Alnwick Castle is the stately home of the Duke of Northumberland, located in the town after which it takes its name. It is considered to have some of the most exceptional gardens in the United Kingdom.
Built following the Norman conquest of England in the 11th century, it is one of the largest currently-inhabited castles in England at the current date, second only to Windsor Castle itself. The duke and his wife live in the castle following a 700-year-old family tradition, but the grounds remain open throughout the summer.
A FAMILY HISTORY
Construction of the castle began in 1096 by Yves de Vesci, a kinsman of the Norman conqueror Robert de Vesci. First mentioned through texts in 1136 when it was captured by King David I of Scotland, the castle was described as being “a very strong fortification”. Later in the same century it fell under attack twice by William the Lion, with the latter resulting in his capture outside the walls. After the de Vesci family line was ended following acts of treason against King John in 1212, the castle and surrounding lands were bestowed to Anthony Bek, the heir of a family of knights who had served under previous kings for centuries. The Percy family, powerful lords in the north of England, has benefitted greatly from the wars with Scotland, and in 1309 Henry Percy purchased the barony of Alnwick from Bek, and the family has owned the castle since.
In October 2001, Duchess Jane Percy began construction of The Alnwick Garden bordering the castle, an ambitious £42 million project consisting of an enormous cascading fountain and 42 acres of gardens. In 2004, a large “tree house” project was added, housing a café and visitors centre. It is considered to be one of the largest tree houses in the world. In 2005, a poison garden was added which showcases plants including cannabis, opium poppies, hemlock, and foxglove.
A MAGICAL SETTING
Alnwick Castle’s most famous appearance on the big screen was in the first two movies of the Harry Potter franchise. In the first movie, The Philosopher’s Stone, it is the site of Harry’s Quidditch practice and in the second, The Chamber of Secrets, it is where the crash-landing of Ron’s father’s flying Ford Anglia was filmed. The castle was also used as a stand-in for the interior (and sometimes exterior) shots of Hogwarts, and fans with a keen eye will spot similar halls and structures to those seen in the movies. On the small-screen, the location has been featured in many programs, including Black Adder in the 1980s and Downton Abbey’s 2014 Christmas Special.
Camping and Caravanning Club Site
Sunny Brae Road, Dunstan Hill, Dunstan, Alnwick
Northumberland, England, NE66 3TQ
+44 (0)1665 576 310
- Address: Alnwick Castle, B6346, Alnwick, Northumberland, England, UK, NE66 1NQ
- GPS: 55.4155828,-1.7059203999999681
- Phone: 0044 (0)1665 511 100
- Part of UK: England
- Sat Nav Postcode: NE66 1NQ
- Entrance Fees: Charges Apply
- Disabled Access: Excellent
- Visibility from Road: Fair
- Image Credits: Light Poet