the “most dangerous garden in Britain.” You can only get in with a tour guide and everything there is poisonous to some degree; a lot of it is deadly. You can learn a lot about poisons and even see a real Mandrake root!

Alnwick Gardens

Alnwick Gardens

If you have the time, I definitely recommend adding the gardens onto your visit as well. It’s a bit pricey but if you think it’s worth it, then it definitely will be.

Alnwick Gardens

Alnwick is a town so there’s a bit to do there, like shop and eat. However it’s not huge. What I found most attractive about the area is the landscape. There’s lots of farmland and it’s absolutely gorgeous to drive through. I’ve loved driving through northern England every time I have.

Alnwick Castle

If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you should visit Alnwick Castle. It’s not only a great HP landmark but it’s a fun place to spend a few hours and it’s absolutely beautiful.

Have you ever been to Alnwick Castle? What did you think?

Posted on Saturday, November 9, 2019 in Destinations
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