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Alnwick Castle

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Alnwick Castle is in the Town of Alnwick in northeast England, 30 miles south of Berwick Upon Tweed, 35 miles north of Newcastle, can be visited with an entrance fee.

Alnwick Castle was built from the 1090s, soon after the Norman Conquest of England, for Ivo de Vesci, a Norman Nobleman. The Percy family bought the Castle in the 1250s, still the owners today, second largest inhabited Castle in England, after Windsor Castle.

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The image top is from the south side, the entrance where the Gardens are situated.

Inside the Outer Walls is an area used for entertainment such as Archery, Harry Potter Lessons, and Medieval Battles are staged now and again.

The tour of the State Rooms is pretty special, similar to Windsor Castle, no photos allowed of the State Rooms though. The State Rooms have been used in TV such as Downtown Abbey.

Harry Potter films - the Philosopher's Stone & the Chamber of Secrets - were filmed here in 2000 and 2001. Broomstick Training takes place most days where Harry Potter was trained.

Alnwick Castle Gardens are on the south side of the Castle with a large Cafe and huge Water Feature. The Water Feature was completed in 2001, with the rest of the Gardens and large Pavilion completed in 2006, claimed to have cost over £40 million.

You can vist the Castle or the Gardens, or both.

Alnwick Castle History

400s - the Romans departed England, abandoning Hadrian's Wall that runs between Carlisle and Newcastle. The area of modern day Northumberland, containing Alnwick, was on the Scottish side of the Wall.

From this time, England and Scotland were made up of a number of Kingdoms.

1066 - the Normans, mix of French and Vikings from northern France, took control of England, building stone Castles around the country so England could be ruled by one King.

This was also a time Kingdoms of Scotland were being merged under one King as well, with Scotland claiming Northumberland belonged to the Scots.

1090s - the earliest parts of Alnwick Castle were built for Ivo de Vesci, a Norman.

1136 - Alnwick Castle was captured by King David I of Scotland. The Castle was then fought over between the English and Scots a number of times.

1237 - the Treaty of York outlined the Border between Scotland and England to what is seen today, ending the Scots claim that Northumbria was part of Scotland.

1250s - the Percy family bought Alnwick Castle, becoming the Earls of Northumberland, controlling the area for Kings, and trying to keep the Scots under control along the Border between England and Scotland.

The Percy family then began extending the original Castle into one of the largest Castles in England.

1345 - the Percy family gained control of Warkworth Castle 7 miles southeast, with them extending that Castle into a mighty fortress as well.

1360s late - Henry Percy (Hotspur) became the most famous of this family, leading military campaigns for English Kings into Scotland and Europe. After disputes with English Royals, Hotspur was killed in 1403, fighting the forces of King Henry IV of England.

1572 - Thomas Percy, 7th Earl of Northumberland, was beheaded after being involved in a plot to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I. A number of Earls in the north of England wanted to have the Protestant Elizabeth replaced by the Catholic Mary Queen of Scots.

The execution of Thomas Percy almost led to their Property and Land being taken by the Crown, but his descendants managed to keep control.

1605 - the 9th Earl of Northumberland and his Cousin were involved in the failed Gunpowder Plot to kill King James I, with the Cousin killed and the Earl imprisoned in the Tower of London.

1700s - the Percy Family were back in control of Alnwick Castle, having extensive work carried out to make it one of the most impressive Castles in England.

1750 - Alnwick Castle Gardens were laid out on the south side of the Castle.

1800s mid - further work was carried out on Alnwick Castle, leading to how it looks today, mainly a mix of the 1700s and 1800s work.

1950 - Alnwick Castle was first opened to the Public as a Tourist Attraction.

2000 - the Harry Potter film - the Philosopher's Stone, was partially filmed at Alnwick Castle.

2001 - the Harry Potter film - the Chamber of Secrets, was partially filmed at Alnwick Castle, leading to a vast increase in visitors.

2001 - the large Water Feature was completed in the Alnwick Castle Gardens.

2006 - the Alnwick Gardens and large Pavilion with a Cafe were completed, leading to the Castle and Gardens being one of the most impressive places in the UK to visit.

Today - the Percy family still own Alnwick Castle, with Ralph Percy, 12th Duke of Northumberland, and his descendants, intending to keep control for a few centuries yet.

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