Last spring I visited Alnwick Gardens and Castle for a story I was doing on north east English castles and gardens for an American magazine, and I think it's time to do a show and tell! With spring arriving again (sort of - it came early all gorgeous, sunny and warm, and now I've had to pull my winter scarves back out) I can't wait to get out there and explore more of the stunning Northumberland countryside. In the meantime, I use my photos to imagine I'm there.
So let's start on a little tour of the grounds at Alnwick - this is more greenery than flowers but next week we'll walk through the gorgeous gardens - beginning with the Treehouse Restaurant which is what greets you as you enter the estate. I love that this magnificent forest abode actually serves fantastic local fare - pretty tourist trap it is not. I was there on this day with my lovely friend Luisa and we hadn't made reservations before our outing and couldn't get a table (though they did try), but luckily I'd eaten there twice before. Then again, I knew what I was missing!
This is the view as you walk away from the Treehouse without lunch in your tummy (it's the same if you do have lunch in your tummy):
This is inside the part of the castle where the Duke of Northumberland lives with his family. Yes, they do live there sometimes and you can see many of the rooms during visiting hours in the summer. There are family photos everywhere in the one sitting room, you kind of feel like you shouldn't be there looking at everything because it does actually appear lived in, rather than a museum-type moment frozen in time. I took a sneaky pic of the China Gallery, I couldn't resist how gorgeous it looked with the jewel tones, carved mahogany, candelabra chandeliers and the reflection of the glass.
Alnwick Castle is the second largest inhabited castle in England, after Windsor Castle. It's 1000 years old if you count back to its original structure. The history of it all is quite interesting, you can read about it here
If you drive outside of the estate and around through Alnwick, you can see the sprawling view of the castle; however I'm not showing you the full sprawl because part of it was being renovated and scaffolding is not charming! (Invariably, whenever I visit an architectural site something is being renovated, it's so frustrating!)
Behind me was a pretty pond:
Photos © The Swelle Life