Northumberland: Alnwick and Bamburgh a Tale of Two Castles
I was adamant on this break that I would get to see Alnwick Castle. I’m not a big follower of Harry Potter, but when the opportunity presents itself to visit the actual Hogwarts, well, you just have to don’t you? Not only that, but I’ve said it before, going around castles, stately homes and cathedrals are some of my favourite things to do.
Anyway, on the Thursday we took a trip to Alnwick, which was substantially further away from where we were staying than I remembered. Once we arrived I booked our tickets to go in, and we grabbed a quick and pretty unsatisfying lunch at a cafe in Alnwick. The castle itself is vast, with lots of space for little people to run free range, and whilst little Miss is too young to know about Harry Potter just yet, she still wanted a broom so that she could run around terrorising visitors and shouting, ‘I’m a witch, ha ha ha ha’. The castle was so busy, but we managed to pick up tickets for a late entry into the state rooms, where, unfortunately, you can’t take photographs, but the images of the truly stunning works of art, the banquet table all laid for a special occasion and the priceless crystal chandeliers are forever imprinted in my memory.
Alnwick castle is the seat of the 12th Duke of Northumberland, he wasn’t around to invite us in for an Aperitif. It’s history is vast, with the first development taking place in 1096, and being associated with various battles and brawls through the ages from Norman times onwards. It really is a super impressive pile of bricks and great day out for children, and for mummies looking for big ideas about interior design.
On the way back to our holiday home that evening we stopped off at a restaurant and had the most divine feast of fresh fish as we looked across the sea to Lindisfarne, which was undoubtedly the nicest dining we’d had since we had arrived there.
The next day was time to head home. We were up early packing the car up again and heading to our first stop off, Bamburgh. With it’s epic castle sitting above a expansive sandy beach, this really is a stunning location, and Harrison Ford must think so too since, at the time we were there, he was filming at the castle. You can probably see the cranes for the filming equipment in the distance of the photos.
When you arrive at Bamburgh, and walk across the bowling green, you then go across some tremendous sand dunes until you find yourself on the most beautiful white sandy beach. Even though there were people around, there’s so much space that it doesn’t matter and little miss had the most fabulous time building sandcastles. Something she can’t really do on the crowded beaches back home at the moment. The water is so blue too, it’s hard to believe sometimes that it’s a UK beach.
As lunchtime crept in we walked back into the village, which is a beautiful village but the vast majority of properties there appear to be holiday homes, so I wonder if you ever get that cosy village feel if you live there. There’s a nice selection of pubs and cafes, so we found one and sat outside to eat a delicious handmade pork pie, and a giant muffin filled with raspberries and drizzled in white chocolate. That would set us up for the journey home to Yorkshire.
We took a little meander along the street, looking in gift shops along the way before getting back to the car and setting off. It had been such a beautiful, relaxing and scenic break in picturesque Northumberland but as we headed south, the weather broke and we were grateful to be heading for home.