Things to do in Alnwick

Our most recommended things to do in Alnwick

From Edinburgh: Holy Island, Alnwick Castle & Northumbria

1. From Edinburgh: Holy Island, Alnwick Castle & Northumbria

Take the scenic coastal route south into the Medieval Kingdom of Northumbria in North-East England; visit the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, once the most important center of religious learning in the British Isles. Explore the medieval market town of Alnwick and its stunning castle - where scenes from ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Downton Abbey’ were filmed. Our first stop is Holy Island, connected to the mainland by a causeway that leads into the quaint island village of Lindisfarne, where there are stunning views of Lindisfarne Castle* (dating back to 1550). Spend time wandering through the ruins of its Priory* where the magnificent Lindisfarne Gospels were produced, sample some of the world-famous Lindisfarne ‘Mead’ brewed by Monks on the island, and enjoy the tranquility for which the island is renowned. We continue south passing Bamburgh, ‘Ancient Capital of Northumbria,’ then on to the bustling market town of Alnwick, whose greatest building is the medieval Alnwick Castle*. Enjoy time in the town center or visit the castle complex where there is something for everyone. Home of the Percy Family for over 700 years, Alnwick Castle is considered one of the finest castles in England and is proudly known as “The Windsor of the North”. Visitors can step into the unexpected in the spectacular Alnwick Garden* with its Grand Cascade fountain and Poison Gardens. The castle grounds were also used in the TV series Downton Abbey and the Harry Potter films. In the mid-afternoon, we begin the drive north to cross the River Tweed and back into Scotland at the historic border town of Coldstream. If time permits during this journey there may be a stop at Flodden Field, one of the best-preserved battlefields in Northern Europe and scene of the infamous battle of 1513, which ended in victory for the English and the death of James IV, King of Scots.

Alnwick: Self-Guided Walking Tour with Audio Guide

2. Alnwick: Self-Guided Walking Tour with Audio Guide

Explore the beauty of Alnwick, a quaint Northumbrian town on a self-guided audio walking tour. Put on your headphones and stroll through the streets of the Alnwick at your own pace. Download the MP3 audio tour combined with a fully detailed map of the area and start your adventure with your audio device as your guide. The culturally rich audio tour will take you on a journey through a place rich in history. Walk through the old cobbled stone paths of the town and see the marketplace, community gathering place, and the fine stone buildings. Learn about the past of Alnwick and discover how it evolved into the vibrant and beautiful market town of today. Visit the most popular attractions of the town like the old Market Cross, the Alnwick Garden, a famous castle, a quaint market, historical buildings, and a beautiful cozy bookstore. Enjoy a hassle-free audio tour of one of England’s iconic market towns.

Alnwick Castle and Scottish Borders Tour from Edinburgh

3. Alnwick Castle and Scottish Borders Tour from Edinburgh

On this 9.5-hour excursion from Edinburgh you’ll visit the picturesque town of Coldsream and the inspiring Bamburgh Castle. But it’s Alnwick Castle that’s the main destination of the day. It’s been a key filming location for Harry Potter and Downton Abbey and is a historic location in its own right. You will leave Edinburgh in the morning and head east to the Scottish Borders. Enjoy the views of gently rolling hills and dramatic coastlines along the way.  The first stop is the beautiful coastal town of Bamburgh. Take a stroll to the stunning beach and view the picturesque 5th-century Bamburgh Castle sitting on a natural throne of volcanic dolerite. In the afternoon you’ll visit Alnwick Castle. Admire the large stately rooms and the stunning architecture or learn a little about all the popular films and TV shows filmed at the site, including Harry Potter. After spending time in Alnwick, you will return over the border and into Scotland.  The final stop is Coldstream's border town, which lies on the north side of the River Tweed. Hear about the turbulent past of this charming town before your journey ends in Edinburgh in the early evening.

From Edinburgh: Alnwick Garden Magical Christmas Light Trail

4. From Edinburgh: Alnwick Garden Magical Christmas Light Trail

Treat yourself to something special this holiday season in the Edinburgh area. Head off from Edinburgh to discover the Alnwick Garden's Christmas Light Trail. Enjoy free time to explore the grounds and take photos, grab food and drinks, and walk around. After a short break in Berwick-Upon-Tweed, continue towards The Alnwick Garden, reaching it just in time for the sun to set and the light show to really begin. Your tickets for this are included in the price of the tour, meaning you won’t have to pay any extra admission fees. The Alnwick Garden really goes all out for the Light Trail, and what is normally filled with beautiful flowers during the year becomes a magical Christmas escape, full of lights and projections across every inch of the gardens. Ideal for a romantic hand-held stroll under the fairy lights, or a family outing before the big day arrives. There might even be some mistletoe somewhere in there if you are looking for a Christmas date idea. After about 2 hours of exploring the garden and enjoying the beautiful light trail, getting some selfies under all the lights, and grabbing some festive food and drink from the vendors available there, head back to Edinburgh. Following the same route back, see how many houses you can see with all their decorations out and lit up. After another short break in Berwick-Upon-Tweed, arrive back in Edinburgh in the evening, where you could even keep the festivities going.

