As you may know if you’ve read some of my other recent posts, I have been up in Newcastle! Whilst there (taking advantage of some relatives for free food and beds) we took some day trips to areas around Northumberland including (can you guess?) quite a number of castles.
Now I’m sure that most people would call ruined castles ‘ruined’ or decrepit or somesuch, but as an English student I quite fancied a bit of alliteration so there you go. We visited three castles whilst we were in Northumberland.
NUMBER ONE – Bamburgh (big castle)
This castle is the setting for some scenes in the new Transformers movie, to be honest though that wasn’t particularly exciting news for me (but for some it would be so there it is). It was right on the coastline and I could just imagine curling up in an alcove with a good book. There was a magnificent hall with a beautifully carved roof and sprung flooring for all the dancing. It was a rabbit warren of rooms, some were laid out as they would have been used (one with a particularly nice grand piano that I spotted) and others were more museum like. It’s privately owned and some of the Armstrong family, who also own Cragside and are featured in Edexcel’s British History of Warfare A Level course (who said it wouldn’t be useful?) still live there. What I thought was entertaining was that to get the title ‘Baron Armstrong’ you had to have the surname Armstrong which meant that one unfortunate man named William Henry Armstrong Fitzpatrick Watson, had to change his surname to Armstrong-Watson. What a mouthful! I’d hate to be him filling out any forms!
NUMBER TWO – Dunstanburgh (ruined castle)
We drove to Craster (were we have previously been to their annual summer fair) and walked along in the wind towards Dunstanburgh castle. It was a nice walk, lots of cows and sheep (and poo so watch out) and due to the wind the sea was foaming. It felt very Jane Eyre! We walked all the way there and all the way back (not too long a walk really) and stopped only for a photo by the castle. As we are not English Heritage members we couldn’t go in but it was nice all the same.
NUMBER THREE – Lindisfarne Castle (out of action castle)
This castle is also ruined and has recently been taken over by the National Trust. They have immediately started doing repairs and protecting it so you can’t currently properly see it. As it was though we went to the beach and had a look at St Cuthbert’s Hermitage, then we clambered over some rocks and had a picnic whilst watching the seals bobbing their heads out of the water.
Do you have any favourite castles that you like to visit (not necessarily in the north of England)? If you do, let us know in the comments below!!
Have a wonderful week,