The market town of Alnwick is dominated by Alnwick Castle, home to the Percys - the Earls and later Dukes of
Northumberland - since 1309. Entering through a barbican and gatehouse that are among the most perfect examples of
their kind in England, the visitor is confronted by the the twin octagonal towers of the medieval keep surrounded by
the outer and middle baileys. The terrace overlooks the river and the 18th century parklands laid out by Capability
Brown. Alnwick Castle held a central role in the history of Northumberland during the middle ages and was besieged,
captured and re-captured many times.
Dating from Norman times, Bamburgh's setting on a great coastal crag north of Seahouses is inspired. Dominating the
village of Bamburgh which sits below it, the castle can be seen for miles around. During the middle ages, the castle
was besieged several times, but proved impregnable. The most famous of its commanders was Hotspur, son of the 1st Earl
of Northumberland. The castle was restored in the 19th century by the 1st Lord Armstrong, who rescued it from becoming
Located just north of Rothbury, Cragside is a Victorian mansion built by the 1st Lord Armstrong between 1864 and 1895.
Set in over 900 acres of gardens, woodlands and lakes, the house is displayed much as it would have looked in the 19th
century. A superb rock garden sets off the house magnificiently. Cragside was the first house in the world to be lit by
hydro-electricity. A visitor centre explains the work of Lord Armstrong, who was an innovator in diverse fields
including energy technology and shipbuilding.
The romantic ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle stand on a clifftop above the shore just north of Craster. Its dramatic
location above the crashing waves of the North Sea lends the castle a wild, haunted quality. Built in 1316 by Thomas,
Earl of Lancaster, the castle was enlarged by John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, later in the 14th century. The largest
castle in Northumberland, it has been neither altered nor improved since then. The remains include the gatehouse and
the curtain wall. The castle can be reached only on foot by a mile-long coastal path from Craster village, with the
castle in sight all the way.
This romantic 16th century Tudor castle is perched spectacularly atop a rocky crag on Holy Island, which is accessible
only by a causeway at low tide. The castle was converted into an Edwardian home with an interior design by Sir Edwin
Lutyens and a charming walled garden by Getrude Jekyll. It enjoys fantastic views of the Farne Islands and Bamburgh
Castle. Holy Island village is well worth a visit also.
Wallington is a 17th century mansion at Cambo, 15 miles north-east of Hexham. The interior of the house is Victorian
and features fine plasterwork, furniture and porcelain. Its most striking feature is the vast hall decorated with
splendid painted murals, each depicting a historical scene from Northumbria's past. The house is set in 100 acres of
woodlands and lakes, and includes a fine walled garden.
It is probable that a fort existed at Warkworth even in Saxon times. Sometime after the Norman Conquest, this became a
Norman motte and bailey. In 1331, King Edward III gifted the castle to the Earl of Northumberland, in whose family the
ownership of the castle still remains. Sited on a hill overlooking the village of Warkworth, the castle is mainly a
ruin, although the central, eight-towered keep has been restored and is still largely intact. The castle is best viewed
from the River Coquet, which flows around the village in a horseshoe loop. The village possesses a graceful 14th
century bridge with two arches and a defensive tower bearing the Percy coat-of-arms.
Housesteads is the most complete example of a Roman fort in Britain, and now the most visited site on Hadrian's Wall.
It stands high on the exposed Whin Sill escarpment and commands spectacular views. It was one of twelve forts added
by the Emperor Hadrian in about AD 124.
Vindolanda is an auxiliary fort located at Chesterholm, just south of Hadrian's Wall near the Scottish Border.
There are ongoing excavations and reconstructions of a Roman temple and a section of Hadrian's Wall.