Europe, Travel

A trip to Hogwarts (Alnwick Castle)

We had to cut our trip to Scotland short due to inclement weather but the strong winds, rain and hail weren’t going to stop me from visiting Hogwarts, or Alnwick Castle as it is known in the Muggle world.

Located in Alnwick (pronounced annick) in Northumberland, this castle was one of the filming locations in the first two Harry Potter films.

I could barely contain my excitement when I walked in and saw the Outer Bailey, where Harry and his fellow students learned to fly broomsticks with Madam Hooch. He also learned the rules of Quidditch with Oliver Wood in this area.

The courtyards and baileys of Alnwick Castle were also used in the film as Hogwarts students and staff walked in between classes.

Alnwick Castle even offers Broomstick Training sessions at various times throughout the day. These sessions are free with your entry ticket but you need to book a time slot when you arrive. I didn’t take part as I thought it was probably aimed at younger kids and it might have been the last straw for my boyfriend who does not share my enthusiasm for all things Harry Potter.

Instead we went to see the incredibly lavish State Rooms. Unfortunately you are not allowed to take photos in the State Rooms but if you want to get an idea for what they look like you could watch the two Downton Abbey Christmas specials. Alnwick Castle was used as the location for Brancaster Castle in the show and the State Rooms were used extensively in filming.

After the State Rooms we wandered around the Inner Bailey and Gun Terrace, occasionally having to retreat for cover when the heavens opened up again.

We also stopped off at Bailiffgate Museum which was just around the corner from Alnwick Castle. They had an ‘Illustrating Harry Potter’ exhibition on which showcased a collection of drawings by Jim Kay, the illustrator of the Harry Potter Illustrated Editions. We weren’t allowed to take photos of the illustrations on show but there were other Harry Potter props you could play around and have fun with.

Visitor information

  • Alnwick Castle is open daily between March and October. Check the Alnwick Castle website for full opening times.
  • Adult admission to the castle is £15.50 if purchased at the gate, or £13.95 if purchased in advance online. Historic Houses Association members can visit for free.
  • You can also buy a combined ticket to the castle and The Alnwick Garden for £26.10 at the gate, or £23.55 online. HHA membership does not include admission to the The Alnwick Garden.
  • Your Alnwick Castle ticket can be validated to give 12 months’ free entry to the castle.
  • Admission to the Bailiffgate Museum was £4 but unfortunately the ‘Illustrating Harry Potter’ exhibition has now finished.

Have you visited Alnwick Castle? What is your favourite Harry Potter film location?

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