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& Breakfast, Self-catering and Campsite Accommodation in Central Alnwick,
its Surrounding Countryside & on Northumberland's Stunning Coastline
English Heritage Properties in Northumberland
With a savage and fearful past, the breathtaking Northumbrian coast is peppered with once magnificent castles - the following: Dunstanburgh, Warkworth and Tynemouth, are in the care of English Heritage. You will learn of our military past at Berwick-upon-Tweed Barracks with its lively exhibition, while further south lies Holy Island, sacred home to Lindisfarne Priory and still a site of pilgrimage as the original burial place of St Cuthbert. Hadrian's Wall slices through 73 miles of stunning countryside, standing testament to a bloody and restless history. Do visit the Roman forts, where Hadrian's soldiers lived while defending England's northern frontier. North west of Newcastle you will find Belsay Hall where you can explore 30 acres of the most spectacular landscaped grounds and glorious gardens. We have listed other EH sites worth a visit if you have the time whilst visiting the area.
Dramatic Dunstanburgh Castle was built at a time of political crisis
and Anglo-Scottish conflict, when relations soured between King Edward
II and his nephew, Thomas Earl of Lancaster, who built the castle. The
fallout from their quarrel led eventually to rebellion and the capture
and execution of Thomas in 1322. By the 16th century, Dunstanburgh had
fallen into decay. It had been built on the grandest possible scale and
had reflected the lavish tastes of the earl, but was then left to ruin,
perceived to be of no further use.
A hillside stronghold and home to the Percy family of Shakespearean fame,
set in the beautiful historic village of Warkworth The majestic keep of
Warkworth is one of the masterpieces of late medieval architecture. It
dominates the castle which stands on a hill high above the River Coquet.
A complex stronghold,
it was home to the immensely powerful Percy family, which at times wielded
more sway in the north than the king. Most famous of them all was Harry
Hotspur (Sir Henry Percy), of Shakespeare's Henry IV fame. Hotspur, who
was immortalised in many Northumberland ballads, dominated the Borders
in the 15th century alongside his father, the Earl of Northumberland.
Together, they fought off the Scots on behalf of the King, before assisting
in the removal of Richard II from the throne. As home to this great family,
Warkworth was, and still is, an impressive castle.
Set in a beautiful valley, this complex ruin boasts defensive features
dating from the 13th to 15th centuries. The ruins of Edlingham Castle
stand next to Edlingham Burn in a rugged but attractive valley. John de
Edlingham built a large two-storey Hall House in a moated enclosure in
the mid 13th century. In 1296 the property was taken over by Sir William
de Felton who added a palisade inside the moat and a gatehouse on the
north side. In about 1340 his son further improved the castle and added
the solar tower, a gate tower and stone curtain walls. The tower contained
three well-appointed rooms and was linked to the hall house by a small
forebuilding. After 1420 ownership passed to the Hastings family until
1519 and then to the Swinburnes. These two families did not need the defensive
capabilities of a castle, and until its final abandonment in 1650 the
property was used as a farm with several of the buildings converted to
4 miles SE of Rothbury is a perfect example of an early Gothic Priory.
Brinkburn dates back to 1135 when it was founded by Augustinian canons.
Brinkburn fell into ruin following the dissolution of the Monasteries
by Henry VIII after 1529. The Priory was fully restored in the 19th century.
The acoustics at Brinkburn are second to none!
Belsay Hall was built during the 19th century by Sir Charles Monck. The
Hall was built in the grounds of a 13th century castle, which later was
converted into a Manor house. The Manor House is now a picturesque ruin.
Belsay Hall was rescued by English Heritage and saved for the nation to
enjoy. The gardens, some of which are in the shelter of the old quarry,
grow many exotic and unusual plants and trees.
Berwick Castle is an important 12th century stone keep and courtyard
fortress, founded by King David I. Standing against the steep slope of
the River Tweed, its high curtain wall, flanked by nine towers, protected
a range of magnificent inner buildings. Few castles can have seen as much
military action and changed hands as frequently over the centuries that
England and Scotland were in conflict and the main surviving remnant is
the White Wall that descends from the railway to the banks of the River
The Berwick Barracks, among the first to be purpose-built, were begun
in 1717 based on a sketch by the distinguished court architect Nicolas
Hawksmoor. Today, the Barracks hosts a number of attractions, including
By Beat of Drum - an exhibition on the life of the British infantryman.
