EXPERIENCE the magic of Alnwick, lying in the heart of Northumberland just 30 miles north of Newcastle.
Voted Best Place to Live in Britain by Country Life magazine in 2002, Alnwick and the surrounding area stretches from the unspoilt wilds of the Northumberland National Park to the outstanding natural beauty of the Heritage Coast. Alnwick district has everything for the perfect holiday or short break: rolling, unspoilt countryside, long sandy beaches, an array of colourful gardens, picturesque villages, historic market towns and magnificent castles.
The medieval market town of Alnwick originally prospered as an ideal staging post. It still retains many of its cobbled streets, narrow alleys and fine stone buildings which now house a range of specialist shops and family businesses as wells as some of what once totalled over 50 inns. Visitors can still enjoy the atmosphere of a thriving medieval market town in Alnwick's recently refurbished Market Place, also the centre for local events including Alnwick Fair and the International Music Festival, and the Farmers’ Market is held on the last Friday of each month.
Northumberland Hall is the venue for craft fairs, coffee mornings and various shows, and other town attractions include the Playhouse Theatre, the Bondgate Gallery, Shire Pottery, Embroidery Visitor Centre, Bailifgate Museum and the new Willowburn Leisure Centre with its children’s pool, health suite and gym. The Bailiffgate Museum presents for the first time the history of Alnwick and District.
Attractively located in the former St Mary’s Church, dating from 1836, the museum can be found close to Alnwick Castle, in one of the oldest parts of the town.
Alnwick Castle is the second largest inhabited castle in England, after Windsor Castle, and has been the home of the Percys, Earls and Dukes of Northumberland since 1309.
The earliest mention of it in the history books appears soon after 1096 when Yves de Vescy became baron of Alnwick and erected the earliest parts of the castle. It was restored by the first Lord Percy of Alnwick in the early 1300s and portions of this restoration remain today, including the Abbot’s Tower, the Middle Gateway and the Constable’s Tower.
Visitors to Alnwick will discover a wide selection of specialist shops offering a unique shopping experience. There’s a great selection of gift ideas which aren’t available on the high street, as well as fun days out for all the family.
For those who enjoy walking or who just want to get out into the fresh air, the Alnwick countryside provides the ideal solution. The town’s proximity to the coast and Northumberland National Park means there is access to some of the greatest natural beauty in the country. Superb countryside stretches from the wilds of the national park to the outstanding natural beauty of the Heritage Coast.
To the south-east lie the valleys and heather topped expanses of Coquetdale and the Simonside Hills around Rothbury – a haven for hill walkers and cyclists and a gateway to the Northumberland National Park.
The coastline of the Alnwick region consists of more than 20 spectacular miles of golden sands, rocky outcrops and sand dunes which provide fun days out for all the family and peaceful beach strolls along the sweeping sands of Druridge Bay and Cresswell. Coastal villages include the lively harbour town of Amble, beautiful Warkworth with its magnificent castle, picturesque Alnmouth, home of the oldest golf course in Britain, the hidden coves at Boulmer and you can enjoy internationally famous smoked kippers and salmon at the fishing village of Craster after walking to the haunting Dunstanburgh Castle.