Alnwick Castle

Alnwick Castle is north of Tithe Barn Cottages in the county of Northumberland.

As the second largest inhabited castle in the UK, it is more than just another ‘old castle’.
It has been a military outpost, teaching college, evacuee refuge, family home and most famously Hogwarts School of Witchdraft and Wizardry!

History of the Castle

Pre dating our cottages by some 200 years; parts of the castle date back to the Norman Period (11th century).
Henry Percy (great-great grandfather of Sir Henry “Harry Hotspur” Percy) purchased a typical motte and bailey castle, spending the following 40 years converting it to a border fortress.
The castle was written off in defensive terms in the early 16th Century and in the subsequent 17th century fell into disrepair.
In the late 18th century the decaying garrison fortress was converted to a palace in high gothic style.

From the 20th century there were vast areas of the castle unoccupied and unused. Areas of the castle first became the accommodation of Alnwick Teacher and Training College, later St. Cloud State University students from Minnesota USA.

Alnwick Castle as a set

Camera operator filming a scene at Alnwick Castle
Camera operator filming a scene at Alnwick Castle ©Alnwick Castle

With over 30 Movie and TV Series using Alnwick Castle since 1964; it can bost many hours of screen time.

The featured list of appearances can be found on the Alnwick Castle website, but some of our favorites:

    • Blackadder (The Black Adder)
      Starring Rowan Atkinson a local comedic actor  from Consett in County Durham
    • Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
      With Kevin Costner as Robin Hood and Alan Rickman as the Sheriff of Nottingham
    • The Fast Show (known as Brilliant in the US
      Created by and starring Paul Whitehouse also featured, among others, Mark Williams

The boy with the lightning scar

As previously mentioned many more people will know Alnwick Castle as Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Used in the first two films; Harry Potter and the Philosophers (Sorcerer’s) Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Some of the most memorable shots:

Neville Longbottom taking flight in Hogwarts flying lesson
Neville Longbottom taking flight in Hogwarts flying lesson
©Universal Pictures

Madam Hooch (Zoë Wanamaker) Teaching Harry and his first year class in the courtyard of Alnwick Castle.
For those brave enough, you too can get lessons, unfortunately not from Madam Hooch.

Hogwarts Students crossing castle courtyard
Hogwarts Students crossing castle courtyard
©Universal Pictures

The courtyards of Alnwick Castle were used alongside the Cloisters of Durham Cathedral as the inner grounds of Hogwarts. This scene if from approximately 1hr 50 mins into Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s (Sorcerer’s) Stone.

While there are many others we could list here. Our cottages have both Wifi and DVD players, making it easy to watch one or both of the films in front of the wood burning stove; before/after a visit and see which you recognise.

What about four legged visitors?

At Tithe Barn Cottages we do welcome pets (with well behaved owners), so it is important that locations we recommend visiting; also allow our canine friends.

Unfortunately, only guide dogs are permitted in the castle and grounds.
However, there are many beautiful dog-friendly walks in and around Alnwick – including in the pastures behind the castle.

– Alnwick Castle FAQ page

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