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Best things to do in Alnwick

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Where in the world: Europe  /  UK  /  England  /  Northumberland  /  Alnwick

Top 15 things to do in Alnwick

1. Alnwick Castle

Built after the Norman conquest, Alnwick Castle is the seat of the Duke of Northumberland. The current duke and his family reside there but occupy only a small portion of the castle. The rest is open to the public throughout the good weather months. A guided tour will illuminate the history inside the castle's walls, where the rooms are decorated in grand Italian style. There's no shortage of rooms to tour, as Alnwick Castle is the second largest inhabited castle in England. The interior of the castle isn't the only attraction--the gardens are also a big draw. These formal, landscaped grounds surround a cascading fountain and, along with the castle, attract over 800,000 visitors a year.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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Tours including Alnwick Castle:

2. The Alnwick Garden

Green and boasting the luxury of a typical British estate garden, The Alnwick Garden sits on a lush expanse of land in the heart of the Northumberland countryside. First established in 1750, the garden is blessed with tasteful landscaping, ornate stone works, and picturesque pathways. It now covers 17 hectares (42 acres) of land and endures as a reminder of a golden age of British architecture and design. Enter the Venetian gates of the ornamental garden and wander along pathways lined by fruit trees and lavender. Sit by the bubbling pool in the center and admire the colorful varieties of flowers surrounding you. Wrap up your visit with refreshments in the cafe, a 560 sq m (6,000 sq ft) treehouse, which is one of the largest of its kind in the world.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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Tours including The Alnwick Garden:

3. Embleton Bay, Embleton

At Embleton Bay, walk along the seemingly endless sandy beach past the skeletal ruins of a 14th-century castle watching birds. Nestled in a sheltered bay, this pristine, gently curving beach remains popular with windsurfers, wildlife lovers, and families. At low tide, swarming sea life fills a number of rock pools kids will love to explore. Low sand dunes in the backdrop, dotted with plants and quaint wooden bungalows from the 1930s, offer views of the sea and perfect photo opportunities. After the walk, relax over a glass of ale in one of the pubs in the medieval village of Embleton.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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4. Barter Books

Browse through shelves of books at Barter Books, one of Europe's largest second-hand bookstores. Wander the aisles and flick through antique books, contemporary fiction, and everything in between. Make your selection in comfort while sitting in a cushy chair by the fire. Trade in old books for new ones, if you happen to bring them along. Enjoy the atmosphere of this shop, built inside an old Victorian railway station and its details, such as high arched windows and a model training running above the stacks.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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5. National Trust - Dunstanburgh Castle, Craster

On a quiet, picturesque coast resides National Trust - Dunstanburgh Castle, the largest of its kind in Northumberland. Erected in 1313, the castle was built on a far grander scale than was originally recognized. As the focus of fierce fighting during the Wars of the Roses, it was twice besieged and captured by Yorkist forces, and subsequently fell into decay. Be sure you explore the twin-towered keep, and walk down to the water to view the ruins from the coastline.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about National Trust - Dunstanburgh Castle

6. Cragside House and Gardens, Rothbury

Experience the life of the 19th-century aristocracy at Cragside House and Gardens. Originally built as a modest lodge on a rocky hillside in 1863, the world's first home to be lit using hydroelectric power subsequently transformed into the Free Tudor mansion you'll encounter today. Start your tour in the house, which showcases a large collection of fine art and opulent furnishings. Head out to the gardens, where you'll find a hedgerow labyrinth and the world's largest rock garden. Afterward, take your rest in the Tea Rooms while enjoying traditional English tea and homemade scones. Check out the on-site shop for high-quality souvenirs, such as handcrafted pottery and local foods.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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7. Chillingham Castle

Chillingham Castle is a medieval castle in the village of Chillingham in the northern part of Northumberland, England. It was the seat of the Grey and Bennett (later Earls of Tankerville) families from the 15th century until the 1980s, when it became the home of Sir Edward Humphry Tyrrell Wakefield, 2nd Baronet, who is married to a member of the original Grey family.

A large enclosed park in the castle grounds is home to the Chillingham cattle, a rare breed, consisting of about 130 head of white cattle.
The castle is a Grade I listed building.

In addition to the castle itself, a number of structures on the grounds of the castle are listed Grade II on the National Heritage List for England. These include the West Lodge and gateway, the garden wall to the west, the gateway and garden wall to the north, the gateway and garden wall to the south east, and the garden wall to the west.
A pair of urns in the Italian Garden are also listed Grade II.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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8. Boat Tours & Water Sports, Seahouses

Suggested duration: 2 hours
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9. Bamburgh Castle, Bamburgh

Bamburgh Castle combines an idyllic location on a volcanic rock outcropping by the sea with the imposing towers of a medieval fortress, creating one of Northumbria's most picturesque scenes. The castle dates back to the 11th century and underwent restoration in the 18th and 19th centuries. Have a guide lead you through the 14 rooms open to the public. Along the way, you'll see some of the 3,000 pieces of artwork, furniture, china, and porcelain in King's Hall and learn about the castle's colorful history. After your tour, enjoy refreshments and snacks in the Clock Tower Tea Rooms. You might also be lucky enough to witness an archaeological excavation around the castle grounds. If you're traveling with an infant, bring a baby carrier or borrow a "hippy chick" at the entrance, because the site does not permit strollers.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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Tours including Bamburgh Castle:

10. Bailiffgate Museum and Gallery

Suggested duration: 2 hours
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11. Low Newton by the Sea Beach, Newton by the Sea

Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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12. Alnmouth Beach, Alnmouth

Suggested duration: 2 hours
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13. Lindisfarne Priory, Holy Island

Lindisfarne Priory stands as a tidal island that becomes cut-off from England twice a day. A quaint location with a tiny population of 160 people, the island contains natural wonder and a rich, if not bloody history. "The Holy Island of Lindisfarne" survived a bloodthirsty and murderous attack on the monastery from the Vikings in 793 CE. If you like nature and serenity, spend some time walking, bird-watching, or fishing in the remote northern part of the island. If you prefer religion, history, or the arts, visit the monastery and the 16th-century castle, both of which are located on the southern part of the island. Remember to check the tides before you access the island, especially if you intend to visit for only one day.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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Tours including Lindisfarne Priory:

14. Howick Hall Gardens & Arboretum

Suggested duration: 2 hours
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