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Our most recommended Edinburgh Downton Abbey tours

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 Castle and Scottish Borders Tour from Edinburgh

2. 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’ll leave Edinburgh at 08:15 in the morning and head east to the Scottish Borders. Along the way, you’ll have views of gently rolling hills and dramatic coastlines. The first stop is the beautiful coastal town Bamburgh. Take a stroll to the stunning beach and view the dramatic 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 that have been filmed at the site, including Harry Potter. After spending time in Alnwick, you will make your way back over the border and in to Scotland. The final stop is the border town of Coldstream that 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.

Alnwick Castle & Holy Island Tour from Edinburgh

3. Alnwick Castle & Holy Island Tour from Edinburgh

On this full‐day tour you’ll journey south across the Scottish border into England. As you head south you’ll hear all about the historic rivalry between Scotland and England while enjoying the beautiful scenery of the Borders. Your first stop will be at The Hirsel, a country house and estate where you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy some homemade treats. The tour continues with a 1-hour stop at the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, a tidal island off the northeast coast of England. Lindisfarne is internationally known both for its medieval religious heritage and also its picturesque 16th-century castle. Alnwick Castle is the second-largest inhabited castle in the UK and has been home to the Percys, the Duke of Northumberland’s family, for over 700 years. In recent years it has also played starring roles in a number of film and television productions, featuring as Brancaster Castle in Downton Abbey’s 2014 Christmas special and Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the Harry Potter films. You’ll have approximately 2.5 hours at Alnwick to explore the castle and the gardens and to have lunch. You can explore a Downton Abbey exhibition, featuring photography, costumes, and props from the filming. Enjoy relaxing music on board during your enjoyable ride back to Edinburgh.

From Edinburg: Viking Coast & Alnwick Castle Day Tour

4. 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.

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What people are saying about Edinburgh

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 236 reviews

The trip was very enjoyable. Our guide, Ronnie, was knowledgeable, helpful and funny. The coach was very comfy and the stops were great. The cafe at Coldstream offered lovely breakfasts and cakes. Alnwick Castle had interesting things for people of all ages. Holy Island was my favourite with the Priory and Castle, the cool shops and even a beach.

A fantastic day and a really great tour! Fraser was a perfect guide. He was very friendly and told us much about scottish history. Even though it rained all day, I really enjoyed the beautiful destinations. Go for it folks, you won‘t regret!

The trip was amazing, even though the weather was not ok. The schedule was respected, we've seen all the places. I would suggest to add more time at Holy Island, so you can visit also the castle.

Very entertaining and informative ride especially thanks to the great comments from tour guide Andrew T. Thank you - highly recommended

Holy Island is very cool and interesting. Alnwick Castle and Gardens are quite beautiful.