From Edinburg: Viking Coast & Alnwick Castle Day Tour

5. From Edinburg: Viking Coast & Alnwick Castle Day Tour

Follow the sweeping coastline of the North Sea on a scenic drive towards the historic border town of Berwick-on-Tweed. Cross the ancient Scotland/England border into Northumberland and visit Lindisfarne, or Holy Island, a tidal island settled by Irish monks from Scotland circa AD 635. From here the Christian message spread throughout the north of England. In 793 a fierce Viking invasion heralded the beginning of the Viking Age. Take a short walk through an area of outstanding natural beauty to 16th century Lindisfarne Castle, and visit the Priory where the Lindisfarne Gospels were created and enjoy the spectacular views of Bamburgh Castle and the Farne Islands. You may also wish to buy some delicious souvenir Lindisfarne Mead from St Aidan’s Winery. Arrive back at Alnwick Castle at lunchtime after a short drive. This magical place (the 'Windsor of the North') is one of Europe’s finest castles and has been at the center of key historical events – from bloodthirsty battles between the Scots and the English to the intrigues of the Guy Fawkes plot. Alnwick Castle's sumptuous setting and exquisite architecture has famously been used as a film location for ‘Downton Abbey’, 'Harry Potter' (Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry), 'Robin Hood Prince of Thieves', 'Elizabeth' and 'Blackadder'. Enjoy ‘Harry Spotter Tours’ and revisit some of your favorite scenes. Go with costumed guides on a historical and magical tour. Be sure to check the events board on entry to make the most of your time. With fun and interactive activities for children, you'll have 2.5 hours to fully appreciate and enjoy the castle. The tour returns north via the beautiful Border country and, subject to timing, may also visit the East Lothian coast to the south of Edinburgh.

From Edinburgh: Alnwick Castle and Scottish Borders Day Tour

6. From Edinburgh: Alnwick Castle and Scottish Borders Day Tour

Your full-day tour begins in Edinburgh and continues further south through the Scottish Borders, where you’ll stop at Melrose Abbey. This is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful ruins in Europe. The heart of Robert the Bruce is said to be buried at the Abbey, which is also the final resting place of a number of other Scottish Kings. From here it's on to England, where you'll have lots of time to explore the tour’s main attraction, Alnwick Castle. Alnwick is the 2nd-largest inhabited castle in England, having been lived in for over 700 years. It’s filled with fascinating things to see and mysteries to uncover. You may recognize it as a location from some of the Harry Potter films.

Edinburgh: Harry Potter and English Castles Tour in Spanish

7. Edinburgh: Harry Potter and English Castles Tour in Spanish

On this 10-hour tour you’ll make your first stop in Berwick-upon-Tweed to visit its castle and historic center. Continue on to Bamburgh Castle, impressively located next to a white sand beach. The castle served as a filming location for the movies, El Cid, Robin Hood and Elizabeth. Enjoy a tour of the castle’s interior. The third stop is 11th-century Alnwick Castle. It is the second-largest castle in the United Kingdom. This is probably better known as Hogwarts, the school of witchcraft and wizardry, where the younger fans of Harry Potter can enjoy a broomstick training session. On the return trip, stop in the village of Etal to see the ruins of its 14th-century castle.

Edinburgh: Harry Potter and English Castles Tour in Italian

8. Edinburgh: Harry Potter and English Castles Tour in Italian

After beginning this 10-hour tour, you’ll make your first stop in Berwick-upon-Tweed where you will visit both its castle and historic center. You will then continue on to Bamburgh Castle, impressively located next to a white sand beach. The castle served as a filming location for the movies El Cid, Robin Hood, and Elizabeth, and whilst here you can enjoy a tour of the castle’s interior. Your third stop will be the 11th-century Alnwick Castle, which is the second-largest castle in the United Kingdom. This is probably better known as Hogwarts, the school of witchcraft and wizardry, where the younger fans of Harry Potter can enjoy a broomstick training session. Upon your return trip, you will stop for a break in the village of Etal to see the ruins of its 14th-century castle.

Top sights in Alnwick

Other Sightseeing Options in Alnwick

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What people are saying about Alnwick

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 556 reviews

Our driver cum guide, Nestor, an enthusiastic biological scientist, kept us regaled throughout the day, informing us of a vast array of interesting aspects about Scotland, the sights we visited and kept all of us engaged with his interactivity, ready willingness to answer questions and quiz us on interesting facts.

Fantastic trip, highly entertaining guide. My knowledge of sheep and whisky has been broadened considerably.

Good amount of time at each stop, Paul is very personable & fun

Tour guide was very friendly and happy to answer any questions.

Great tour and enough time to discover both places.