Alnwick

Despite Alnwick's recent increase in popularity, it has maintained all of its original character and charm. It is dominated by the magnificent Alnwick Castle, home to the Percy family for seven centuries and also the inspired Alnwick Garden. Alnwick originally prospered as a medieval market town, it still has many cobbled streets, narrow alleys and fine stone buildings which now house a range of specialist shops, family businesses and some of the original coaching inns.

At the centre of the town is the marketplace, which was once a cattle market and the main industry of the town. The surrounding area and cobbled streets all have charismatic period buildings. The marketplace still hosts a lively market and also many events throughout the year including the famous Alnwick Fair. 


The Fair is held annually and is a costumed re-enactment of a mediaeval fair in which the people of Alnwick dress up in period costumes. The Fair offers lots of entertainment and is a great time to visit the area. Alnwick also hosts a range of other events including an international music festival, and a Mediaeval Tournament – a jousting spectacular on the pastures overlooked by the castle - a sight to behold! A Shrove Tuesday football match is played beneath the shadow of Alnwick Castle between the parishes of St. Paul's and St. Michael's. The ball is thrown from the castle walls and the game is won by whichever team is first to score 3 'hales' or goals.

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There are a large number of memorials all around Alnwick dedicated to the numerous bloody battles between the Percy family and the Scots. On a hill facing the castle on the north bank sits a large stone cross which commemorates the killing of King Malcolm III of Scotland whilst invading on the outskirts of the town. 

Inside The White Swan Hotel the lounge has fittings from the RMS Olympic which was identical to the RMS Titanic and the RMS Gigantic. Both were destroyed after the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 because of fears that they would meet the same fate. 


Alnwick also has one of the largest second hand book shops in the UK - Barter Books, which is housed in the town's old railway station. Described as the 'British Library of Second Hand Books', the building itself is incredibly ornate, which is due to the station's frequent use by royals visiting the Percys at Alnwick Castle. Barter Books is a unique place and well worth a visit, even just to browse, to admire the architecture or have a tea or coffee by the roaring fire.

There are also many restaurants, cafes, bistros and shops to explore. Alnwick also enjoys a vibrant night life with it's theatre and cinema and many trendy bars and live music.

For a complete guide to Alnwick, including attractions, eating out and amenities visit the Alnwick Guide, part of Your Northumberland Guide.
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