Escape The Everyday With An Alnwick Castle Harry Potter Tour

Alnwick Castle in Northumberland was one of the filming locations for the first two Harry Potter films, and as part of their Escape the Everyday campaign this summer, Newcastle Gateshead Initiative and Visit England have teamed up to showcase some of the best days out and experiences to be had across the region. When it comes to escaping the everyday, you can’t enter a world as fantastical, or as far from reality as the world of Harry Potter. So one of the excursions on offer is an award winning Alnwick Castle Harry Potter and Alnwick Town tour, with Lundgren tours. I experienced it for myself at the start of June.

Alnwick Castle Harry Potter TourPIN IT

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post in collaboration with NGI, Visit England and Lundgren Tours.

When I was approached to work with them, they didn’t know it at the time, but I recently stayed in Alnwick at Hallow & Crux, the Harry Potter themed hotel, so this tour was the perfect follow on from that experience. I’d never been inside Alnwick Castle before, so combining the two was ideal.

Lundgren Tours

Lundgren Tours is a family run tour company that provides day trips, guided tours, and even three day trips across the North East and Scotland. The tours start from Newcastle, and are run by Rob the founder of the company, who gets his whole family involved to help with the running of the trips. 

The aim is to provide more than just an informational tour, they want to deliver an experience at the same time. They try to really showcase the region and share their local knowledge with the people taking part. 

Although the trips include transport, a coach with numerous pick up points across the centre of Newcastle, I actually made my own way up to Alnwick and met the group up there by the entrance to Alnwick Castle. 

Alnwick Castle Harry Potter Tour

The Harry Potter tour by Lundgren Tours has won them awards, with ‘Rob Weasley’ taking you around the castle in full costume, bringing the scenes, stories and characters to life. He honestly had to be seen to be believed, he was great – so enthusiastic and filled with knowledge he was just dying to share.

The initial part of the tour wasn’t focused on Harry Potter at all, it was more focused on the Barbican entrance to Alnwick Castle, and he gave a detailed insight into its features, history and heritage. Of course, there is a reason the film producers chose Alnwick Castle, and it’s due to the lions carved all over the place. Ideal for Gryffindor house and tower.

From here we went into the castle itself, or Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry if you prefer. Throughout the whole tour, Rob mixed real life history with the filming locations and scenes we see in the films. As it is still an inhabited castle, the home of the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland, he also threw in plenty about that too.

The morning of the tour was largely outside in the grounds, where Harry famously learned to fly and became the Seeker for the Quidditch team, and where Hagrid is seen carrying a giant Christmas tree from the castle down to his hut in the grounds to name just a couple. 

We also learned of the castle set up, and its defences being so close to the coast and the Scottish border. The views across Northumberland over towards Warkworth were spectacular. 

Food At Alnwick Castle

There are a number of food options to get during the lunch hour, including fish and chips in the Stables Friary, the Artisan Courtyard that serves sandwiches and snacks, and two food trucks in the main courtyard. There are lots of tables and chairs so even on a bank holiday Sunday there was plenty of seating for every visitor. I really enjoyed my chicken gyros from the Greek van.

There are toilets just off the courtyard, lots of bins about to keep the place clean, anda gift shop which was a Harry Potter fan’s dream. I’m not really a memorabilia type of person, but even I thought it was pretty impressive. I loved the toy Dobby’s, and the wands, swords and books were scarily lifelike, but the best bit is undoubtedly the sweet section.

There were chocolate frogs, Bertie Bott’s every flavour beans, and even Butterbeer available to buy, all of which you might remember from their first train ride on the Hogwarts Express. I had to buy some.

During the lunch break I also went up for a look at the Artisan Courtyard, which was like a medieval town square. You could play games, try on some of the costumes, and even join the queue for Dragon Quest. I’m not sure what that was, but kids and families seemed to love it. You could also sign up for archery in the grounds, and broomstick flying lessons.

Alnwick Castle Harry Potter Broomstick Flying Lesson

The broomstick flying lesson is included as part of the tour, and it involves a half an hour session with some of the ‘witches and wizards’ in full character. They were great – and I can see why kids and families would love it. It would be brilliant at Halloween.

Alnwick Castle State Rooms

The final part of the tour of Alnwick Castle was inside the state rooms that are open to the public. Although the Duke & Duchess of Northumberland don’t live here during the summer months, it is still their family home and so photography isn’t allowed. You might recognise the inside though if you’re a Downton fan. The castle was used as a filming location during one of the Christmas specials. 

The state room tour isn’t guided as such, you are left to enjoy it yourself, but Rob is more than happy to share his knowledge on it regardless if you want him to, and so are the castle staff who could answer any question asked of them. 

We saw the drawing room, the library which was similar to that of Belle’s in Beauty and the Beast, the dining room and the general living areas. 

Alnwick Town Tour

Once you’ve seen the inside of Alnwick Castle, the group move on to the town itself, where Rob again shares his knowledge on the area, and points out Hallow & Crux as you pass. It’s the hotel above Dirty Bottles which is a great pub and restaurant to visit for good food and cocktails.

Once in Alnwick market square, the tour includes a visit to Taste of Northumberland, a local spirit and beer shop on the corner. They sell all the local spirits – gin, rum, vodka, as well as local beers, ciders and ales. If you’re not driving you can take full advantage of the tasting session to see if you like any. 

You have some time to explore the town, visiting the shops, browsing the market if it’s on, and having a drink at one of the bars that have outside seating in the centre. I’d recommend the Pig in Muck, that’s where I sat for a while, or get an ice cream from Alnwick Ice Cream Parlour.

To round off the tour, you will walk through the entrance to Alnwick Garden, get a glimpse of the fountains before heading up to Alnwick Treehouse, where you can have a look inside. Lastly you go on to Barter Books, one of the biggest second hand bookshops in Europe. It has a cafe inside and is dog friendly, and is one of the most interesting places to look around.

If you were getting the coach back to Newcastle this is where it collects you from, to round off the day. Appreciating that some people aren’t a fan of coach trips, I did ask if people are able to just join the tour in Alnwick as I did, and Rob said that is fine to do – so keep that in mind especially if you wanted to do this as part of a bigger stay in Alnwick or wider Northumnberland. There is free parking on Greenwell Road which is just a 5 minute walk from the entrance to Alnwick Castle where you would meet the tour.

Escape the Everyday

If you’re looking for a fun filled summer in the North East, then there are so many destinations, trips, experiences and things happening in Newcastle, Gateshead and the wider region this summer. 

The partnership with NewcastleGateshead Initiative and Visit England is bringing events such as the UK Pride Festival, the Rugby League World Cup, and a number of other bookable activities like the Alnwick Castle Harry Potter tour.

Newcastle itself has so much to offer as well, so if you’re looking for inspiration take a look on the Newcastle Gateshead website here for your escape.

Other posts you might like:

A Harry Potter Hotel Stay at Hallow & Crux, Alnwick

Where to eat on the Northumberland Coast

Things to do in Seahouses

The Best Sunday Lunches in the North East

The Cafes & Restaurants with a View in Newcastle

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