Visit Alnwick and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Alnwick, Northumberland, still looks like a stronghold of the Earls and Dukes of Northumberland. You may enter from the South through a narrow medieval arch of Hotspur Tower and within moments confront the great barbican guarding the gateway to Alnwick Castle. From the Lion Bridge on the North the castle appears all-powerful and brooding. Within the town, age speaks from the narrow streets, cobblestones, passageways, sturdy grey buildings and monuments. Alnwick is 4 miles from the coast and on the Al almost exactly halfway between Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Berwick-upon-Tweed, a convenient centre for touring and a destination in its own right. It grew up on the River Aln beside the great border castle whose walls enclose 7 acres. Below and around the castle are grounds landscaped in 1765 by Capability Brown, forming a beautiful park. The Pastures, the riverside section of the castle grounds, has a footpath leading from the 18th-century. Lion Bridge to the Craster road, with views of the castle along the way.
The castle was begun by the de Vesci family in the early 12th century. The last of the legitimate line died in 1297 leaving the castle in trust for a natural son. The trustee was the Bishop of Durham, who sold the castle to Henry Percy in 1309 and, it is said, pocketed the money. The castle was elaborated and strengthened during the years of border warfare, then stood a ruin for nearly 200 years. The 1st Duke of Northumberland restored it in the 18th century with James Paine and Robert Adam. In the mid-l9th century, the 4th Duke employed Anthony Salvin to make extensive changes in the interior. Most of the Adam work was removed and an Italian Renaissance style adopted. Outwardly, however, the castle has not altered much since the 14th century. The great walls, huge keep and flanking towers make it one of the more spectacular sights in the country. The exceptionally fine barbican is topped with figures which look as if they had just raced there to take up their guard duties.
In the town, a broad main street, with sloping, tree-shaded cobblestone parking space alongside, passes near a market square.
The first object to greet the traveller arriving from the South is the Percy Tenantry Column, an 83-ft fluted monument erected in 1816 by grateful tenants because their rents had been reduced during a period of agricultural depression. A Percy lion with straight, stiff tail stands majestically on the top. The column is sometimes known as “The Farmers' Folly” because, so the story goes, the duke was surprised to find his tenants were rich enough to afford such a tribute and raised their rents again.
On the other side of Alnwick is St Michaels Church, said to be the most important 15th-century work in Northumberland. It stands on a hillside overlooking the river. The battlemented tower is stoutly buttressed in steps and the church is wide, with aisles running the full length of nave and chancel. Among the interesting contents are two l4th-century tombs with figures of a man in a tunic and a lady, a third medieval figure which appears to be a cleric, and a handsome 14th-century Flemish carved chest.
Nearby towns: Amble, Belford, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Holy Island
Nearby villages: Acklington, Alnmouth, Alwinton, Beadnell, Beanley, Birling, Boulmer, Broomhill, Callaly, Chatton, Chillingham, Craster, East Chevington, East Thirston, Eastfield, Edlingham, Eglingham, Ellingham, Embleton, Felton, Glanton, Guyzance, Hadston, Harbottle, Hepburn, High Buston, Howick, Ingram, Lesbury, Long Houghton, Longframlington, Lorbottle, New Bewick, Newham, Newton-on-the-Moor, North Charlton, Otterburn, Preston, Rock, Rothbury, Seahouses, Shilbottle, South Charlton, Stamford, Swarland, Swinhoe, Thropton, Warenford, Warkworth, West Chevington, West Thirston, Whittingham, Wooperton
Have you decided to visit Alnwick or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Alnwick bed and breakfast (a Alnwick B&B or Alnwick b and b)
- a Alnwick guesthouse
- a Alnwick hotel (or motel)
- a Alnwick self-catering establishment, or
- other Alnwick accommodation