Northumberland in northeast England has no shortage of beautiful castles, one way to discover the battle-scarred history and the luxury living of those wealthy landowners of days gone by is to visit these castles. Northumberland has more castles open to the public than any other county in England, each one is truly unique and has its own history.
The ruins of Edlingham Castle stand alongside the beautifully rugged valley of Edlingham Burn. The castle was built by John de Edlingham as a large two story hall house in the mid 13th century. In 1296, Sir William de Felton took over the property, he built a gatehouse on the north side of the building. In around 1340, Felton’s son made more improvements to the castle, adding on a solar tower, a gate tower and stone curtain walls. In 1650, the property was used as a farm and several of the buildings were transformed to house livestock. Alnwick castle is the second largest occupied castle in England and is home to the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland. The castle is rather dramatically situated on the edge of the town of Alnwick. Today, Alnwick castle is better known as the enchanted setting for Hogwarts’ in the Harry Potter films.
The architecture of the castle is awe-inspiring and is an amazing location for weddings Bamburgh Castle is one of the spectacular fortresses situated on the rocky headlands of the magnificent golden coastline. It is one of Britain’s most famous castles and has glorious views of the Holy Island of Lindisfarne the Farne Islands and the Cheviot hills. Bamburgh is an 11th century Norman castle. Bamburgh village is also steeped in history, northeast heroine Grace Darling was born there.
The dramatic ruins of Dunstanburgh castle are all that remain today but the castle was originally built when the relationship between King Edward II and Earl Thomas of Lancaster became overtly hostile. The construction of the fortress commenced in 1313. Research carried out by the English Heritage more recently indicates that Lancaster built Dunstanburgh on a far grander scale than was previously acknowledged perhaps to be a symbol of his resistance to the King rather than with the purpose of being a military stronghold. After the execution of Earl Thomas, the castle was passed to John of Gaunt who converted the great twin-towered gatehouse into a keep in order to strengthen the castle against the advances of the Scots. Today the remarkable ruins are home to famous seabirds.
Warkworth castle is situated upon a hilltop above the River Coquet. The castle used to be owned by the Percy family whose badge can still be seen today around the castle. Amazingly the castle is still roofed and almost complete with remains of a great hall, chapel, gatehouse and a practically intact circuit of towered walls. Half a mile from the castle, hidden by the river and only reachable by boat, stands the late medieval chapel of a solitary holy man. Lindisfarne castle is perched on a rocky crag and only accessible over a causeway at low tide. Originally a Tudor fort, it was converted into a private house by Edwin Lutyens. Each small room features beautiful design. From the windows visitors can see a walled garden planned by Gertrude Jekyll. If you visit the coast of Northumberland, you will be astounded by its beauty and history.
Each castle is unique and amazing. I hope that this article has inspired you to visit the northeast, in particular the coast of Northumberland.