Northumberland's greatest castles
Northumberland is full of history and heritage and boasts over 70 castle sites. We've picked out our favourites that are must-see destinations during a touring holiday in the county ...
This magnificent coastal castle is one of Northumberland's most iconic buildings. Towering over the coastline 150 feet below, this castle has quite a presence especially when viewed from the beach below. The castle has 14 public rooms and more than 2,000 artefacts, including arms, armour, porcelain, furninture and artwork. Spanning nine acres of land on a rocky plateau, Bamburgh is one of the largest inhabited castles in the country.
- Bamburgh Castle 01668 214515. Adult entry price £9.75.
This is another castle in a stunning coastal location, but an iconic castle ruin. Dunstanburgh stands on a remote headland and is accessed by footpath. Visitors can enjoy views of the dramatic ruins from the coastline and you will need to park in nearby Craster (1.3 miles away) and walk to the castle ruins. There's a shop on site and hot and cold drinks and snacks are available but do note that there are no public toilets at the castle site.
- Dunstanburgh Castle 01665 576231. Adult entry price £4.00.
The holy island of Lindisfarne is only accessible when the tide is out, as when the tide comes in and covers the causeway, the little island is cut off from the mainland. This adds to the wonder and spectacle of this area as travelling to the island feels like entering another world. But be sure to check the safe crossing times on the website or by contcting the Castle. The location of the romantic 16th century castle, high above a big expanse of coast makes for a stunning view and it is worth taking the time to walk round the coast here and see the castle from all angles. The castle is one mile from the village and there is no car park at the castle so you will need to walk a little way to get to it, but it's worth the effort. Inside a treat awaits, too, as unlike many castles this one received a stunning Arts and Crafts makeover in 1901.
- Holy Island 01289 389244. Adult entry price £6.50.
Famously used in the Harry Potter films, Alnwick Castle is an iconic castle where history comes alive. There's plenty for the whole family including art collections, grand state rooms, and Potter-themed activities. For little ones there's the chance to dress up and take on the Knight's Quest, and for those with a strong disposition see what dwells beneath the castle walls in The Lost Cellars. There's plenty of choice for food with a cafe and restaurant and there's also a gift shop. When you've finshed exploring history at the castle there's also Alnwick Gardens with its fountains, rose garden and cherry orchard.
- Alnwick Castle 01665 510777. Adult entry price £14.00.
Tucked away just a mile from the village of Corbridge is Aydon Castle, a fine and unaltered example of a 13th century English manor house which was fortified with battlements and walls in 1305. The castle is set in secluded woodland and there's lots to explore of this hidden gem - the fortified manor house, the woodland surroundings and even Hadrian's Wall nearby.
- Aydon Castle 01434 632450. Adult entry price £3.90.
Chillingham is just 20 minutes from the seaside and claims to be the most haunted castle in Britain. Still a family home, the castle has undergone extensive renovation with many rooms open to the public. The Dungeon and Torture Chamber of the castle add to the appeal and display interesting and gruesome implements of punishment. The castle also boasts idyllic grounds with views of the surrounding countryside. There's an Italian garden, woodland walks and a lake to wander around at your leisure.
- Chillingham Castle 01668 215359. Adult entry price £9.00.