5 of the North’s greatest Castles
With crumbling forts and long standing roman walls, Northumberland and neighbouring Tyne and Wear are steeped in local and ancient history. In fact, Northumberland is home to more castles than any other county in England, which means there is lots to discover.
Here is a rundown of five historical castles you should visit when exploring the glorious North.
Lying along a stretch of volcanic rock 45 metres above sea level you will find Bamburgh Castle - one of Britain’s most iconic castles. Although the buildings you see today was renovated by Lord Armstrong who bought the castle back in 1894, the site itself has a tumultuous history stretching even further than its spectacular beach.
The first written record of the Castle dates back to 547 AD, while its original fortifications were destroyed by Viking raids in 993 AD. It was attacked many times by the Scottish army and in 1464 it became the first castle to be defeated by artillery attack during the War of the Roses.
Today, Bamburgh Castle it is one of the largest inhabited castles in England and well worth a look inside to discover its treasures. And don’t forget to take a walk along the stunning Bamburgh beach to complete a perfect day out.
Made famous in many eyes for its starring role in the Harry Potter films, and various other film and television productions such as Downton Abbey, there is no doubt Alnwick castle has the wow factor. A staggering thousand years old the castle has been owned by the Duke of Northumberland’s family, the Percys for 700 years – and members of the family still consider it to their home today.
Visit the stunning tree house restaurant, complete with log fire and enjoy the breathtaking views of Alnwick amongst the canopies. There is no end of things to do; with flying lessons, art exhibitions and historical tours to take, too. Before you leave, don’t forget to visit Alnwick’s famous poison garden. Under lock and key opposite the castle, the garden lets you explore a range of intoxicating plants and flowers. Learn about their folkloric past and the science behind these beautiful but deadly wonders of nature.
Explore this wild and wonderful castle if you dare. Recognised as one of the most haunted places in Britain, Chillingham Castle has a long and gruesome history dating back to medieval times. Visit the torture chamber that saw only 3% of its inhabitants come out alive.
Ancient wild cattle guard these grounds. Once worshipped by Pagan Britons years ago, these unique beasts make your trip all the more exciting.
The Castle Keep and Black Gate
You do not have to drive to the Scottish borders to find defensive fortifications. If you find yourself in Newcastle city centre, pay a visit to their Castle Keep, which still stands today. The Castle Keep and its 13th century gatehouse - the Black Gate – were once part of a larger fortress protecting the city. Wander in the footsteps of kings and prisoners as you explore the labyrinth of corridors and the grand kings hall.
A beautiful 14 Century castle complete with 12 acres of woodland and lush green lawns, Langley Castle is worth a look - only a 35 minute drive away from Axwell Park. While there, it would be rude not to stay a night or two in one of its luxury rooms, and soak in the warm waters of its spa after a stint in your own personal sauna.
Sample the restaurant’s delicious food made with fresh local produce and fish caught from waters nearby. Close to Bamburgh beach and Holy Island, Langley Castle is a great base from which to explore Northumberland’s rich heritage.
With so many exciting historical excursions available to you around Northumberland and Tyne and Wear there is no excuse not to enjoy the great outdoors this summer.