The magnificent cross-shaped keep of Warkworth, crowning a hilltop rising steeply above the River Coquet, dominates one of the largest, strongest and most impressive fortresses in Northumberland.
The castle's most famous owners were the Percy family, whose lion badge can be seen carved on many parts of their stronghold. Wielding almost kingly power in the north, their influence reached its apogee under the first Earl of Northumberland and his son 'Harry Hotspur', hero of many Border ballads as the bane of Scots raiders and a dominant character in Shakespeare's 'Henry IV'.
Having helped to depose Richard II, these turbulent 'kingmakers' both fell victim to Henry IV: the next three Percy Earls likewise died violent deaths. Still roofed and almost complete, the uniquely-planned keep dates mainly from the end of the 14th century.
It presides over the extensive remains of a great hall, chapel, fine gatehouse and a virtually intact circuit of towered walls.
Half a mile from the castle, tucked away by the Coquet and accessibly only by boat, stands a much more peaceful building: the late medieval cave Hermitage and chapel of a solitary holy man.
|Warkworth Castle is a venue for ...|
|Warkworth Castle, Warkworth(Group Attraction)|
|Warkworth Castle is part of English Heritage and so are...|
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|Type||Entry for||Guide price|
(Child (5-15 years))
(Family (2 adults, 3 children))
(English Heritage Member)
Car parking available
Credit / debit cards accepted
Gift shop on site
Fantastic experience with a wonderful commentary
HAC1963, Barnsley, United Kingdom
We were staying in Warkworth so wandered up to the castle today. The staff were very helpful and knowledgeable and we took the audio tour. It was excellent - if you’re interested in the slightest in the history of a place, it was made interesting, informative and entertaining. You may not like school trips but the young people being educated whilst we were there, were having a great time, asking questions and having so much free access to old rooms, stone stairs and great explanation was a joy! I was a truly wonderful experience - thank you English Heritage.
Debbie S, Worcester, United Kingdom
Really enjoyed our visit to the castle. Such a fabulous place to explore and a lot to see. Can't believe some people saw it in half an hour! I think we explored every nook and cranny and were there for a couple of hours. Would love to go back in time! Someone also mentioned it being unsafe.....It is a ruin! Some of the areas are not suitable if you are not very stable on your feet so these are best avoided. It would be a real shame to cover the place in handrails and level the steps and floors....It would ruin the whole experience! Just take care on areas that have no rails etc or avoid them! I think English Heritage have done a great job here, although perhaps a few more information boards would be useful.
An historical experience of some magnitude
Penny G, London, England, United Kingdom
The castle is very easily accessible by either public or private transport and has made a medieval ruin as wheelchair accessible as is possible. The English Heritage guides were helpful and friendly and the toilets werer perfectly acceptable.A visit to the Hermitage is possible on certain days as there is a need to be rowed across the river, so rthe visitor has to check that, but a short walk takes one into a very quaint and welcoming Northumbrian town. A very good day out.
Worth the Walk
Val_from_Cumbria, Cumbria, United Kingdom
The castle must have been HUGE in its heyday. You can still go into the cruciform old castle and see the different rooms that the lords and ladies lived in with their servants. There are magnificent views of the surrounding countryside and of the sea from some of the unglazed windows. The household's medieval church, which divided the inner ward from the outer ward, is no more, but there are remains of the retinue's quarters with its chapel, dining room and kitchen mapped out in stone foundations. I really enjoyed my visit. There is an audio guide which I personally didn't find helpful - there were little dramatisations - a lone horseman approaching the castle to the sound of clacking coconuts... But others may well find this sort of scene-setting helpful. I preferred the signage that explains the ruins and it would be nice to have more of these. There are toilets on site, but no cafe. However, there is a choice of cafes and inns a short walk down the main street of Warkworth and they are well worth a try. So is the walk by the river, which can be reached from the castle grounds. Well worth the walk!
Our first visit and glad we went but not too much to see. Staff very friendly but not a lot of signs explaining what things were. Half an hour and we had seen everything. Hermitage was not open so cannot comment on this.