Alnwick - Lions, Cellars, and Dukes

Trip Start May 30, 2012
Trip End Nov 07, 2012

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Thursday, September 6, 2012

As I mentioned in the last blog, you don't go to Holy Island just for the castle. In Alnwick on the other hand, the castle is all you go for! It is the home of the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland, and they live in style. But right now, they are off at their summer home on the border of England and Scotland. So that means...Party time at the castle!! Well not really, but we do get to walk around parts of the castle that are not available to the public for the rest of the year. Like the dining hall, the library, and the study. Everything was extravagent, but there was also a personal touch as well with pictures of the Duke's family. The Duke and Duchess have two sons, two daughters, and seven dogs! This castle has been in their family for over 700 years. Last year one of the Duke's daughters got married, and she was escorted to the castle in a stunning black and gold carriage led by two white horses. They had a video of it playing, and the actual carriage was on display. The whole day in Alnwick castle cost us 12 per person, a little expensive, but very much worth it. Our tickets included a historical tour, various exhibits throughout the castle, a cellar tour, a Harry Potter tour, a broom stick lesson, and access to almost everywhere in the castle. Sweet deal! Some of these need some elaborating. The cellar tour was a new thing at Alnwick Castle. They converted the old cellar into a 20 minute creepy tour/show in the dark underground halls. There were professional actors bringing us through each of the rooms with lights, hidden speakers, and sweet props. It was like a real haunted house, but with actors who interact with you and try to scare you. Really well done. I was sometimes at the back of our 13 person group and the "guide", who was there in case anyone had enough and wanted out, kept giving me creepy looks when I turned back. He had really dark eye shadow and he didn't say a word. No kids under 13 were allowed. As for the Harry Potter tour and broom stick lessons, they were there because a lot of the first two Harry Potter movies were filmed at Alnwick Castle. The tour took us to all the different spots around the castle grounds where different scenes were shot. The broom stick lesson scene, the Quidditch scene, and the flying car scene were among some of them. For the flying car scene, something went wrong with guy operating the crane the car was attached to, and he flung the car into a huge bush. The hole the car made in the bush hasn't fully grown back yet. Oops! The Duke just grit his teeth and kindly shrugged it off. After going in every little room we could, we took a stroll outside the castle over the Lion Bridge and along the River Aln. Everyone back in the day used this bridge if they were heading to Scotland. Many times Scottish invaders came over this bridge to attack the castle. There is a lion on the bridge with his tail sticking straight out, so if you are coming to the castle, you see the mighty face of the lion, but if you are leaving, you get a view of the backside of the lion, with his tail straight out waving goodbye to you. I guess it worked because Alnwick Castle has never been taken by invading forces. It has brilliant strategic defenses, especially at it's main gateway called the Barbican. I will spare you the details of it in this blog, but ask me about it later.

All in all, a great day in Alnwick, and back on the double decker bus we went and headed back to Berwick. The bar has definitely been raised for castles in England.

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Nana on

Castles really do interest you two---- it's really something you's are so totally tuned in on the same likes/dislikes------ you's are a sweet couple!!
Take care,Lovingly,Nana XX

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