Monday, 22nd May, 2023

We were reluctant to leave Durham as our accommodation was our best to date. There was plenty of space with a kitchen/dining room, lounge room, a bedroom each (with an ensuite in the main bedroom and another bathroom) and no less than three toilets!

Our first destination today was Alnwick (pronounced "an-ick" to visit Alnwick Castle and Gardens. We visited the gardens first. During WWII, the gardens were dug up to be used to provide food. After 1950, they fell into disuse. Redevelopment of the garden was instigated by Jane Percy, Duchess of Northumberland in 1997, and has been led by Belgian landscape designers Jacques and Peter Wirtz. It is the most ambitious new garden created in the United Kingdom since the Second World War, with a reported total development cost of £42 million.

The cascades were very impressive - different water jets were used all the time, creating different fountains.

A view of the cascades from the top, looking down

One of the interesting sections of the garden is known as "The Poison Garden". You can view a video of the garden here.

One of the exhibits in the Poison Garden is cannabis. Note the warnng sign!

Some of the blossom trees were really quite tall.

Alnwick Castle is the second-largest inhabited castle in England (after Windsor Castle) and is the seat of the 12th Duke of Northumberland. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take photos of the interior (this seems to happen when a family still lives in a place). You can see some of the rooms here, or simply ask Google!

The Castle was a location for the "Harry Potter" movies. The scene where the first year Hogwarts students are learnng to fly on broom sticks was filmed here.

State Coach of the Duke of Northumberland, circa 1825
In origin, this was a royal coach and carried the royal livery when it transported the 3rd Duke of Northumberland, as King George IV's personal representative, at the coronation of Charles X of France in 1825.
In 1902 the coach was renovated, repainted and re-trimmed for use by the 7th Duke and Duchess at the coronation of King Edward VIl; it now bears their coat of arms.
The silver-plated gallery around the roof is in the form of crescents and fetterlocks, both Percy family badges, with a coronet at each corner.
The coach was last used by the youngest daughter of the 12th Duke and Duchess of Northumberland for her wedding at St Michael's Church, Alnwick in 2013.

Sir Henry Percy "Hotspur: The Warrior Prince"
In 1378, Hotspur led his father's troops in an assault on Berwick following a nine day siege. Over the next few years, Hotspur gained a fearsome reputation leading lightning-quick strikes against the Scots in the borders, so much so that he earned the famous nickname 'hotspur', or 'haatspore' from his foe, the Scots.

Our next destination was Bamburgh Castle. It has been used as a filming location for a number of films and TV series, including "The Last Kingdom" and there is quite a comprehensive display in the King's Hall dedicated to this show. Satoshi and I have watched the series so that made it of interest to us. In 1464, it was the first castle to fall due to the use of gunpowder in England. Successive owners have reconstructed the damaged sections and made other adaptations and alterations.

The Keep

This room was the Great Kitchen between the 1100s and 1464 (when it was partly destroyed during the War of the Roses siege in 1464. Its huge hearths provided food daily for the Castle Garrison. Lavish feasts were cooked for visiting Kings and Queens.   Later, it became the schoolroom of The School of Industry which was established by a charitable trust, funded by money from Lord Crewe's Will. Thousands of girls from poor families were educated here from the mid 1700s until 1894.

Great taste in crockery!

The King's Hall

The King's Hall

The Cross Hall

Satoshi testing the throne from "The Last Kingdom".

Made by the Aeolian Company Ltd in New York, the pianola was a pneumatically operated player piano. The instrument has mechanical 'fingers' which are operated when the player pumps the foot pedals blowing air through the valves. Paper rolls with holes in them either allowed air through or caused a resistance which in turn operated the 'fingers'. The machine was rolled up to a piano so that its "fingers" could depress the keys.

Anther view of the Cross Hall

The Captain's Lodging

The Billiard Room and Faire Chamber

Meissen Dessert Service
Meissen porcelain was made in the town of Meissen in Germany.
Developed by the Germans, it was the first porcelain made outside of China.
The factory was famous for its delicate hand painted figures, the plates here are pictured with summer exteriors.
Dating from the 19th Century, this dessert service was bought Lord Armstrong from the Duke of Cambridge's sale on 11th June, 1904.

One of the plates above

The Keep Hall

At this point, my thoughts turned to "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe".

The bakery, scullery, and larder were installed in the early 20th century.

A view from the castle

A view of the Keep (which was begun in 1164).

Just down from the castle is a long, sandy beach.

Our "selfie"!

The automatic lawn mower!

The ruins of the chapel (destroyed in 1464). The bell was once part of the castle clock.

We drove back to Alnwick where our accommodation for the night was located.

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