Castles in Northumberland: a guide
With over 70 sites to explore, the castles of Northumberland are impressive feats of Roman and medieval engineering, standing as potent reminders of the county's frontier history.
Many of these castles remain perfectly intact, despite weathering over the years. While many of them lie in ruins, they still provide inspiration to any history buffs, outdoor enthusiasts or fantasy fans. So, whether it be ‘flying’ a broomstick in the movie-famous castle of Alnwick or ghost-touring around the grounds of Chillingham Castle, you can be sure there is something suited to your adventurous needs. We’ve done the research and compiled a list of some of the best castles Northumberland has to offer to help you get ready for your visit. Rest assured that all of the castles listed below are within reach of both our Berwick Holiday Park in the very north of the county, and Haggerston Castle Holiday Park a little further down the coast.
Address: Alnwick NE66 1NQ
If you’re looking for a castle in Northumberland that has medieval drama, intrigue and ties to the Harry Potter franchise, then Alnwick Castle is the place for you. Constructed in the Norman era, Alnwick Castle is still the second largest inhabited castle in the UK and is officially home to the Duke of Northumberland.
Built as a motte and bailey castle, Alnwick Castle overlooks and guards the river Aln, and was the subject of many sieges throughout its 700 year history. The castle is open to the public throughout the summer and has a great variety of activities for you to get stuck into. Inside there are superb state rooms and the Fusiliers Museum, while outside there are stunning grounds to wander about in. For Harry Potter fans, ‘broomstick’ training is on offer, as well as the opportunity to see where the Weasley family car crashed in the film.
If that's not exciting enough, there is also the recently restored Alnwick Gardens to tour nearby, with an array of walled gardens, mazes and even a poison garden of deadly flora. Alnwick Castle in all its lavish glory is truly a sight to behold, and should not be passed up by anyone looking to appreciate the castles in Northumberland.
Address: Chillingham, Alnwick NE66 5NJ
Chillingham Castle is a fascinating, supposedly haunted castle with a long history dating back to the 1600s. It's built on the site of an old monastery, less than a half hour’s drive from our Haggerston Castle Holiday Park.
Aside from its spooky inhabitants, the castle is fulls of wonders, with rooms displaying magnificent pieces of tapestry, suits of armour and medieval weapons to marvel over. The volunteers here are very friendly and well-informed of the castle's history, so you can get some insider knowledge while you're at it. There is even a wonderful 18th century garden for you to wander, so plenty of time can be spent around the grounds too. Make sure to enjoy beverages in the cafe after a long day of exploration.
Address: Dunstanburgh Rd, Craster, Alnwick NE66 3TT
If you’re looking for a potent reminder of medieval conflict in Northumberland, look no further than the ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle, situated between Craster and Embleton.
Taken care of by the National Trust, these well-preserved ruins are known for their views overlooking the coast, and are well worth the 1.5 mile walk up from Craster to get there. Walk around the castle ruins, explore the gatehouse and climb to the top of Lilburn Tower to get an even better vantage point of the rugged coastline.
Address: Castle Terrace, Warkworth, Morpeth NE65 0UJ
Warkworth Castle is another one of Northumberland’s ruined medieval castles, sitting atop a loop of the River Coquet. The cross-shaped keep is a fine example of the architecture of its time, and its many rooms and floors are perfect for any family to explore. Experience life as the previous Dukes of Northumberland lived it, as well as the infamous knight ‘Harry Hotspur’, deemed to be a rebel lord by Shakespeare, and a thorn in the Scottish raiders' sides. To get the best value for money on a ticket and guaranteed entry, book online ahead of your visit and you will not be disappointed.
Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens
Address: Belsay, Morpeth NE20 0DX
Currently Belsay Hall is welcoming visitors once again, after the completion of conservation work to repair the roof. Also open to the public is the medieval castle where you can climb 56 spiral stairs to admire the panoramic views atop the defensive ‘pele’ tower, or explore the maze of rooms with traces of exquisite medieval paintings throughout.
Belsay’s vast 30-acre gardens are also great to get lost in, including the Quarry Garden with its unique micro-climate and manifold exotic plants. These gardens are also home to one of the largest collections of Rhododendrons in the UK and are a great breath of fresh air for you and the family to wander around in.
Address: B6341, Edlingham, Alnwick NE66 2BW
Edlingham Castle is located on the east end of the village of Edlingham, on low-lying ground beside the Burn, a tributary of the River Aln. Dating from the 14th century, the hall house was built in 1300 by Sir William Felton in a time of relative peace in Northumberland.
The most prominent feature at Edlingham is the solar tower which is still standing today. Gain a small glimpse into the medieval life that was lived here through the large fireplaces and portcullis that remain, complete with information boards to browse, as well as a nearby 11th-century church for you to visit. Dogs on leads are welcome here, but be wary that some surfaces are uneven, so bring your best pair of outdoor shoes to ensure the safest possible experience.
Address: Norham, Berwick-upon-Tweed TD15 2JY
Set high on a grassy mound in the border country, just a 13-minute drive from Haven Berwick Holiday Park, Norham is known for being one of the most picturesque castles in Northumberland. So, be sure to bring your best camera and photographic eye along!
An important stronghold in the region, first built in the 12th century, the castle was the site of frequent attacks by the Scots and once for nearly a year by the famous Robert Bruce. Browse the accessible ruins with your friends, family or dog in tow and make a day of it in the sunshine.