A wander around Alnwick Castle & Garden

Alnwick Castle is a large and imposing castle with a curtain wall and central keep, and adjacent to it are impressive gardens which have recently been reworked at great expense. The castle was built in 1309 and has gone through the Percy family through generations, i.e. the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland.

Alnwick Castle gets top marks for beauty, grace, sophistication and, of course fame. The castle was part of the Harry Potter film series, the place where Harry learn’t how to fly. More recently it has turned from Hogwarts Castle to Brancaster in the famous TV series Downton Abbey. One of my favorite ever TV series, one of the reasons why I wanted to visit.

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Driving up to the castle, you see the Alnwick Treehouse which is one of the largest treehouse in the UK. It has a restaurant and like Alnwick has been on TV featured on Don’t Tell the Bride. We parked up and went up the walk to the castle and to the main entrance and garden.

Alnwick Gardens treehouse

Walking into the garden, it has a large sloping water fountain over four levels. From there you can walk around the walled garden and a very odd poison garden.  Towards the back there is another smaller castle and huge door.

From there we exit the garden and made the walk up to the castle. You go along a very long walk, which has its own entrance and exit through another path. The one you see in the finale of Downton Abbey. I loved the walk as it felt very posh.

Alnwick Castle grounds and daffodiles

Once we walked through the gates, you see the green grass and then you go into the courtyard, which again was used in filming in Downton Abbey. From there we went into castle itself, where you walk up the famous red staircase. You go into various rooms including a small office, a small sitting room, a library fit with a hidden TV and jukebox.

My favorite room was the fining room, where they kept the dining room set up like in the Highland Special episode of Downton Abbey. You see where they all sat and how it was set up. The tour guide in the room said that they were to be in there for three consecutive days.

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From there you enter a bedroom and see the clothes in which was used when filming the special episode. A geek like me, I loved to see this and read the information boards around the rooms. You then go downstairs to the servants areas and see how the other half live whilst there. Like other stately homes, you see family pictures of the Percey family and how they live and there was rooms dedicated to the people in service there.

Once outside we headed to a courtyard where its fully set up for children to have a Knight or Dragon Quest following questions and clues. The area has a knight statue there which to me was like something out of Hogwarts. Alnwick Castle has put a lot of effort (and money) into creating a magical experience for us muggles, come rain or shine including broomstick training classes (children only!).

Signs to Knights Quest in Alnwick Castle Northumberland

We decided to go for a walk around the garden, around the walled wall and see the view which looks over the River Aln and where the cast walked in filming. From there we left the castle and garden and headed into the small village of Alnwick itself before heading home.

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