Alnwick Castle is located in Alnwick, Northumberland and it has been the home of the Percy family for over 800 years. It is the home of the Duke of Northumberland, and it was built after the Norman conquest. By now, it has been renovated many times.
The castle is one of England’s most significant destinations, and after 2012 it has received over 800, 000 visitors per year. It became a popular tourist attraction after the Harry Potter films, where it was used as the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft.
The first castle was built around 1096 by the Baron of Alnwick, Yves de Vescy. It was mentioned for the first time in 1136 when it was captured by King David I. The castle was besieged twice in the 12th century by William the Lion. After the Vescy family, the whole complex was bequeathed to the Bishop of Durham, Antony Bek.
In 1309, the barony of Bek was purchased by Henry Percy who immediately rebuilt the stone structure of the castle. Later, the rebuilding continued under the orders of Percy’s son. The current Duke occupies a part of the castle and lives there with his family.
The Alnwick Castle is the second largest inhabited castle in England. It consists of two main rings of buildings which are connected by a linking building. After the WWII, many parts of the castle have been used for education. There are exhibitions of its history in three perimeter towers of the castle which are the Postern Tower, the Constable’s Tower and the Abbot’s Tower.
The fact that the castle is well-preserved made it an appropriate filming location for the school of magic, Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films, and thus, it shaped the imagination of the viewers and visitors of how a real castle should look like. Alnwick Castle has two parks, a smaller one to the north of the castle, locally known as The Pastures and another larger near it, the park called Hulne Park.
Near the castle is the Alnwick Garden, which was designed by Jacques Wirtz and Peter Wirtz. In 2001, a fountain was placed inside the garden, and in 2004, a ‘tree house’ complex was opened, which is one of the largest of its kind in the world.
The most interesting part is the poison garden which was added in 2005. Since 2011, commenced a reconstructive process of several areas of the castle to bring it to its original design.