Friday, 11 October 2019

Alnwick Castle

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As part of our magical stay at Macondland Linden Hall experiencing the Harry Potter Package we were given a family ticket to Alnwick Castle as this is where part of the first two Harry Potter films were filmed. Alnwick Castle is somewhere that I have visited before but it has been around seven years since my last visit and my youngest two children had never been before so they were very excited. 

Alnwick Castle is located in Alnwick, Northumberland in the town centre and right next to Alnwick Gardens and the famous treehouse restaurant. We had a family day ticket as part of our Harry Potter package but you can buy tickets for either just the castle or the castle and the garden combined on the day or in advance online (and save 10%) and they will last for the full year - making them really good value. 

anwick castle in northumberland

We visited on a Saturday in September arriving around 11am and headed straight to the Artisan courtyard to book broomstick lessons for the children - as they were desperate to take part. They were even dressed the part as they were both wearing Hogwarts robes for the day. Broomstick lessons are included in the entry price but you do need to pre-book a slot and they are issued on a first-come-first-served basis. With broomstick lessons booked for later in the day, we headed off to explore the castle. 

knight area at courtyard at alnwick castle

Exploring the Artisan Courtyard as that is where we were, there were tradition games to enjoy, stocks to hang your head in shame in, medieval costumes to try on, thrones to sit on, knights weapons and amour to look at, crafts to take part making and of course a caged dragon!

dragon statue at alnwick caste courtyard

There is also a Dragons Quest area that you can enter if you are brave enough, but the children didn't seem keen on entering so we skipped it this time. 

outside alnwick castle gun lawn

We then headed to explore the staterooms which are still used when the family is in residence, photos are not permitted in the staterooms. They were grand and the library was impressive, it reminded me of the library from the Beauty and the Beast film. There were lots of guides on hand answering questions and giving talks, one of them stopped us and told the children to look in each room for the small lion soft toy. The children enjoyed looking in each room for the lion and it stopped them being bored while we explored. At the end, they were rewarded with a badge for finding all the hidden lions. 

Then it was time for Broomstick training. 

broomstick training at alnwick castle hogwarts film location

Lessons are held on the grass outside the castle, on the very spot where Harry had his first flying lesson in the first Harry Potter film The Philosophers Stone. The lesson was held by two resident witches, who looked like they belonged at Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry. They stayed in character the whole time and were wacky and made the class enjoyable for those taking part - especially the children. 

broomstick riding at alnwick castle

Everyone is giving there own broomstick and during the lesson which lasted around half an hour, you will learn how to mount, fly and levitate your broomstick - just like magic!

We got some fantastic photos of the children and they had so much fun during the broomstick training lesson. 

alnwick castle

It was tiring work learning to fly so we stopped off for a drink from the courtyard takeaway before exploring some more. 

We visited the dungeon, climbed the castle walls, explored the gun terrace and took in the beautiful views of the rolling Northumberland countryside. 

children at alnwick castle walking outside on the grass

There was lots to see and do with archery lessons, tours and museums to visit we could easily have stayed all day. However, we wanted to visit the food market which was on in Alnwick that day to grab some lunch and do some shopping before heading home. 

There are places to eat in Alnwick castle, we have previously eaten in the Courtyard Cafe which was delicious. There is also the Stables Fryer serving fish and chips and Armoury takeaway for snacks and light bites. There is also an on-site gift shop which we did not visit on this occasion. 

As we didn't get to explore the castle fully and the children enjoyed it so much we have agreed that we will return in the summer along with a visit to the adjacent Alnwick Gardens.   

Alnwick Castle is open daily 10am - 5.30 (last entry 3.45pm) until October 27th 2019 when it will close for the winter. Tickets cost £16.75 adults and £8.85 for children and family tickets cost £45.75 but you can save 10% by booking in advance online. Full opening times and prices can be found at www.alnwickcastle.com


Disclosure I received free entry to Alnwick Castle as part of the Macdonald Linden Hall #HarryPotterPackage but I was not asked to share this post. 






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