Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Alnwick Castle - or should that be Brancaster?

A couple of months ago I had a few days in Northumberland with my husband to celebrate our wedding anniversary. On one of the days we visited the spectacular Alnwick Castle which had been on my places to visit list for a long time. It was worth the wait.

Alnwick has been the home of the Percy family for the past 700 years! There is so much to see and do on top of just wandering around the castle grounds and enjoying the scenery. There is a museum about the history of the castle, an exhibition on the role of the people from the castle in the First World War and the Northumberland Fusiliers museum. The castle was used as a set for some of the scenes in the Harry Potter films and there is a dragon quest and broomstick flying lessons for children.

The Duke and Duchess of Northumberland still live here, using the State Rooms which are open to the public when they are not using them. The State Rooms are located in the building in the above two photos. Sadly, photography is not allowed in the rooms which is a shame as they are sumptuous. I did find this one of the dining room on the castle website. Imagine eating a meal in there!

State Rooms
As you may know, Alnwick was used as a location for the Downton Abbey Christmas special, and many of the State Rooms were featured as the interiors of Brancaster Castle. I love Downton and it was extra special to see it set somewhere that I had visited. It was filmed there for two weeks over the summer.

Christmas Downton Abbey
The programme was set in autumn 1924 and the family were invited to go grouse shooting at Brancaster Castle (Alnwick), an estate that Lord Sinderby (Rose's father in law) had rented. The interior scenes at Brancaster were filmed in the State Rooms of Alnwick and the grouse shooting scenes were filmed on the castle estate. I won't talk about the plot as I don't want to spoil it for anyone but you really must watch it!

Visitors to the castle in 2015 will be Downton Abbey exhibition which will feature props, photography and costumes from the programme. Costumes?! I might have to go! It may put me on until a new series starts!

You can find more Downton Abbey pictures on my Pinterest board.

Happy New Year everyone.