With its stunning natural landscapes and rich heritage, Northumberland is a truly beautiful place to visit. If you’re planning a day trip, short break or longer stay, there’s plenty to keep you entertained, not least the history-drenched castles that populate the region and showcase its rich heritage.
Here, we’ve handpicked the 10 best castles in Northumberland, so whether you’re looking for a magical visit to Alnwick, or a hauntingly good trip to Chillingham, you can plan your itinerary accordingly.

Alnwick Castle

If you’re looking for a castle in Northumberland that has something for the whole family to enjoy, look no further than Alnwick Castle. Standing tall since the Norman era, the castle is the second largest inhabited castle in the UK – and home to the Percy family.
Spend the day discovering the Norman castle’s past, and the Percy family history. With over 700 years to explore, travel through the centuries as you learn more about the events and people that helped to shape the castle — the perfect day out for history lovers.
Film fanatics may recognise the castle from the silver screen, as Alnwick Castle featured in both Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets movies. Visit the spot where the Weasley family’s flying car crashed, or learn to fly broomsticks like Harry, Ron, Hermione and co. with our broomstick training classes — an essential experience for any Potter fan, young or old!
With a host of family-friendly events designed to transport you back to medieval times, you can create magical and totally unforgettable memories during your visit to Alnwick Castle.

Warkworth Castle

Image by Nickfrom from Pixabay.
Dominating over the River Coquet, Warkworth Castle is another stop to make in your tour of castles in Northumberland. Its current form dates back to around 1200 and its stunning medieval architecture alone attracts many visitors who marvel at its fascinating cross-shaped keep.
The Percy family resided in the castle between the 14th and 17th Century, and traces of the family’s presence are still there today, from The Duke’s Rooms to the lion emblems that decorate the castle. Combine your trip to Warkworth Castle with a day at Alnwick Castle to truly immerse yourself in the Percy family’s heritage.
You can also visit The Hermitage. Accessible only by boat, experience the remains of a chapel carved directly into the cliff and follow in the footsteps of those who have walked before you.

Bamburgh Castle

Image by Jonathan Cannon from Pixabay.
Situated on the stunning Northumberland coast, Bamburgh Castle has stood proud since the early medieval period and witnessed centuries of history unfold. During your visit, you’ll learn about everything from rebellious royals to spine-tingling legends and bloody battles.
Step back in time as you wander through this sprawling castle and discover the interesting artefacts from times gone by. With views of The Farne Islands and Lindisfarne, the surrounding area provides a majestic backdrop for a family photo to remember your day by.
Bamburgh Castle has been featured in many films and TV shows. From silver-screen productions like Transformers 5 and The BFG to small-screen shows like Time Team and Coast, you’re sure to recognise more of this castle with each area you explore.

Chillingham Castle

Chillingham Castle” by Andrew Stawarz is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.
If Alnwick Castle is famed for its magical connections, Chillingham Castle is best-known for its connections to the spirit world. Dating back to the 13th Century, the castle — also located in Alnwick — has received much attention over the years, both from royalty and the enemy!
A visit to Chillingham Castle will immerse you in Medieval life as you explore the Elizabethan Great Hall, walk the courtyard or drop into the dungeon.
Fearless visitors to the hotel are invited to hunt for ghosts after dark. If you’re feeling brave, ghost tours and all-night vigils are available — will you spot the frail ghostly figure that haunts the Inner Pantry, or feel a ghostly grip on your arm as you explore?

Dunstanburgh Castle

Image by Michaela Wenzler from Pixabay.
Situated between Craster and Embleton, the ruins of the 14th-century Dunstanburgh Castle stands as a reminder of more volatile times.
Earl Thomas of Lancaster began building the castle when tensions between him and King Edward II were high. The castle has witnessed its fair share of battles over the years, from opposition from the Scots to being twice besieged by Yorkist forces during the War of the Roses.
The remains of the castle now make for a great day out for all ages. Walk around the castle ruins, explore the gatehouse and climb to the top of Lilburn tower to enjoy incredible views of the rugged coastline.
Access the castle via a pleasant coastal walk from Craster — it’s around a 1.5-mile walk, but you’ll experience outstanding views of the Northumberland coast.

Lindisfarne Castle

Image by Yorkshireman from Pixabay.
The small but perfectly formed Lindisfarne Castle is located on Holy Island. Not your typical Northumberland castle, it was mainly used as a temporary garrisons for soldiers before being transformed to a holiday home in the years following 1901.
The renovation took three years to complete, yet some original features still remain today, transporting visitors back to years gone by. A recent conservation project undertaken by the National Trust has carried out essential repairs to the castle, which will help many more generations enjoy its history.
If you’re planning a visit to Holy Island, it’s well worth including Lindisfarne Castle in your itinerary.

Berwick-Upon-Tweed Castle & Ramparts

Berwick-Upon-Tweed Castle & Ramparts stand as ruins and acts as a reminder of a magnificent castle that once was. Playing a central part in England and Scotland’s lengthy conflicts, the castle was one of the most important strongholds in Britain.
In the 16th Century, ramparts were built around the town, rendering the castle unnecessary and, as such, it fell into disrepair. Today, you can actually walk around the ramparts, viewing the remains of the castle as you do.
There are information boards at regular intervals around the ramparts to provide more information about their history.

Belsay Castle

The Castle - Belsay Hall and Gardens - Belsay, Northumberland” by Glen Bowman is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
If you’re looking for day out that combines a medieval castle with a Greek-inspired hall and majestic gardens, pay a visit to Belsay Hall, Castle & Gardens. The castle itself dates back to the 14th Century and while some of the castle is ruined, some is still open to visitors.
Climb the castle’s spiral staircase to keep watch from the defensive tower, or explore interesting medieval artefacts as you explore the castle’s many rooms.
Then, head to the Grand Grecian Hall. Built using rock from Belsay’s own quarry, the hall was inspired by a honeymoon trip to Athens. Explore Greek-inspired architecture and original décor that dates as far back as the 1800s.
When you’re done browsing inside, step outside and into the 30 acre Grade I listed gardens. Discover exotic plants and the largest collection of rhododendrons in the country.

Prudhoe Castle

Prudhoe Castle” by Draco2008 is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
Prudhoe Castle was built in the 1100s to protect a ford across the River Tyne against invasion from Scotland. Besieged twice by Scotland in an attempt to gain control, a stone keep and great hall was added in order to strengthen the castle.
The castle stood strong during two sieges in the 1170s and was the only Northumberland castle to hold off the Scots during turbulent times. Today, visitors can walk the castle walls and explore the keep and great hall for themselves.
Once you’re done exploring, the idyllic castle grounds make the perfect place to enjoy a picnic.

Norham Castle

Norham Castle” by David Clay is licensed under CC BY-DA 2.0.
If you’re looking for a castle that has had more than its fair share of sieges, pay a visit to Norham Castle. Once recognised as an important stronghold during the battle between England and Scotland, the castle was attacked at least 13 times by the Scots. The castle stood strong until 1513 when it fell victim to a canon attack led by James IV.
Extensive rebuilding work was undertaken in the 16th Century, transforming the castle into an artillery fortress complete with covered firing positions and gun towers. Pay a visit to the castle and imagine for yourself how the castle fared during the many battles it was embroiled in.
With over 70 castle sites in Northumberland, there is plenty for you to explore next time you’re in the area. Start with our 10 best castles in Northumberland and work your way around them all, as you discover more about the region’s heritage.
Book your Alnwick Castle tickets online today and save 10% on the on-the-gate prices.