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Alnwick Castle

Our town of Alnwick, Northumberland is famous for many things but the attraction most people think of first is the majestic Alnwick Castle.

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G rade I listed Alnwick Castle is not only an impressive site of historic interest, it’s also the home of the 12th Duke of Northumberland (it’s the second largest inhabited castle in the country).

Luckily for Alnwick residents and our visitors, the Duke opens his home to the public every summer as well as the adjacent Alnwick Gardens, he sees over 800,000 people visit his home every year. While the castle is closed currently for the winter, on the 25th of March visitors will once more get a chance to explore one of Britain’s most impressive historical sites.

The History of Alnwick Castle

1096 was the year that building began of the first parts of Alnwick castle by Ivo de Vesci (that’s the Baron of Alnwick to you and me). The castle was sold to the Percy family by Antony Bek (bishop of Durham). The Percy family wielded considerable power in northern England. Henry Percy, 1st Earl of Northumberland (1341–1408), rebelled against King Richard II and helped dethrone him and it was his son Harry Hotspur who later rebelled against King Henry IV.

The history of Alnwick Castle is as fascinating as it is complex so for more information visit Alnwick Castle website  or the comprehensive Wikipedia page.

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Who owns Alnwick Castle?

The current owner of Alnwick Castle is Ralph George Algernon Percy, who is the 12th Duke of Northumberland. He’s a British hereditary peer, rural landowner (the vast Northumberland Estates, a privately owned family business which represents the business interests of the Duke of Northumberland and the Percy family) and current head of the House of Percy.

Considering the Percy’s have owned Alnwick castle for 700+ years it’s unlikely to appear on Rightmove anytime soon! 

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Alnwick Castle in the Community

Alnwick Castle is at the heart of the town of Alnwick, both geographically and culturally. Events take place throughout the summer attracting many visitors to the town.

Local businesses benefit from the interest generated by the castle with visitor numbers always being healthy, particularly during the last two years when domestic holidays have been so popular. In fact may locals enjoy the exterior of the castle just as much as the interior with the incredible views afforded to them as they take walks on Alnwick pastures. The views from the banks of the river Aln towards the castle are some of the best in the area no matter what season it is.

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Alnwick Castle in Films and on Television

If you are a Harry Potter fan you might have seen Alnwick Castle without even knowing it. The castle was the location for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry so Harry Potter himself learnt to fly on a broom right here in Alnwick! So if you are watching Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001) and the Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) after visiting Alnwick Castle, see what you recognise.

It’s not just the Harry Potter franchise that made use of the castles stunning location. Downton Abbey as Brancaster Castle on their Christmas specials, Elizabeth (1997) and Robin Hood Prince of Thieves (1991) have all come to Alnwick to give their stories the amazing backdrop of Alnwick Castle.

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Plan your visit to Alnwick Castle

When the castle reopens on the 25th of March you will want to plan your visit to make the most of your day at Alnwick Castle. There’s no shortage of interesting things to do at the castle for adults and kids alike.

Art lovers won’t want to miss a visit to the state rooms to see the Duke’s collection of paintings, ceramics and furniture. From 16th century Old Masters of the Venetian School to eight paintings by the 18th century master Canaletto, it’s a feast for the eyes. 

For younger (and young at heart) visitors, where else in England can you join a Broomstick training session? Bring out your inner Harry Potter and learn the basics of mastering a broomstick …. your witch and wizard credibility will be significantly enhanced!

There’s lots more to see and do at Alnwick Castle and so for the full run down check out their website

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This is not your average castle

Alnwick Castle is a jewel in Northumberland’s crown and every year it welcomes visitors back and impresses those discovering its story for the first time. We are certainly fans and can’t wait for its new season to begin, maybe we’ll see you on a broomstick next to us. But wait … there’s more! Your entry into Alnwick Castle doesn’t just mean you get to enjoy it for one day. If you pay for the day you visit free for a year.

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