The picturesque town of Alnwick (pronounced Annick), is the ancient seat of the Percy family who's ancestors, (the Earls of Northumberland), ruled northern England for 200 years. The town is dominated by its massive castle, which is still the home of the Dukes of Northumberland. Alnwick Castle has been used many times as a location for films and television programs. Its most recent starring role was as 'Hogwarts' in the Harry Potter movies.
The pleasant town has many good Georgian buildings and the old Town Hall has shops in its arcaded ground floor. The only surviving gateway to the town is the Hotspur Tower, built by the 2nd Earl in 1450. St Michael's church mirrors the castle with its battlemented tower, and preserves some of the best 15th-c ecclesiastical workmanship in the county. It houses several fine monuments and a 14th-c Flemish carved chest.
The ruins of Alnwick Abbey stand on the outskirts of the town to the north, and include a well-preserved 14th-c gatehouse. Also 3 miles north-west of Alnwick, in Hulne Park, stand the remains of the 13th-c Hulne Priory.
Tourist Information Centre:
|2 The Shambles, Alnwick. NE66 1TN - Tel: 01665 511 333|
The castle which began as a simple Norman motte and bailey and was replaced in the 12th-c by a stone fortress. The castle fell into decay after the border wars, and was restored in the 18th-c by Robert Adam. During the 19th-c, the 4th Duke of Northumberland transformed the castle into a great country house. The interior is decorated in a fine Italian Renaissance style and contains paintings by Canaletto, Tintoretto, Van Dyke and Titian.
The castle ranks as one of the most magnificent medieval fortresses in the country. The gateway is guarded by an impressive Barbican, and the outline of its massive keep, walls and towers completely dominate the town's horizon. Parts of the castle are open to the public, including the Constable's Tower, the Postem Tower, the keep and many of its exquisitely furnished state rooms.
Opening times: Apr~Oct: daily 10am - 6pm Admission Charge
Location: NE66 1NQ (off A1 on outskirts of town, follow brown signs) - Website
A fantastic 12-acre contemporary garden recently created by Belgian designers. This unique project has transformed a derelict and forgotten plot into a beautiful landscape. The garden includes one of the largest wooden tree houses in the world, a Poison Garden, a Labyrinth and a Serpent Garden.
Opening times: Apr, May & Oct, daily 10-6; Jun-Sep daily, 10-7; Nov-
Mar daily 10-4 Admission Charge
Location: Denwick Lane (in centre of Alnwick) NE66 1YU - Tel: 01665 511350 - Website