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A Holiday in Ruins!

Did you know that the beautiful county of Northumberland boasts more castles than any other county in England?

There are over 70 castle sites, which are a legacy of Northumberland’s turbulent past, including the infamous Border wars which raged from the 14th to the 16th centuries.

Many have long since disappeared. Some – like Dunstanburgh Castle and Berwick Castle – remain as romantic ruins. But you can see others in their fully restored glory – such as Bamburgh Castle, as seen on Robson Green’s ‘Tales from Northumberland’.

Towering 150 feet above the sea, Bamburgh Castle looks every inch the mighty citadel it once was. The very foundation stone of England, Bamburgh was a royal city during the 8th Century, and the castle was the royal seat of the Kings of Northumbria. In 1464, Bamburgh became the first castle to fall to gunpowder during the War of the Roses. Fallen masonry from this onslaught can still be seen on the village green beneath. Falling into disrepair afterwards, Bamburgh was later bought and restored by the innovative Victorian inventor Lord William Armstrong into the mighty castle you see today.

Head inland to Alnwick Castle, which is the second largest inhabited castle in England after Windsor castle. Home to the Duke of Northumberland, Alnwick has been the Percy family home since the Norman invasion over 700 years ago. Alnwick boasts two Harrys – the first being the impetuous knight Henry ‘Harry’ Percy, born there in 1364 and nicknamed Harry ‘Hotspur’ because of his readiness to do battle. And the other, of course, is Harry Potter, a scholar at Alnwick, which doubled as Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films.

If you’re planning a family fun day out, look no further than Warkworth Castle with its magnificent cross-shaped keep crowning a hilltop above the River Coquet. The castle is hosting a performance of Pride and Prejudice on Thursday 24th August. Billed as ‘the most splendid evening of the summer’, Jane Austen’s timeless classic is brought to life by award-winning writer Laura Turner and the Chapterhouse Theatre Company.

Or for chilly tales of torture chambers and ghosts, go to Chillingham Castle, reputedly one of the most haunted castles in England. You can go on a ghost tour to explore the haunted areas of the castle and its grounds, and dine in the candle-lit setting of the Minstrels’ Hall in front of a roaring log fire. The many ghostly apparitions are said to include the Blue Boy, poor wandering Lady Mary and a royal procession.

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