Our Alnwick Castle Adventure

During our stay at Slaley Lodges during the Easter holidays, we took a drive up to Alnwick Castle.  Although we went to Northumberland for a wedding a few years ago, we didn’t have time to visit Alnwick Castle but I knew it was somewhere I really wanted to visit – mainly because of the Harry Potter connections.  As soon as I started making plans for our trip, the iconic Alnwick Castle was top of our priority list.

Although it was absolutely freezing and threatened to rain for most of the day we still had a fantastic day and I wanted to share some of our highlights and top tips with you!


1. The staff

Every single member of staff we spoke to was warm, friendly and helpful – they went out of their way to ensure we enjoyed our visit (and the smiles on their faces clearly belied how flipping nithered they were!)  Particular shout outs to Peterkin the Jester and Professor Bottomley


2. Broomstick training

This was absolutely my favourite bit of the day.  Harry Potter fan or not, you can’t fail to enjoy learning to fly on the very spot that Harry himself had his first flying lessons.  The broomstick lessons are open to everyone so on arrival we picked up tickets for everyone except Granny & Grandad who took charge of the camera and Amy!  At the start of our allotted session, neither child was really convinced that they wanted to do it – I think they were genuinely frightened that we were actually going to be flying . . .  with a little coercion from us, Ben and Chloe warmed up to the situation and joined in, they were soon giggling their heads off at the Professors who were poking fun at grown ups and generally being thoroughly entertaining.  Professor Bottomley was an extremely commanding character and his broomstick training really shouldn’t be missed!

A photo posted by Colette B (@goingonanadventureblog) on Apr 1, 2016 at 5:26am PDT

 

3. Dragon Quest

This is not for the fainthearted – we took Chloe in and she really wasn’t keen, she basically had her Grandad carry her back out as quickly as possible.  Ben on the other hand thought it was ace, he particularly loved the rolling tunnel and the hall of mirrors. Aunty Nic may have screamed very loudly when she disturbed a dragon and he made his displeasure known!  This dark and scary quest is definitely not one for those who are of a nervous disposition but for my 7 year old boy?  So much fun he had to go through again!

 

4. Downton Abbey Exhibition

Now I’ve never watch an episode of Downton Abbey in my life so I can’t say that this particular exhibition held much interest for me however I was pleased to be in the warm and still enjoyed looking at the costumes and the various rooms.  Mum on the other hand is a huge fan and hadn’t realised that there was a connection between Downton and Alnwick Castle (it was the set for two Christmas specials) so she was in her element.  Unsurprisingly most of this exhibition passed the kids by, they’re a little young to appreciate the history and grandeur however Chloe did think the staircase was something special and said she could imagine a princess walking down the stairs.  Sadly you’re not allowed to take any photographs within State Rooms.

5. Peterkin the Jester

Although in reality it felt much too cold to be standing still for very long, Peterkin soon distracted us with his comical performance.  Wobbling around on stilts, eating fire and commanding the involvement of two poor Dads who happened to catch his attention – Peterkin kept us all entertained.  Ben and Chlo were still talking about him days later.

6. The Lost Cellars

Mum, Dad and Nic went to investigate The Lost Cellars whilst we were watching Peterkin with the kids.  The came back full of tales and encouragement that we should leave the kids with them to experience it for ourselves.  Unfortunately we had just missed the next performance so I can’t describe it to you in any detail however Dad said it was an excellent diversion for the grown ups which brought history to life.  The excellent acting of the staff made the experience something special and whilst it will make you squeal, it won’t leave you with nightmares.

7. Knight’s Quest

With a wide range of costumes for young and old alike to dress up in medieval finery, Knight’s Quest provides a range of traditional games and activities for children to get involved in.  Whilst Chloe’s favourite thing was clearly getting dressed up as a princess, I rather liked chucking rats at Dave whilst he was in the stocks!

 

8. Courtyard Cafe

Although we had taken a picnic with us in an attempt to be reasonably frugal, we were extremely grateful for the opportunity to stop and warm up with a hot drink after our broomstick training.  The prices were reasonable, I think we spent about £20 on hot drinks for 5 adults and 3 children.  (It’s worth a mention that if you have a dairy intolerance there is no soy alternative for your hot chocolate)

 

 

Top tips for visiting Alnwick Castle

 

1. Wear comfy shoes – you will be doing a lot of walking (it’s also worth considering a pushchair if you have a little one, we regretted leaving ours at home!)

2. Pre-book your broomstick training session on arrival as this can get booked up quickly – book tickets for both adults and children, it’s much more entertaining all round if you all get involved.

3. Be prepared for the elements – a day out at Alnwick Castle can be fairly exposed so think about wrapping up warm (or making sure you have plenty of suncream!)

4. Make a note of timings of events so you can plan your day around them – it’s also worth checking in advance what’s going to be on when you’re visiting

5. Be aware that some things are not suitable for children eg The Lost Cellars

6. Get your ticket validated on entry and you can visit as many times as you want over the coming year

7. If you book tickets for the castle and gardens together you get a discounted rate (we did this but actually shouldn’t have bothered with the gardens as we were far too cold and tired to make the most of them – I wish we were more local so we could visit again another day as they were stunning!)

