Weekend firing spectacular for Alnwick Castle

All guns ablaze in historical military firing displays all weekend!

As well as all the usual high jinks, fun and games – history is well and truly brought to life at the Castle this weekend, with thrilling displays of spectacular military grade firing demonstrations and drill re-enactments.

The action will take place from Saturday 4th May until Monday 6th May inclusive and has been inspired by the British Army’s renowned 68th Durham Light Infantry regiment.

The Durham Light Infantry, which began as the “68th Regiment of Foot”, was founded in 1758 and fought in battles that include the Seven Year's War, Crimean War and New Zealand. The 68th Regiment of Foot became the 1st Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry in 1881 and then served in the Second Boer War, WWI and WWII.

This superb re-enactment troupe visiting Alnwick Castle and performing, attains the highest levels of historical accuracy and interpretation through quality research and use of replicas.

Between each firing performance visitors to the Castle can observe the regiment’s costumed infantry and their numerous weapons, all within their ‘living history’ encampment. You can view the unusual uniform adopted by this regiment, from a cylindrical head-dress to the vividly coloured redcoat. You will hear astonishing tales of heroism and valour, as well as learning the historical context which led to the formation of the Durham Light Infantry and the expeditions and wars they were involved in across the world.

And that’s not nearly all the military action happening at Alnwick Castle this weekend. You can also witness history in action with Northumberland’s finest volunteer artillery regiment – the Percy Tenantry Volunteers (PTV).

The Duke of Northumberland’s very own artillery unit, the PTV, was established in 1798 by Hugh Percy, the 2nd Duke of Northumberland. Threat of a French invasion through Northumberland’s ports necessitated the creation of a large defence force. The PTV consisted of cavalry, infantry and artillery volunteers from the civilian population. As the threat subsided, the group disbanded, but the artillery component continued to operate through private funds provided by the Duke.

The PTV was a unique Northumberland fighting force and consisted of around 1500 men, including 17 companies of riflemen, six troops of cavalry and two artillery batteries. The troops were based throughout the county from Wooler to Prudhoe and were all tenants in some form or other of the Duke.

Visitors to Alnwick Castle will be able to view and handle (with care!) the serious weaponry used by the PTV including the musket and the explosive battery gun and learn more about the men involved. There will be enlightening talks on how weapons and ammunition were transported and used in the day and you and you will be able to view the PTV’s uniform and learn about the PTV’s important role in local defence.

All these superb firing displays and drill re-enactments are free with admission to Alnwick Castle. Visitors are asked to check the ‘What’s On’ board upon arrival for show timings and locations.

Keen on yet more history? Alnwick Castle has been the family home of the famous Percy family for over 700 years. You can join fascinating historical tours given by knowledgeable and engaging guides, tours of the magnificent State Rooms and four additional on-site museums and exhibitions. You can discover fascinating stories of the bravery of soldiers from the Northumberland Fusiliers; explore Constable’s Tower, see an ever growing collection of archaeological finds in the Antiquities Museum and delve into the history of the famous Percy family.

As well as the amazing history, small visitors can enjoy all Alnwick Castle’s fabulous fun in Artistans Courtyard. All ages can join the resident Wizard Professors for Alnwick Castle’s ever-popular broomstick training, and drama buffs will enjoy wonderful location tours where you’ll learn a few behind-the-scenes secrets of the famous films and TV series that have been made here – including Harry Potter of course.

And as ever, lurking in the deepest dungeons of Alnwick Castle, is the most ferocious beast of all Northumberland. Will you stand your ground when you finally stand face-to-face with this most fearsome of creatures? Try to be brave, enter the Dragon Quest and find out!

All activities at Alnwick Castle – historical talks and re-enactments, film location tours, broomstick training, Dragon Quest, guided historical tours, fabulous art and furniture, craft-making – the list is endless - are free with admission. For more information go to www.alnwickcastle.com or call 01665 511 100