Castles in North England
The North of England is home to a number of beautiful castles including Muncaster and Alnwick. Stay at one of our nearby club sites and immerse yourself in the rich culture and history.
Alnwick Castle is the castle and stately home of the Duke of Northumberland. First built in 1096 to guard the River Aln, Henry Percy rebuilt the castle into a major fortress along the Anglo-Scottish border. After Windsor Castle, it is the second largest inhabited castle in England. The castle is made up of two main rings of buildings. The main rooms are in the inner ring, which surrounds a small courtyard.
The outer ring forms a bailey around the central block. Alnwick Castle has featured in numerous movies including: Robin Hood Prince of Thieves (1991), Elizabeth (1998), and featured as Hogwarts in several Harry Potter films. The State Rooms contain an array of art and furniture collected over the years by the Percy family, featuring work by Canaletto, Titian, and Van Dyck. Alnwick Castle is also home to the world’s only surviving pair of Cucci cabinets from the Palace of Versailles, originally created for Louis XIV.
Barnard Castle, set on a high rock above the River Tees, was built during the latter half of the 12th century and takes its name from its founder Bernard de Balliol. The castle passed into the hands of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick (also known as “The Kingmaker”). In 1477 during the Wars of the Roses, Richard, Duke of Gloucester (later Richard III), took possession of the castle, which became one of his favourite residences.
The castle endured two sieges in the 16th and 17th centuries. The first was of some significance in English history, Sir George Bowes of Streatlam holding out for 11 days against the supporters of Mary Queen of Scots during the Rising of the North. The second during the Civil War, when the Royalist garrison in the castle surrendered after it was pounded by Parliamentary artillery.
Bamburgh Castle is set upon a rocky outcrop on the coast, and was built by the Normans whilst Henry II probably built the keep. As an important English outpost, the castle was the target of occasional raids from Scotland. In 1464, during the Wars of the Roses, it became the first castle in England to be defeated by artillery, at the end of a nine-month siege by Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick (Warwick the Kingmaker).
The castle deteriorated, but was restored by various owners during the 18th and 19th centuries. It was finally bought by the Victorian industrialist William Armstrong, who completed the restoration.
Once one of the largest and grandest fortifications in Northern England, Dunstanburgh Castle is now an iconic castle ruin on a headland. The castle dominates one of the most beautiful stretches of Northumberland coastline.
In 1313, Earl Thomas of Lancaster, cousin of Edward II of England, began construction of a massive fortress. John of Gaunt improved the castle in the late 14th century as the Duke of Lancaster. In the Wars of the Roses, the castle was held for the Lancastrians in 1462 and 1464. The damage done was not made good and the castle fell steadily into decay.
The Pennington family has resided in Muncaster Castle since 1208, probably only due to the magical ‘Luck of Muncaster’, a glass drinking bowl belonging to Henry VI who stayed at the castle following his defeat at the battle of Hexham in 1464. The original castle was built upon Roman foundations.
In the 14th century, a pele tower, a watch-tower fortification unique to the English-Scottish border region was added. The castle was remodelled and enlarged in the 19th century by English architect Anthony Salvin, who also worked on Windsor Castle, Warwick Castle and the Tower of London.