The drive down from the Highlands to Northumberland took the best part of a day so it was the following day before we were actually able to see much. We were also joined by Fraser for this part of the trip.
Our first stop of the day was at Lindisfarne Castle. To get here you must cross a causeway (not possible at high tide) onto Holy Island. You can pay for parking and then have to walk the short distance to the castle. The main attraction here is the location of the building perched upon a hill overlooking the ocean. At certain times of the year there may be puffins in the area but not for us. The castle is run by the National Trust so we used our membership cards to get in. The interior is rustic and quite dark and some rooms were closed for renovation. We could get onto the roof to make the most of the views back towards the mainland which were pretty cool. Outside there was a small, walled garden that was cute to sit in and soak up the atmosphere.
From here we made our way south down the coast to our next stop, Bamburgh Castle. This castle was initially a fort on the outcrop but over the years has been built into a lovely building still used today for events and as a filming location. The outlook over the canons into the sea is cool. Inside the rooms are large and well decorated with my dad’s favourite being the snooker room (he got very excited by it). There is also quite a nice café/ tea bar that does great cakes where we got lunch.
Further down the coast we tried to get to one of Northumberland’s famous beaches, in this case at the Embleton and Newton Links, however we clearly stopped at the wrong parking lot because after a few minutes’ walk it became clear that we were not on the correct route. As we still had another major stop to get to before it closed we decided to give this one up as a bad job.
We turned up at Alnwick Castle in the afternoon and gained entry with our Historic Houses Association membership cards. This is one of the most iconic stately houses in the UK recognised worldwide from the first couple of Harry Potter films as it was used for the exterior of Hogwarts. The inside has also been used as a filming location, most notably for the Downton Abbey Christmas specials. We looked around inside first and the décor is exquisite, each room with its own colour scheme. Unfortunately photography is prohibited inside but outside we were free to take as many snaps as we wanted. There was a “flying lesson” taking place which I resisted joining in with but I did wander around in awe trying to spot landmarks from the film. Whilst there have been CG additions to the building to create Hogwarts the real bits were still beautiful. It was a dream come true for me to finally visit. As we got there so late we didn’t have time to go into the gardens which are supposed to be amazing so instead we lingered in the inner castle grounds until we were some of the last people there so we could get pictures without all the tourists in the shots.
After finally leaving we mooched into the town of Alnwick to get some local fish and chips which was delicious. The town itself is quaint and has real old school charm.
Our final stop of the day was back out at the coast where we found a tiny, rocky beach that we clambered over to watch the sunset.
The Northumberland coast is full of stunning places to visit both natural and manmade. The absolute highlight for me was Alnwick Castle but if you could put up with so many stately homes in one day I would highly recommend it as a road trip.
Have you been to Northumberland before? Any favourite beaches or stately homes to visit or did you find something else to do around here? Anyone else as obsessed with Harry Potter as me?