Northumberland is home to more castles than any other English county, from romantic ruins to glorious stately buildings that are still inhabited and open to the public.
Alnwick Castle is home to the Percy family – the Dukes of Northumberland – and has a long and fascinating history.
Over the summer months, there are plenty of opportunities to find out more about the castle’s heritage – ancient and modern – and get involved in some fun and entertaining events for all ages.
From Friday July 1, the State Rooms will be bedecked with blooms for a flower festival to raise funds for the county’s branch of the SSAFA, the armed forces charity. The nine State Rooms will be filled with more than 30 creative displays with the largest commemorating the Battle of the Somme, which started precisely 100 years ago on Friday and cost the lives of more than 60,000 people in one day.
The flower festival can be seen until Sunday (July 3).
The castle also remembers the Battle of the Somme on July 17, when the Band of The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers will be performing.
Alnwick Castle’s starring role in film and TV productions is on the agenda with events throughout the summer.
It famously substituted for Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movies and also hosted the hit TV series Downton Abbey, where it was an integral location for the final episode.
For adults, stories of behind the scenes and filming anecdotes are included as part of a tour of the TV and film locations within the castle in a 45-minute tour every day during the summer.
Kids will of course love the Harry Potter connection, and on July 9 and 10, 23 and 24 and again on July 30 and August 1, they can mix with Potter-inspired characters.
Kids are encouraged to dress up with their finest witch and wizard costumes for their visit.
Often called the Versailles of the North, Alnwick Castle is also famous for the treasures contained within its lavish State Rooms, including artworks by Canaletto, Titian, Van Dyck, and Turner.
State Room tours take place every day until July 20, and you’ll also be able to view possibly the world’s most expensive pieces of furniture, which are on show at the castle.
The Cucci cabinets were originally made for Louis XIV’s Palace of Versailles and were bought by the Duke of Northumberland in 1822. Only one other Cucci cabinet exists and it sold for an incredibly £4.5 million back in 2009.
The Castle’s long history – there has been a castle at Alnwick for more than 1,000 years and it has been the Percy family home for 700 years – offers plenty of scope for entertaining adults and kids alike.
On July 25-29 and again on August 16-20, the fighting knights are at the castle, with a special knights’ school teaching the skills – and chivalry – of the medieval age.