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6 reasons we love Bamburgh Castle

Posted by Katy Peck on 10 May 2019
Related property: Lucker Hall
6 reasons we love Bamburgh Castle

We all know that the Northumberland Coast is full of things to discover, including more than its fair share of castles. However, if you’re looking for history on your doorstep then you don't need to travel any further than Bamburgh Castle. Just a 10-minute drive from Lucker Hall, this iconic castle has over 1,400 years of history. Spanning over nine acres of land, it’s one of the largest inhabited castles in the UK and a fantastic day out for all the family.

Bamburgh Castle History

Bamburgh started life as a stronghold of Anglo Saxon Kings, as far back as 547 AD. Back then it was a fortified wooden stockade. It remained in their care until Romans attacked in 993; the resulting conflict meant the fortress of Bamburgh fell into disrepair. The castle was evenutally taken from the Northumbrian Kings by the forces of William Rufus, who used it as a boder garrison and stronghold due to its proximity to Scotland.

Bamburgh remained a palace for kings and queens for hundreds of years, during which is hosted monarchs including Henry III and Edward III. It was home to Henry VI during the wars of the roses, before becoming the fist castle in England to be destroyed by gunfire. Thankfully, it was rebuilt after the Bishop of Durham, Lord Nathaniel Crewe, set up a charity to restore the castle. After this it was a pharmacy, a surgery, a school and hospital. Eventually, it fell into the hands of the Armstrong family, who dedicated more time and money to returning the castle to its former glory, and stil use it a a private home today.

There are many reasons to love Bamburgh Castle. If you still need convincing as to why this awe-inspiring site is worth a visit, then take a look below…

1) It was once the home of Kings.

Bamburgh was once the Royal Seat of the Kings of Northumbria, but there’s evidence of people living here as far back as 10,000 BC. Not only are there nearby Bronze Age burials, but it is thought that the Romans occupied the land between 43 AD and 410 AD. Bamburgh Castle really became important when the Saxons arrived in the early medieval period and the site continued to thrive under the Normans. Finally, the castle came into the ownership of the First Lord Armstrong, who planned on turning it into a respite home but sadly passed away before the restoration was complete. It’s still owned by the Armstrong family, who opened it to the public in the mid 1900s.

Bamburgh Castle Drawing

2) It’s full of myths and legends.

With so much history behind it, it’s no wonder that Bamburgh Castle has a collection of myths and legends, including a visit from Sir Lancelot as well as the theft of St Oswald’s head. Unsurprisingly, the castle is also rumoured to have its fair share of ghosts, such as The Pink Lady, Green Jane and Dr John Sharp.

One of our favourite legends is that of The Laidley Wyrme and The Toad in the Keep. It is said that during the Anglo Saxon period, King Ida and his family ruled Cumbria from the castle, including his son and daughter. When the King’s wife died, he remarried the evil witch Behoc, who was jealous of the beautiful Princess and turned her into a dragon - the Laidley Wyrme. When news of the dragon reached the King’s son, he returned home from abroad to slay it. However, when he faced the dragon, he heard his sister’s voice urging him to kiss her and return her to her human form. This he did, and the pair returned to the castle, where the Prince cursed the witch. From then on, she was doomed to live as a toad in a well at the bottom of the castle keep. Legend says the witch escapes the well every seven years, looking to take revenge on any innocent young lady who crosses her path - so keep your eyes open!

3) It’s a Hollywood favourite.

With its iconic towers and walls looming over the beaches, it’s easy to see how Bamburgh Castle has captured the imagination of writers and filmmakers. It’s appeared on both the big and small screen, with cameos in everything from Countryfile’s Christmas Special to blockbusters such as Transformers 5, The BFG and Macbeth. Of course, the castle has been the backdrop for numerous historical dramas throughout the years, hosting stars such as Elizabeth taylor, Chalton Heston and Sophia Loren. More recently, it was the location for the fllm “Elizabeth”, starring with Cate Blanchett and Joseph Fiennes.

Bamburgh Castle film set

4) There’s always plenty of fun events.

From Dragon Hunts for the kids to piano recitals and foraging workshops, there’s always something exciting happening at the castle. The castle regularly hosts historical experts and craftsmen, who offer a glimpse into the past with their talks and workshops. Whether you fancy the idea of medieval archery or woodcraft, or even learning about coinery, there’s a whole calendar of events to choose from! Take a look at everything on offer here.

Bamburgh Castle cannons

5) Animals and birds love it too.

It’s not just people who love Bamburgh Castle and the area surrounding it – it’s a hit with the local wildlife too! With the fantastic coastline and unspoilt countryside surrounding it, there’s a good chance of spotting some of the local residents during your visit. On a clear day you can even see the Farne Island, where seals and puffins often make their home (you can even get a better view by joining a local boat tour from Seahouses Harbour). As well as the seals, the waters are also home to harbour porpoises, which are a delight to behold.

Bamburgh Castle is also home to a large group of Fulmars. The large seabirds have been nesting on the battlements for centuries and the staff often have to rescue chicks who land on the roofs and are unable to take off again! Before these birds were protected by law, people would scale the cliffs beneath the castle to take the birds and their eggs for food. Today, thankfully, the birds have a safe home here and are often joined by Jackdaws and Kestrels.

Birds at Bamburgh Castle

6) There’s still more being discovered!

You might think, with everything on offer here, that we have discovered everything about Bamburgh Castle, but you’d be wrong! It’s actually still one of the most important Anglo-Saxon archaeological sites in the world. The Bamburgh Research Project was formed in 1996 by professional field archaeologists who live and work in the North East. During the summer months you can watch archaeologists as they uncover Bamburgh's exciting past… you can even help out yourself! Find more information here.

Bamburgh Castle Panoramic View

Bamburgh castle facts and FAQs

What is Bamburgh Castle famous for?

With its centuries of fascinating history, there’s no shortage of interest in Bamburgh castle. From its extraordinary museum to its spectacular state rooms, it provides a real glimpse into the past. Others may be more interested in the castles modern-day links to TV and film.

What was filmed at Bamburgh castle?

Bamburgh Castle has served as a backdrop for many TV dramas and films over the years, including Transformers: The Last Knight, The BFG, MacBeth and The Last Kingdom.

How much does it cost to go into Bamburgh castle?

At time of writing (Sept 2022), an adult ticket to Banburgh castle is priced at £15.50. Children’s tickets ate £7.65 while children aged 4 and under are free. 

Is Bamburgh castle worth visiting?

We definitely recommend a visit to Bamburgh castle during your holiday. With interesting history, beautiful surroundings, delicious tearooms and more, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

What is the Bamburgh castle postcode?

When travelling by car, Banburgh castle postcode is NE69 7DF. Please note that a day’s parking costs £4 per car.

Who lives in Bamburgh castle?

The Armstrong family has owned the castle since 1894. Although they no longer live in the castle itself, they do remain local and are highly involved.

Of course, this is just the start. With so much to do and discover, Bamburgh Castle is a great day out for all the family. Even better, being so close to Lucker Hall, it’s a fantastic point from which to start your explorations around Northumberland.

To find out more about Lucker Hall, as well as our other properties throughout the UK and Europe, make sure to get in touch.

Katy Peck

Katy Peck

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