8. Charge your camera up! (I had planned to vlog our day but my camera battery ran out almost instantly!)

*Read more reviews here*

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37 Comments

  1. April 19, 2016 / 2:27 pm

    It sounds like you had a wonderful day….Alnwick castle is such a great place to visit.
    We have been to Alnwick Gardens in the summer and it is stunning x

  2. April 19, 2016 / 6:03 pm

    Oh this looks brilliant! Huge Harry Potter fans in this house minus my boyfriend who thinks we're just a bit weird 😉

    Stevie x

  3. April 21, 2016 / 9:35 pm

    I want to go! This looks like such a great day out and I absolutely love a castle! x

  4. April 23, 2016 / 7:24 pm

    Ah I love Alnwick castle I grew up in Northumberland and live not too far away now. My cousin got married here last year and it was beautiful. xx

  5. April 26, 2016 / 7:10 am

    We'll be in Northumberland for a wedding this year. I'll check the map to see if we are staying close, it looks like a fantastic day out 🙂

    #TriedTested

  6. April 26, 2016 / 7:11 am

    You've captured some wonderful photos here, looks like a fantastic day out!

  7. April 26, 2016 / 7:59 am

    I want to learn to fly a broomstick! This looks like an excellent day out, would love to visit one day xx #TriedTested

  8. April 26, 2016 / 9:59 am

    This looks like so much fun!! I would love to have a go at the broom flying training #TriedTested

  9. mummydaddy mia
    April 26, 2016 / 1:08 pm

    What great pictures! I love Harry Potter so this would be one for me but I haven't seen Downton so that would go over my head a bit! Its great when you can get out for the day as a family and do something fun! 🙂

    #TriedTested

  10. April 26, 2016 / 12:26 pm

    Wow this looks so fantastic! I wish it was closer to me!!

  11. Mummy Melton
    April 26, 2016 / 1:34 pm

    We love Alnwick Castle, we will be back again later this year when we visit my parent's caravan in nearby Rothbury. Mini M didn't like the dragon quest either #triedtested

  12. April 26, 2016 / 12:43 pm

    Looks like a fab day out, we visited Alnwick pre children and loved seeing the set of some of Harry Potter! Bless Chloe in the dragon quest and love the shot of the kids all dressed up, so cute! Xx

  13. April 26, 2016 / 12:43 pm

    Looks like a fab day out, we visited Alnwick pre children and loved seeing the set of some of Harry Potter! Bless Chloe in the dragon quest and love the shot of the kids all dressed up, so cute! Xx

  14. April 26, 2016 / 12:52 pm

    Oh this sounds fab. My boys are both huge Harry Potter fans. Will have to bear it in mind if we are ever holidaying in the area

  15. April 26, 2016 / 1:33 pm

    Looks amazing my whole family would love the Harry Potter stuff. Learning to fly a broomstick is now on my bucket list! #triedandtest

  16. katefever
    April 26, 2016 / 3:34 pm

    I want to do broomstick training! Gemma is a huge Harry Potter fan, so I know she would want a go too. #TriedTested

  17. April 26, 2016 / 4:10 pm

    This looks like a fantastic day out with kids.

  18. April 26, 2016 / 4:21 pm

    It's a shame this is so far away from us as this looks like something that we would all enjoy. I love Harry Potter and really like the idea of trying out some broomstick traning! 🙂 #triedtested Annette 3 Little Buttons

  19. April 26, 2016 / 5:05 pm

    This looks like great fun! I have recently bought David Austin's Alnwick rose for our allotment which is named after the castle! #triedtested

  20. April 26, 2016 / 6:04 pm

    This sounds like a great place to visit.
    I love the broomstick training 🙂
    And the kiddies look fab in their costumes x #TriedTested

  21. April 26, 2016 / 6:27 pm

    What an amazing time to visit with so much going on. A great way to enjoy being outdoors and pack in a little history and imaginative fun. #TriedTested

  22. gina caro
    April 26, 2016 / 7:39 pm

    Oh my gosh my son would go nuts for the broomstick training. That's right up his street, shame this place is so far away from us 🙁

  23. Kiri S
    April 26, 2016 / 8:23 pm

    Aw how cute do they look all dressed up! Looks fun, I love Harry Potter!

  24. April 26, 2016 / 7:54 pm

    What a fantastic day out! I love the costumes. The broomstick training looks such fun, I love Mr B's photograph, very much the part! #TriedTested

  25. April 26, 2016 / 9:09 pm

    This isn't all that far from us, I had no idea they did all these events, we'll have to check it out when the kids are a bit older x
    #triedtested

  26. Odd Socks and Lollipops
    April 27, 2016 / 2:47 pm

    This sounds like a great place and so much to do too! I love the idea of the broomstick flying lessons!

  27. April 27, 2016 / 8:10 pm

    Oh this looks like a fun day! That flying picture is awesome! Thanks for linking up to #TheList x

  28. April 28, 2016 / 11:49 am

    This has brought back so many lovely family memories! I absolutely love Alnwick Castle (although the gardens and treehouse are my favourite haha). I remember getting my parents to dress up when we went, although I'm rather upset we never got to have a flying lesson! xx

  29. April 28, 2016 / 5:25 pm

    This looks amazing I really want to learn to fly a broomstick! I doubt my daughter would be interested though

  30. April 28, 2016 / 6:16 pm

    It sounds like a great day out whatever age you are! I'll have to put it on our travel 'to do' list 🙂
    #triedtested

  31. April 29, 2016 / 11:09 am

    Oh this looks amazing! What great fun. I love the idea of the broomstick training etc. xx

  32. May 1, 2016 / 5:24 am

    Looks like a really great day out all round! Id love to fly a broom!
    #triedtested

  33. May 1, 2016 / 9:03 pm

    It looks like a great day out and love the idea of broomstick training. I can't wait for N to be old enough to watch and appreciate Harry Potter so we can visit cool places that have links to it.

  34. Victoria MyLittleLBlog
    May 2, 2016 / 9:16 pm

    wow, this looks very interesting, like broomsticks experience. Even thought its a bit too far but I hope one day we can visit Alnwick castle

  35. May 4, 2016 / 11:02 pm

    This looks fab! I love the idea of broomstick training and there seems to be so much fun things to do at Alnwick! 🙂 x #triedandtested

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