Big trumpet fanfare for the magnificent Alnwick Castle in Northumberland which opens its great doors once more on Friday 31 March to reveal a spellbinding new season and an all-new, action-packed themed programme of events for 2017!
April alone brings a riotous, fun-filled Fool’s Weekend on 1 and 2 April* with fire-eating, sword-juggling, comedy and trickery - along with a jam-packed Easter holiday programme of pure magic and mayhem with Harry Potter-inspired characters; wizards and alchemists; fantastic falconry displays; jesters; spooky cellar tours and hands-on mediaeval craft-making in the Knights Quest market place. Special St George’s Day activities including spectacular St George and the Dragon performances will take place on 22 and 23 April.
A brand-new visitor to Alnwick Castle this year starting on Monday 10 April will be a fearsome creature – a huge, fire-belching dragon. In Dragon’s Quest you will solve tricky riddles and face a series of challenges before you can safely cross the hall of mirrors to spy the darkness of the evil monster’s lair. Will you be quaking in your boots or will you stand your ground and face Northumberland’s most dangerous beast?
And that’s not all! Every day from April to the end of October, aspiring wizards of all ages can join Alnwick Castle’s famous professors to take part in broomstick training on the very spot where Harry Potter had his first lesson.**
Not for the faint-hearted are the dark and creepy Lost Cellar Performances, which also run at regular intervals throughout the day through the season. Discover the mysteries that lie deep beneath the castle’s walls. Restrictions apply and age limit is 13 upwards as this event is truly scary.**
If you’re more interested in the culture and history of Alnwick Castle and the Percy family who have lived here for 700 years, then it’s all here for you too. Take a tour of the State Rooms and see the splendid furniture and beautiful paintings by famous world renowned artists like Titian and Canaletto.
Or, join an Alnwick Castle “On Location” tour, where you will visit the scenes of film and TV locations, such as Downton Abbey, Harry Potter and the Hollow Crown and hear the off-camera filming anecdotes with an entertaining costumed guide.
All activities above are included in your one-off admission price.
Get into the medieval spirit and try your hand at one of England’s oldest skills! “Have a go Archery” takes place at regular intervals throughout the day and is available for a small charge of £3.50 for 8 arrows). This activity is weather dependent and for nine years and upwards.**
Later in the season look out for more themed weekends including Prepare for Battle on 29, 30 and 1 May which will involve longbow demonstrations, metal workshops and armour-making. Great War Week from 24 – 28 July will commemorate the First World War with engaging exhibitions and hands-on activities. Wizard Week on 28 August to 2 September will present Harry Potter characters and magical beasts and a special Border Reivers Weekend on 14 and 15 October will explore the lives and times of the fearsome Reivers.
Alnwick Castle’s Activities Manager, James Boyd says “Alnwick Castle is certainly going to be the place to visit in Northumberland this year, whether you’re local to the area or a visitor. We’re all so excited about our fantastic, new activities planned for all ages and interests. If you can’t fit everything into one day, we have a “Pay for a day and visit free for a year” offer which is always extremely popular with people who live nearby or with visitors staying in the area who wish to come along again. Our 2017 season at Alnwick Castle is all set to be a wonderful, unforgettable experience for everyone who visits. Don’t delay!”
You will find the Courtyard Café, the Stable Fryery and Courtyard Barbeque available for delicious meals and refreshments and there are two well-stocked gift shops.
*Residents of Northumberland get 50% off via Active Northumberland on 1 and 2 April 2017 http://www.northeastfamilyfun.co.uk/2017/03/northumberland-residents-festival-April-2017.html
** These events take place at regular times throughout the day and are included in admission ticket but must be booked in advance so early arrival is recommended.