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The Outer Bailey of Alnwick Castle, used in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
The State Rooms inside of Alnwick Castle, used for filming and available to tour.
The Castle Exterior from the River Aln, reflected in its waters.
The newly refurbished in 2020 Ante-Library, available to tour.

Alnwick Castle

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Please be aware of government guidelines before setting off.

Government Guidelines
  • Alnwick Castle, Northumberland, England, is the home of an ancient family, who came to England with William the Conquerer, and the second-largest inhabited castle in England.
  • Explore within the walls, whether it's the exterior of the castle or the stunning staterooms you're trying to see.
  • Want to spend the day relaxing? Whether you want a place to sit or eat, Alnwick Castle has somewhere to go.

Alnwick Castle is the home of the Percy family and has been for over 700 years. It's been used as a filming location for Harry Potter and Downton Abbey but is also the home of plenty of history to discover. Whether you want to visit film locations, are a history buff, or are looking for things to do in Northumberland, Alnwick Castle is a place to stop-by. And, if you like Alnwick Castle, you might like a trip to Alnwick Castle Gardens or Chillingham Castle.

Alnwick Castle, also a country house, is in Alnwick, Northumberland and is a Grade I listed building. It is the second-largest inhabited castle in England after Windsor Castle. The castle guards a road crossing the River Aln, with the first parts of the castle erected in about 1096 by Yves de Vescy, Baron of Alnwick. It was first mentioned when it was captured by King David I of Scotland; it was also besieged in 1172 and again in 1174 by William the Lion, King of Scotland. Its demolition was ordered in 1212 when King John believed Eustace de Vesci was accused of plotting with Robert Fitzwalter, leader of the opposition against him. In the mid-13th-century, the castle was sold by the guardian of the Castle Antony Bek, who sold it to the Percy. Henry Percy began rebuilding, though sadly was not alive to see it completed. The aim was to be as strong as it was beautiful, and some parts of the castle still exist from this period. The Percy's were a powerful family and did a lot throughout history like helping to usurp King Richard II and rebelling against King Henry IV. The castle was taken over at points, and Thomas Percy was even executed after leading the uprising of the North. All of the owners have added pieces, so it has changed over the many years it has been standing.

Enjoy The Inner Bailey, Outer Bailey, The Courtyard, The Castle Museum and Constable's Tower at Alnwick Castle. There's also the Dungeon, the Ramparts Walk, Dragon Quest and The Fusiliers Museum of Northumberland. A number of the towers have exhibitions that happen throughout the year too. The Fusiliers Museum displays the history of the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers and its predecessor regiments from 1674 with lots of gorgeous artefacts. Look closely throughout the castle, and there will be plenty of fascinating things to see, and even the grounds have things you might like to try and spot. It's one of the earliest castles in England to be built without a square keep. The inner ring of Alnwick Castle is around a small courtyard and has lots of the principal rooms of the castle. It's inside the centre of a large bailey, close to the Inner Bailey. Along the south wall of the Bailey, more accommodation was built, so guests to Alnwick Castle had a place to stay. The River Aln runs past Alnwick on the north side. The Pastures is a small park within the grounds of Alnwick Castle. Nearby is the Hulne Park with the remains of Hulne Priory, which is much larger grounds. On the battlements, you might see carved figures dating from 1300. However, many of the statues are actually no longer from the 14th century; in there place are figures from the 18th century, created by James Johnson.

If you want to see some of the shooting locations, you can find them inside. Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone and Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets used Alnwick Castle to film. The Alnwick Castle Harry Potter filming locations are The Outer Bailey - where Harry learns to fly, and the courtyard and baileys were used to for shots of students and teachers walking around, and where the flying car crashes into the Inner Bailey. The Lion Arch was used as a Hogwarts entrance, where the Golden Trio talks to Hagrid. The State Rooms, the ramparts, the nearby Bow Alley and St Michael's Church Hall, were all used for the filming of Downton Abbey, as well as parklands. They were even featured in the final ever episode. Other shows and films have also used the castle, including Blackadder, Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves, Flog It, Tony Robinson's Gods And Monsters, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Transformers: The Last Knight and more.

You can see some of the history up close with one of the Alnwick Castle Twilight Tours. You'll be able to see areas of the castle that guests normally don't get to see. You'll hear about many different historical figures and their impact on Alnwick Castle. The best way to enjoy the beautiful interiors of Alnwick Castle, you might like the Alnwick Castle State Rooms tour. The newly refurbished Ante Library is the home of hundreds of books and has been recently refurbished. Inside the palace, the interior is focused on the Italian Renaissance style, and Alnwick Castle has one of the country's finest private art and furniture collections. To enjoy more of a Harry Potter theme, Alnwick Castle is the place to do it with the Broomstick Training school. Learn to fly like Harry himself. For other skills, try a Have-a-go-archery lesson. You'll learn the best techniques to hit the bullseye every time, so take a strong stance and have your arrows fly true.

Looking for something to eat? Alnwick Castle has a café and Fryery Chip Shop, as well as The Armoury grab and go. It has snacks, bakery items, and hot toasted Panini's. Thai Vibe serves tasty Thai food, Strawberry Lounge serves tasty bakery food, Bari Tea Brewery has several unique teas to try along with its sweet items, and Grannies is the perfect place for some lunch.

If you're looking to stay nearby, there are plenty of hotels near Alnwick Castle. The White Swan Alnwick is in an 18th-century coaching inn, with subdued interiors; The Black Swan Alnwick is the twin nearby also with great rooms. The Cookie Jar is an upscale hotel and is very charming. The Bondgate Boutique is also a luxurious 18th-century building and is a cosy home away from home.

What to know before you go

  • The Alnwick Castle opening times are 10am to 4pm, but other sections might vary so check before you book.
  • Some activities will have an extra price, and you'll need to book before you go.
  • There is partial access in the grounds for wheelchairs, pushchairs, sight and hearing dogs.
  • Certain parts of the castle are not accessible for guests with access needs when works are going on, so double-check before you book.
  • Disabled parking is available in the main car park on Denwick Lane at The Alnwick Garden.
  • A temporary accessible toilet is available near the entrance to the castle on the Bowburn picnic area when the normal toilet block is not working.

Getting there

  • By car, Alnwick Castle is just off the A1, in Alnwick, Northumberland.
  • Alnwick Castle parking is not free.
  • By rail, the East Coast mainline from London to Edinburgh stops at Alnmouth Station, which is four miles from Alnwick; then take the X18 from the station.
  • By bus, you'll need the X15 or X18.
  • Newcastle International Airport and the Port of Tyne are both 35 miles away.

Please follow the latest government guidelines if travelling by public transport.

Government Guidelines

Location

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