Magic and Movies at Alnwick Castle
Looming over the Northumberland countryside for over 1000 years, Alnwick Castle is one of the most intact fortresses remaining in England. Steeped in history and magic, a visit to Alnwick Castle and Garden is an ideal day out for the whole family.
Whether exploring the magnificent state rooms and art collections, strolling around Alnwick Garden’s fantastic attractions or battling monsters, there’s no shortage of things to do. Little knights and princesses can embark on exciting adventures in medieval Alnwick, with activities including medieval crafts, dressing up (there are adult costumes too – we checked…) and games. For the truly brave at heart, a fearsome dragon lurks in the castle just waiting for someone brave enough to enter its lair, solve riddles, conquer challenges and escape the hall of mirrors before looking it in the eye...
But if all that is a little too daunting for you, The Alnwick Garden is a more relaxing alternative. Featuring a cherry orchard, fountains, bamboo labyrinth, fairy tale garden and a truly enormous treehouse - complete with rope bridges and log fires - it’s easy to see why the castle and gardens welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.
And it isn’t just the public that are impressed. Movie producers just can’t get enough of Alnwick Castle as a filming location, with previous credits ranging from the Harry Potter series to Downton Abbey and Black Adder. As the backdrop for the Harry Potter movie franchise’s Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (for the first and second movies), Alnwick Castle has seen Quidditch lessons, a flying Ford Anglia crash into a Whomping Willow, and night-time missions to the Forbidden Forest…
In slightly more genteel circles, the castle has also served as a filming location for Downton Abbey. Serving as Brancaster Castle for the 2014 and 2015 Christmas specials, the state rooms, grounds and parkland were inhabited by the Crawley family in all of their glory. Visitors can now discover an exhibition of the hit BBC series’ filming at Alnwick, complete with costumes, photography and props – a must-see for diehard Downton Abbey fans.
Dragons, wizards and high-society – what more could you wish from a day out in Northumberland? There’s something for everyone at Alnwick Castle, and it’s well worth a visit.