The History

Originally built to guard the crossing of the River Aln and protect the Northumberland region, Alnwick Castle has stood proudly as a medieval fortress for over 900 years. After Windsor Castle, Alnwick is the second largest inhabited medieval castle in England, home to the Percy family for over 900 years, and is an important part of Northumberland’s history.

Throughout the years, Alnwick Castle has seen extensive restoration work, transforming it from a Norman-style structure to the grand castle you see today. Something that is valued by visitors to Alnwick Castle, is how many of its original features have been maintained, providing a more authentic experience when exploring the grounds.

Regular exhibitions also showcase original artefacts that transport visitors to a time gone by, as well as the Northumberland Collection and Archive which have remained within the castle’s walls, and serve as important educational tools for future generations.


Tours at Alnwick

A day out to Alnwick allows you to discover the castle and its grounds, which includes the grand State Rooms and the historic Artisan's Courtyard. Our bookable tours also include ‘Alnwick on Location’ which talks about the castle’s starring roles in film and TV, as well as  the ‘Private Historical Grounds Tour’ which gives visitors an in depth look into the extensive 900 year history of the castle.


Our regular events help to bring the medieval period to life, with everything from have-a-go archery, to Jester shows and medieval camps where you can learn all about medieval crafts, history and entertainment.

There are also talks that are frequently held here at the castle that offer more in depth insight on life during the medieval period, including renowned historical authors speaking about their new works, bringing the history of Alnwick Castle and the surrounding area to life. 

One popular choice for visitors is the Arms and Armour talk, which is led by our skilled artisans, where they guide you through the evolution of armour throughout history, while also providing valuable insights into refining your sword technique. Delve into the lives of those who relied on armour, learning about the costs involved and the origins of its creation.

The seasons bring their own magic to Alnwick Castle. During the summer, 'Cinema under the Stars' offers a variety of blockbuster films to be enjoyed against the backdrop of the starlit sky and the historic castle walls, creating an unforgettable experience, and a great evening out in Northumberland.

For those looking for a thrill, Alnwick Castle is the perfect place to learn about the resident ghost, the Alnwick Vampire, who has allegedly been the cause of haunted activities at the castle, and around Alnwick, for hundreds of years. This makes Alnwick Castle the perfect backdrop for spook-tacular ghost tours and scary stories. Make sure to look out for any special events happening throughout  October, so as not to miss out on any spine-chilling Halloween experiences!

Filming at Alnwick

For film fanatics, Alnwick Castle made its stamp on the silver screen, starring as Brancaster Castle in multiple episodes of Downton Abbey, and as Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the first two Harry Potter films. While you’re here, why not have a go at broomstick training on the very spot where Harry and his classmates learnt to fly? The castle's cinematic repertoire extends further, including credits in "Transformers: The Last Knight," British classics like "Blackadder," and beloved programs such as "The Antiques Roadshow" and "Countryfile."

Visiting Alnwick

With hundreds of years of history, Alnwick Castle has a host of important tales to tell. The castle embodies a blend of heritage and enchantment, offering a captivating journey through time. Plan the perfect family day out for you and your loved ones and find out more about the history of Alnwick Castle and book your tickets to one of the best Northumberland castles today. Booking your tickets online grants you free access for a whole year!