Please note: I visited Alnwick Castle in partnership with Rabbie’s Tours but this post was not part of that collaboration! I just had such a great time and wanted to tell you all about it.
Alnwick Castle is a dream day out for fans of Harry Potter. As a girl who would always rather be at Hogwarts, I have been desperate to visit for such a long time. I went to Alnwick and my favourite bookshop, Barter Books, back in October but the castle was closed for the winter. Undeterred, I made plans to return. And boy am I glad I did.
Flying Lessons at Alnwick Castle
Eagle-eyed Harry Potter fans might recognise Alnwick Castle from the first Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Harry’s first flying lesson with Madam Hooch was filmed on location in the gardens at Alnwick. It’s also where Oliver Wood teaches Harry the rules to Quidditch!
Just walking around soaking up the sheer magic of Alnwick Castle was enough to make this Harry Potter fan happy. But the magic doesn’t stop there! If your flying skills are feeling a little rusty, you can grab a broomstick and join one of the flying lessons that occur regularly in the castle grounds.
For us wizarding folk, flying a broomstick is as easy as anything. But for any Muggles reading this who want to capture a photo that looks like you’re flying, simply follow the steps below:
- Set your camera to burst mode (or continuous shooting)
- Mount your broom and jump as high as you can, tucking your legs up underneath you
- Repeat until you’ve got the perfect shot
We also had great fun with a rewind app. To recreate, simply drop the broom then say “Up!”. Load the footage into any app that has a rewind feature and watch on amazed as your magical abilities come to life!
Alnwick Castle’s Harry Potter Filming Locations
The fun doesn’t stop in the gardens, mind. The castle itself was also used as a filming location in both the first and second Harry Potter films. The courtyards and baileys were used to film Hogwarts students and teachers going about their day. While the Lion Arch (the main entryway to Alnwick Castle) was filmed as a way in and out of Hogwarts heading towards the Forbidden Forest and Hagrid’s hut! Plus, in The Chamber of Secrets, Harry and Ron actually crash Mr Weasley’s flying car in the Inner Bailey!
Photography isn’t allowed inside the castle itself, unfortunately, but the State Rooms are well worth a visit. One room is lavishly decorated in scarlet and gold, while another is lined with green velvet wallpaper. The Gryffindor/Slytherin common room vibes were off the scale. Oh, and fellow HP fans, don’t miss the gift shop!
Even if you’re not a Harry Potter fan, Alnwick Castle still has so much to offer. The sense of history in the castle is incredible and the staff work so hard to bring that history to life. While we were there, they put on guided tours, archery, civil war reenactments and even fired a cannon!
The Alnwick Garden
There was so much to see inside the castle that we almost ran out of time for the gardens. But I’m so glad we made time for them! When entering the castle you have the offer of three main ticket options: the Alnwick Garden, Alnwick Castle or a combined ticket. If you have time, try and do both! I would’ve been so disappointed if we’d missed out on the beautiful grounds.
I genuinely couldn’t recommend a visit to Alnwick Castle enough. Whether you’re a Harry Potter fan or not, there is so much to see, do and enjoy. Having longed to visit for so long, I can honestly say it met every expectation I had. And it was great to brush up on my broomstick skills…!