The Best Castles to Visit in Northumbria
If you love history, then Northumbria has some of the most impressive castles. Located in the village of Bothal, this imposing twelfth-century fortress was the home of the Kings of Northumbria. In 1894, the first Lord Armstrong bought the castle and began the process of restoration. Today, the castle is owned by the National Trust. You can explore the castle grounds and shop here.
Bamburgh Castle is one of the most impressive and stunning castles in the world. This Grade One-listed structure was the Royal Seat of the Kings of Northumbria for over 1,400 years. Many kings lived here, and it was the first castle in the world to be destroyed by gunpowder. Visit this historic site to learn more about the people who once inhabited the castle.
The English Heritage manages several of Northumberland’s castles. You can use your English Heritage pass to visit more than a hundred sites, including these majestic fortresses. Bamburgh Castle is one of the biggest castles in the county, and it is strategically located on the coast. This castle was constructed by William the Conqueror in the late 11th century and is home to many ghosts.
Belsay Castle is another great Northumberland castle that can be visited during your trip. This castle dates back to the border wars between England and Scotland. It has a Jacobean mansion-house wing. The Middleton family lived here for about 700 years. In the 19th century, Sir Charles Monck built a new home in Grecian style in the castle grounds. Its magnificent interior and beautiful vistas make it a must-see.
Another castle that is worth visiting in Northumbria is Dunstanburgh. This crumbling ruin was once the largest in the North East. Now managed by English Heritage, this magnificent structure is best photographed during the sunrise. The castle fell into ruin during the War of Roses, but the twin-towered keep and long walls of the medieval fortress remain intact. If you visit at sunrise or sunset, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views.
Chillingham Castle is a stunning Grade 1 Star-listed fortress that has been around for centuries. It has been claimed to be Britain’s most haunted castle and has attracted TV spook-hunters. Visitors will find dungeons, torture chambers, and grisly execution stories throughout the castle. There’s a ghost story attached to this castle that is sure to keep you spellbound.
Warkworth Castle is another impressive fortress that dominates the river Coquet. The current form of the castle dates back to around the 1200’s. The cross-shaped keep is a classic example of medieval architecture. The Percy family lived here from the 14th century to the 17th century, and their presence can be seen in the Duke’s Rooms and lion emblems. The castle is also worth a visit with Alnwick Castle.
The Normans built a series of castles along the River Tyne after the 1066 Conquest of England. This was the only Northumberland castle to survive the Scots. A self-guided tour of the castle is a great way to learn more about the history of this magnificent fortress. At the end of the tour, you can enjoy a delicious lunch or drink in the castle cafe.
One of the most stunning Northumberland castles is Dunstanburgh Castle. Built on the Great Whi Sill, this ancient fortress boasts stunning views of the sea, rocky shoreline, and jagged cliffs. Its tower, the Lilburn Tower, gives you a spectacular view of the Embelton Beach. For an even more dramatic view of the area, don’t miss Bamburgh Castle.
Alnwick Castle is another popular destination in the region. This huge fortress was once a Norman motte-and-bailey castle. It has been a part of the Harry Potter movies, Downton Abbey, and Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. The castle also has a broomstick training course. You can even take a photo in front of the Alnwick gardens.
Warkworth Castle is another one of Northumberland’s most beautiful and oldest castles. It was built in the 12th century and used by the powerful Percy family for three centuries. While it’s mostly in ruins, this majestic twelfth century castle has undergone restoration in recent decades. It has a cross-shaped keep with royal sculptures and was likely used as a lookout tower during a conflict between Scotland and England. Another Northumberland castle that’s well worth a visit is Warkworth Hermitage, a rock-cut chapel. It’s considered one of the most ornate rock-cut chapels in the country.
Dunstanburgh Castle is another Northumberland castle worth visiting. This fortress on the border of Scotland and England was built by Earl Thomas of Lancaster, who was openly hostile towards him. This fortress was destroyed in the Wars of the Roses, and the ruins have since inspired writers and painters. There’s even a free audio guide for visitors. It’s located 6 miles from Berwick Upon Tweed.