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

  1. Ann Coleman June 6, 2016 / 03:12

    Wonderful photos! Those birds are beautiful, but I would keep a respectful distance, too. Making them angry doesn’t seem to be a good idea!


    • Anabel Marsh June 6, 2016 / 06:54

      Thanks! Yes, we got quite close in the end but the young man in blue was well in charge and the bird was more interested in its food by then.


  2. anotherday2paradise June 5, 2016 / 19:36

    A lovely castle with turrets aplenty. 🙂 Great shots of the birds of prey. Yes, Those beaks do look really wicked.


  3. inesephoto June 5, 2016 / 15:37

    Amazing, simply amazing! The falconry display is splendid too. What a castle without a falconry? 🙂 I admire people who keep the ancient traditions alive.


  4. Denzil June 5, 2016 / 11:43

    Harry Potter in an episode of Downton Abbey! Now that’s an idea!


    • Anabel Marsh June 5, 2016 / 11:48

      It would make as much sense as some of the other things in both!


  5. Beth Walsh's Photoblog June 4, 2016 / 13:05

    An amazing castle and falconry display, the gardens would have been over the top, don’t you think? Looking forward to more! 🙂


    • Anabel Marsh June 4, 2016 / 14:21

      I guess so! It’s always good to have something in reserve for next time.


  6. susan@onesmallwalk June 3, 2016 / 17:04

    Such an imposing first photo! It must have been fun to be there in person, and compare what you saw with what is shown in the movies/television.


  7. restlessjo June 3, 2016 / 16:45

    I’ve done it the other way round, Anabel. I loved the water gardens but have never been inside the castle or seen the falconry. That said there is a superb falconry show at Thorp Perrow in Bedale that we occasionally visit. I was trying to remember if I’ve done a post about the gardens but looking back I don’t see one. It must have been pre-blog days. (was there life before blogging? 🙂 )


    • Anabel Marsh June 3, 2016 / 16:49

      Ha ha, life before blogging – I don’t remember it! What did the world do without tales of our travels? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  8. hilarymb June 3, 2016 / 08:39

    Hi Anabel – the Duchess has made a great improvement with the gardens and house … I wrote about the Poison Garden 6 years ago as it fascinated me. I’d been with my father to stay in Alnmouth in the 70s – as the Castle at that stage was shut or not really functioning – he’d been at school with the Percys. We didn’t pursue anything … but it was an incredibly hot summer and I’d love to revisit – all the places you’re showing us – it’s incredibly attractive with lots of history. Thanks for sharing and the falcons – amazing … cheers Hilary


    • Anabel Marsh June 3, 2016 / 10:16

      Thanks, Hilary, that’s an interesting piece of background! I would love to go back to the gardens some day.


  9. RuthsArc June 3, 2016 / 08:29

    Thanks for the reminder of a magical day at this castle a few years ago. Cool photos of the birds 🙂


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