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Alnwick Castle: Days out in Northumberland

Posted by Luci Ackers on 29 June 2016
Related property: Lucker Hall
Alnwick Castle: Days out in Northumberland Alnwick Castle: Days out in Northumberland

Alnwick Castle

You might recognise this majestic, picture-perfect setting from such films as Harry Potter, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) and Elizabeth (1998), or TV programmes such as The Hollow Crown (2012) and Downton Abbey (2014).

But the truth is that at Lucker Hall you are under 20 minutes away from seeing this beautiful place for yourself.

Alnwick Castle is one of Northumberland's pride and joys. Owned by the very man who once owned Lucker Hall, Alnwick is still today the seat of the Duke of Northumberland. Soak up the grandeur for yourself; the castle and its grounds, the stately interiors are all here for you to explore.

It began life more than 1000 years ago. It is uncertain when exactly the current structure was first built, but the building was certainly under Norman occupation by the late 11th century. There are still some parts of the castle that date from this early period, but the place underwent a lot of renovations and changes in the 14th century when it changed hands to the Percy family. Building work included the famous octagonal towers that are positioned at the the entrance to the keep.

Because the Constable’s Tower has been relatively untouched since this time, it remains the castle's best example of a 14th century tower. During the 18th and 19th centuries many alterations were taking place, though luckily a number of features still remain from different periods such as the Tudor keep. So you can really see how the castle has changed through the years.

If you're interested in the history specifically then why not book a place on one of the grounds tours? They generally take place during the high seasons and are free with admission – though it's best to check times on arrival. Find out more about the tours here > www.alnwickcastle/whats-on.

Alnwick Gardens

If you're more of an outdoorsy person you will love the incredible grounds.

A formal garden spreads around a central cascading fountain which is the largest of its kind in the country and provides lovely water displays. From this centre piece you can explore a number of different themed areas: there's a rose garden with over 3000 David Austen Roses, a topiary Serpent Garden and the tranquil Ornamental Garden.

The garden was first laid back in the 18th century when Capability Brown was employed by the 1st Duke of Northumberland to landscape the parkland. It continued to be developed over the ensuing years until the current Duchess of Northumberland initiated a redevelopment project in the '90s, beginning its transformation into the masterpiece you see here today.

There are all sorts of events that take place in the grounds throughout the year including arts and crafts and performances. See the full list here > www.alnwickgarden/whats-on.

As 2016 marks Capability Brown's 300th anniversary there is a special exhibition taking place at Alnwick as part of the nationwide Capability Brown project. Across England, stately properties that feature his design work are opening their doors to encourage a deeper appreciation for him in their visitors. Alnwick's exhibition is taking place in the Saloon.

Alnwick Treehouse

Tucked away in the grounds is a unique little structure that adds one last touch of magic to Alnwick. It can be hired out for private events (a friend of mine had an exquisite wedding here!), or simply visit the restaurant – though do remember it is best to book in advance > www.alnwickgarden.com/treehouse.

This higgledy-piggledy fairytale house is a wonderful little addition to the Alnwick estate. It has been built in the trees of the grounds and looks as though it sprouted from nature. Crafted from redwood and pine, there are two-storeys and the main room is a restaurant that has an open fire at its centre and trees growing through the ceiling. There is a separate little bar, open decks, walkways and rope bridges. The furniture and décor is beautifully rustic and handcrafted; you'll feel as though you've walked into a story book.

Luci Ackers

Luci Ackers

Luci loves getting out and about for a good cycle ride or easy-going walks in the countryside, and thoroughly enjoyed the time she previously spent working for the National Trust. Her love of writing started from a young age and on rainy days nothing beats curling up in a secret corner with a good book.

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