Alnwick Castle

Alnwick Castle
Alnwick Castle

Alnwick Castle has been home to the Dukes of Northumberland for over 700 years. Fans of Harry Potter and / or Downton Abbey might recognise it, as it has starred in both. If you so wish, you can sign up for broomstick training on the very spot where Harry had his first lesson, and you can see in the State Rooms an exhibition of photographs, costumes and props from the Downton Christmas specials of 2014 and 2015 in which Alnwick doubled as Brancaster Castle.

As with Lindisfarne, I’d never been here before and enjoyed discovering the castle. The exterior is imposing, and I particularly liked the figures on the ramparts. They, and the numerous cannon lying about, could have been intimidating, but fortunately John, Valerie and Kenn look quite relaxed.

However, what I enjoyed most – and we didn’t know it was on before we went – was the falconry display. It was so well done that we watched it twice.

Afterwards, John was able to get up close and personal with some of the participants. Well, maybe not too close. Those beaks look scary!

Alnwick Castle is also famous for its gardens – however these operate as a separate attraction, and I think to do both we’d have needed more time. On the way out, we had a peek through the beautiful gates and there wasn’t much colour yet (this was a month ago) so we’ll save that up for another day. The gardens ticket includes admission to the intriguing Tree House, also a reason to go back.

This was the third day of our short Northumbrian break. One more castle to go!

61 thoughts on “Alnwick Castle

    • Anabel Marsh June 3, 2016 / 07:37

      Thanks. The birds were so impressive – as were there handlers.


  1. Liesbet June 2, 2016 / 23:53

    I don’t think I will ever tire of seeing (photos of) castles! Are those yellow plasticky things on the birds to keep their mouth shut?


    • Anabel Marsh June 3, 2016 / 07:36

      Not sure, in a couple of pictures the bird is hooded which “switches it off”. Glad you like the castle too.


  2. MWhite:LittleCunningPlan June 2, 2016 / 17:03

    Definitely on my list for next trip over! Lovely. The birds are fabulous.


  3. mopana June 2, 2016 / 15:24

    Amazing place 🙂
    For once in my life, I would love to walk thru the catacombs of a castle


    • Anabel Marsh June 2, 2016 / 14:16

      Thanks Suzanne! I’ve seen falconry displays before, but this was by far the best.


  4. Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor June 2, 2016 / 13:48

    I don’t think I’ve ever visited there. I’ll have to go back and check out the Christmas episodes of Downton Abbey to see the castle. It’s fun when you see a place in real life that you’ve seen on TV or in the movies.


    • Anabel Marsh June 2, 2016 / 14:15

      It is. Glasgow quite often “stars” as other places in films which is a strange feeling. Apparently it’s good for 19C New York!


  5. Birgit June 2, 2016 / 12:41

    I remember this castle from Downton Abbey and would love to see this in person. It looks huge! Do you have any interior pictures? I’m just wondering what it looks like. I have been to a falconry show and loved it. I was amazed at some of the wingspans especially the owl. Can’t wait to see pics of the gardens and treehouse when you visit again.


  6. Pit June 2, 2016 / 12:37

    Hi Anabel,
    And wasn’t Alnwick Castle in Kevin Costner’s “Robin Hood”, too?
    I like these falconry shows, too. A lot. My wife and I saw one some years ago at Warwick Castle:
    They showed truly magnificent birds there:
    Thanks for taking us around Alnwick,


    • Anabel Marsh June 2, 2016 / 12:44

      My goodness, those are huge birds at Warwick! Yes, you are right about Robin Hood, I looked it up. They don’t seem to make anything of that now, it’s maybe been eclipsed by Harry Potter.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Pit June 2, 2016 / 12:48

        I think you’re right: Harry Potter has “stolen” Robin Hood’s fame there. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  7. smackedpentax June 2, 2016 / 12:17

    Those are great shots. Funnily enough, I was at Alnwick last week but didn’t visit the castle this time. But it is a great area to explore.


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