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!

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61 thoughts on “Alnwick Castle

  1. 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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  2. 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:
    http://tinyurl.com/j9pbgmt
    They showed truly magnificent birds there:
    http://tinyurl.com/hdh5ado
    Thanks for taking us around Alnwick,
    Pit

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    • 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

  3. 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.

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  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.

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    • 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!

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    • Anabel Marsh June 2, 2016 / 14:16

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

      Like

  5. mopana June 2, 2016 / 15:24

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

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

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

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  7. 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?

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    • 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.

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    • Anabel Marsh June 3, 2016 / 07:37

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

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  8. 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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  9. 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

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    • 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.

      Like

  10. 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? 🙂 )

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    • 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

  11. 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.

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  12. 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! 🙂

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    • Anabel Marsh June 4, 2016 / 14:21

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

      Like

  13. Denzil June 5, 2016 / 11:43

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

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    • Anabel Marsh June 5, 2016 / 11:48

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

      Like

  14. 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.

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  15. 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.

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  16. 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!

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    • 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.

      Like

  17. lisadorenfest June 6, 2016 / 09:32

    OMG that first photo of Alnwick Castle with the flowers in the front is like something out of a dream. I think I want to come back in my next life as the Duchess of Northumberland! And those falcons were AMAZING. Nice shots.

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  18. Jessica (Diverting Journeys) June 8, 2016 / 21:01

    Isn’t Alnwick the place with the Poison Garden? I’ve always wanted to visit that, but I can see why you didn’t have time, especially if there was a separate fee! Hanging out with owls and falcons seems like a good substitute though!

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    • Anabel Marsh June 8, 2016 / 21:21

      That’s right! I think the gardens would be better now after a month’s growth. Not sure we’ll get back this year, but maybe next year.

      Like

  19. jazzfeathers June 26, 2016 / 08:16

    Such an outstanding sight! No wonder this castel features in a few films, it looks beautiful.

    And what about falconery shows? I love them! I had the good fortune to see quite a few of them.
    Isn’t it fascinating that these birds are trained following a manual written centuries ago, and still they do jobs that are so modern and so useful in today world?

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  20. sueashby7 June 30, 2016 / 18:18

    This is fabulous. I love Castles and the history behind them. I also love raptors, so you have a new fan. Thank you so much for posting your marvelous work. I look forward to reading much more.

    Like

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