Bamburgh Castle

327 Reviews

Star Travel Rating


Review type

Things to do


Date of travel

April, 2017

Product name

Product country

Product city

Travelled with

Adult family

Reasons for trip

We didn’t intend going to Bamburgh Castle that day. We drove down the coast, past the imposing structure, on our way to Seahouses where we planned to catch a boat out to the Farne Islands. However, it was so windy the boats were not sailing. The helpful lady at Billy Shiels tours told us to call in the morning to find out if they’re sailing before driving out again. We never did get out to the Farne Islands but we were not disappointed as there is so much to do in Northumberland. After a walk around Seahouses and the harbour, we headed back north up the coast to the castle and are we glad we did.

Bamburgh is called The King of Castles and it is easy to see why. It is very impressive as it sits right on the coast in Northumberland. We parked in the free parking lot at the foot of the castle and walked up to the entrance. If you do not want to walk up the hill, you can drive up to the higher parking lot which costs £2 for the day. As you enter the castle, there are storyboards along the walls providing the history of the castle and the families that owned it. The recorded story of the castle begins in 547 and follows through to present time as the castle changes hands from one king to another and then to private citizens. By 993 the castle is left in ruins for 100 years after a Viking invasion. In 1164 the Great Tower was built and in 1221 the Great Hall. In 1610 the castle was gifted into private ownership after a long and royal history. In 1700 Lord Nathaniel Crewe bought the castle for £20,000. Upon his death in 1721 the castle was turned over to trustees to manage. However in 1894, Lord Armstrong bought the castle for £60,000 and it was back in private family hands. The castle passed to his great nephew on his death in 1900 and was opened to the public for the first time in 1931. There are pictures of the current Armstrong family in the castle though none of them live there. However, there are private apartments at the castle and some holiday lets.

In all, we spent about five hours at the castle. There was an art exhibit in the stables – Experience Peter Phillips’ “An Artist’s View” of Breathtaking Northumbria, and we all bought prints – it is lovely work. It was difficult to choose because they were all so good. The ones on exhibit here were of the castle and area and wildlife. The artist, however, has work from various places around England. My aunt also bought his book “Alnwick Parks Sketchbook.” In addition to the landscapes there are smaller whimsical prints and humorous prints. The exhibit is on until October 2017. If you go, end your visit here so you don’t have to carry your purchases around the castle.

By the time we finished looking at the exhibit and making our purchases it was time for some lunch. There is a delightful café in the castle with wonderful food – The Clock Tower Tearooms – in the old castle library. Unfortunately there isn’t much room for seating. For this reason, they ask that you secure a seat before you order your meal. We ended up asking two young men who were sat in the middle of a table for six to move down and make room for us so we could order. You can also take your food to go and eat out on the grounds. However, it was a bit chilly and breezy in late April. We had sweet potato and red pepper soup with buns and shared a crab sandwich while the man in the group had a tuna sandwich with crisps and salad. We further fortified ourselves with coffees and ginger loaf/coffee cake before heading into the castle for the audio tour.

The castle rooms were very interesting and the views over the coast and countryside are stunning. You can get an audio guide or a written map but there are also boards in each room identifying the room’s use and notes on artifacts and paintings in each room. The Great Hall is particularly striking. I was drawn to a painting of Cilgerran Castle in Pembrokeshire that is attributed to Turner. The teak ceiling in the King’s Hall is also impressive: 300 tons of Siamese teak. There are staff in the rooms who are very helpful if you have any questions.

When we left the castle rooms we sampled some Alnwick gin mixed with grapefruit juice. It was very nice. The gift shop has a number of interesting items and it is also near the Armstrong and Aviation Artefacts Museum. The museum tells the story of Lord Armstrong and his engineering ventures and the history of aviation in WWI and WWII.

Once we got outside we found the old Northumbria Royal Throne and took turns sitting on it for a photo. We also watched some people try their hand at old games – running with a hoop and keeping it moving with a stick. It’s harder to do than it seems.

“Peter Phillips’ website”: “Bamburgh Castle”:

Denise Bridge

Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.