While there, make sure you visit the Regimental Museum of the King's Own
Scottish Borderers, Contemporary Art Gallery (Apr-Aug) and Clock Block
One of the original guard houses dating from 1682, it was moved from
Margate to its present location near the quay in 1815. A Neo-Georgian
military guard house, run by the local civic society, it has been developed
to show the history of Berwick walls and forts, with its permanent "The
Story of a Border Garrison Town" exhibition.
Ramparts are a huge complex of 16th century town fortifications, founded
by Queen Mary. Built inside the medieval town wall, which was then abandoned,
they gave defence against the development of artillery and are unique
in Britain. One and a half miles in length, the stone-faced ramparts are
strengthened by immense arrowhead-shape bastions, which flanked huge wet
ditches. The open ground of Magdalen Fields, is protected by the Bell
Tower and an earthwork traverse line, which ends with the Great Bulwark
Redoubt. Cowport is the only Elizabethan gateway remaining, its vaulted
tunnel through the rampart was defended by a portcullis and still has
a massive 18th century wooden gate. In the 17th century, the ramparts
were given an earthwork parapet and all the bastions except King's, were
heighten with earthwork cavaliers. Nearby is the Lord's Mount and Berwick
Norham was one of the strongest of the border castles. Built in the latter
half of the 12th century, it came under siege several times during its
400-year history as a military stronghold. Norham's massive walls proved
impenetrable during many of these attacks, but when James IV of Scotland
stormed it in 1513, it fell and was largely destroyed. The Great Tower
shows signs of four building phases spanning the 12th to 16th centuries.
Much of what can be seen today dates from the extensive repairs to the
castle and the re-roofing of the Great Tower that followed the siege of
In 1341, Robert Manners was granted a licence to fortify his home to
protect it against the threat of attack from Scottish raiders. In 1513,
when an army of 30,000 Scots led by James IV invaded England, Etal Castle
fell, but these invaders were then defeated in the bloody battle that
ensued on Flodden Hill. An award-winning exhibition tells the story of
the Battle of Flodden and of the border warfare that existed here before
the union of the English and Scottish crowns in 1603.
Lindisfarne Priory on Holy Island was the site of one of the most important
early centres of Christianity in Anglo-Saxon England. And it was not unfamiliar
with the odd miracle or two. Founded by St Aidan in ad635, the monastery
was transformed by the figure of Saint Cuthbert. An exceedingly holy man,
Cuthbert had withdrawn to be a hermit on the lonely Farne Islands, returning
to Lindisfarne to die. In ad698, 11 years after his death and burial here,
Cuthbert's corpse was exhumed and found to be miraculously undecayed.
The relics of this holy man survive to this day in Durham Cathedral.
English Heritage sites include:
A stone, two-storey fortified farmhouse, built during the 16th century
and set in splendid walking country on the Reivers Route. Within the strong
walls, farmers and reivers found security for their livestock on the ground
floor and for their family above. The original gable door has been blocked
and the two ground floor doors and the external stone steps to the living
quarters above, are later additions. Nearby are the ruins of a 18th century
cottage, which stands on the foundations of an other possible bastle house.
Aydon Castle is a late 13th century stone fortified manor house, one
of the finest of its era. Originally undefended when first built by Robert
de Reymes, it was sited with three sides standing against the steep banks
of the Cor Burn. Its construction coincided with a new period of conflict
with Scotland and improving the defences with the addition of battlements
didn't stop the Scots from sacking the property in 1315 and again in 1346.
However, it has remained relatively unchanged since this period.
On a wooded hillside overlooking the River Tyne stand the remains of
this formidable castle. Archaeological evidence reveals that a defended
enclosure existed on the site as early as the mid-11th century. Today,
inside the defensive ditches and walls, the Georgian manor house is a
dominating feature. The castle was successfully defended against many
Scottish attacks, resisting sieges in 1173 and 1175. This was famously
recorded by the contemporary chronicler, Jordan Fantosme. Additional attractions
at the castle include a small exhibition and video presentation, a beautiful
picnic spot and brass rubbing.