The beautiful, historic market town of Alnwick has quickly become one of the country's top tourist destinations. Located just 5 miles from Northumberland's heritage coastline and roughly in the centre of the County, equidistant from Berwick and Newcastle, it makes a great base from which to explore. The town has a population of just under 10,000 and with it's old buildings and cobbled streets has recently had the honour of being voted the best place to live in the UK. The town's history is evident everywhere you look, it dates back to 600AD and has thrived ever since. Buy a full guide to Alnwick.
Alnwick is easily accessible by car, it is just moments from the A1, the main road that cuts through the County from North to South. There is ample parking in the Town Centre, with the main public car parks located behind the main shopping area (turn right at the Playhouse, just before going through Bondgate Tower when entering the town from the South). Car Parks are clearly marked on our interactive map of the town centre. The town is also easily reached by bus. There is a bus station in the town centre, operated by Arriva. Alnwick lies on the County's main bus route from Newcastle and Morpeth up to Berwick, so services run frequently. See the Arriva North East website for timetables and routes. The town is no longer served by rail, the nearest Train Station is Alnmouth, approximately 5 miles east. The original Victorian train station has now been converted into one of the largest second hand book shops in the UK (see attractions). There is however talk of a new rail line re-linking Alnwick the the Great Northern Line at Alnmouth, but these things always take time! Local Taxi companies include The Yellow Taxi, a genuine London taxi that seats up to six people.
Alnwick in the modern day offers a huge number of attractions, museums and galleries including the stunning Alnwick Castle and the Alnwick Garden. Combine this with excellent amenities, bars, restaurants, deli's, cafes and shopping in a stunning location and you have a winning formula that will make every visitor fall in love with both the town and the local area. I'll start Your Alnwick Guide by giving you perhaps the most important information of all, how to get here.
Click Here for our interactive Town Centre Map showing all the attractions and town amenities, as well as parking, travel information and recommended viewing points.
Alnwick Castle is one of the most stunning Castles you will ever see (it is the second largest inhabited castle in the country) and it has a rich history. Today it makes a great day out for the whole family, it has had a recent surge in popularity with the kids as it was the set for "Hogwarts" in the Harry Potter films. Next to the Castle is impressive Alnwick Garden with it's magnificent water cascades, walled gardens, poison garden, rose garden, the world's largest Treehouse and wonderfully inventive water sculpture. It is an interactive and educational space created by the Duchess of Northumberland in the last ten years and comes highly recommended.
The town's packed history is remembered and celebrated within it's many museums and galleries. There are simply too many things to do and places to visit in Alnwick to put on one page, so for more information about each attraction, including: Alnwick Castle, Alnwick Garden, Market Square, Barter Books, Bailiffgate Museum, House of Hardy Fishing Tackle Museum, Hulne Park, Alnwick's Galleries.
Explore your guide to Alnwick's Attractions...
The town has a packed calendar of events from traditional Music Festivals and Medieval Jousting Tournament to the more fun Shrove Tuesday football match (known as Scoring the Hales) that takes place in the shadow of the Castle, in the 'pastures'. There is also a popular Food Festival that runs each year concurrently with the Beer Festival, an International Music Festival and regular continental and Farmer's markets. There are also regular events held at Alnwick Castle, The Alnwick Garden and also at Alnwick's theatre venue The Playhouse. Explore your guide to Alnwick's events...
Alnwick originally prospered all those centuries ago as a medieval market town, it's beautiful old stone buildings now house a range of specialist shops, family businesses, gift and craft shops and many of the original coaching inns. Town planners have fiercely protected the town centre over the years and as such it remains how it would have looked through the centuries. In the middle of the town centre is it's attractive marketplace complete with an old Market Cross. The marketplace was once a cattle market and the main industry of the town and is still today a thriving venue for it's regular markets and events. There are now many cafes, deli's, bakeries and butchers in and around the marketplace and it's surrounding tiny cobbled streets, which helps the town to maintain much of it's old charm. The streets around the marketplace are the town's main shopping areas, with Bondgate Within, Market Street and Fenkle Street forming a triangular boundary around it. Alnwick was originally a walled town, with the boundary of Bondgate Tower still used as an entrance and splits the roads Bondgate Within and Bondgate Without. For a detailed look at all the wonderful shops Alnwick has to offer, click below. Explore your guide to Alnwick's shopping...
After the introduction of Alnwick's popular Food Festival and Beer Festival, the town was names the "sixth best place for gastronomic activity in the Country" by a new Guide to British Food. The BMW 1 Series Good Food Ride said Alnwick‟s restaurants, food festival and farmers' markets have contributed to a thriving "gastrohub‟. To be placed in the book‟s top 20, each destination had to reach certain criteria which the panel of judges felt were necessary to be defined as a gastrohub. Each place had to hold a farmers' market, have a traditional dish, hold a food festival and have a food hero who is passionate about local sourcing. There are many excellent restaurants, pubs and cafes that serve excellent quality local food, exquisitely prepared for your enjoyment. Browse all the town has to offer and to read our recommendations about where to eat. Explore your guide to Places to Eat and Drink in Alnwick...
Alnwick has a wide range of quality Accommodation and is massively popular as a place to stay. There are Hotels, Self Catering Cottages and apartments, Hostels and family run B&B's suitable for all budgets. It is an excellent base to explore Northumberland and has fantastic amenities, restaurants and attractions, which makes it a massively popular place to stay. Whatever kind of accommodation you are looking for and no matter what budget, Alnwick is sure to offer it.
Food Shopping and Supermarkets
Alnwick offers an excellent range of local food shops, delis, bakeries, butchers and larger supermarkets. The town centre has many independent shops that we would recommend using, why not try a local delicacy? For example, Trotters Family Bakers have been on Bondgate Within for as long as i can remember and offer a unique Border Tart well worth trying. On Market Street you will find R Turnbull and Sons Butchers, an award winning family butcher that have been established over 100 years. They have excellent quality local meat and i can highly recommend their lamb 'pinwheels'.
The Marketplace holds a market every Saturday all year round from 9am - 4pm and on a Thursday from April to December, also 9am -4pm. There is an additional Farmer's Market on the last Friday of every month from 9am - 2pm. If it's a supermarket you're after there there is an Iceland, Morrisons and Co-op in the town centre, a Lidl by Barter Books and a Sainsbury's towards the South of the town near the A1 junction.
The town centre also has excellent amenities. There is a Tourist Information Centre that is open 7 days a week located in 'The Shambles' which is the building on Market Street that backs onto the marketplace. The marketplace also has public toilets in the Shambles. The other public toilets are located near the main car parking area on Greenwell Road. There are numerous Banks and Building Society's which are mainly located on Bondgate Within. For a full list of Amenities including Banks, Hospital A&E, Police Station, Vets, Dentist, Post Office and more, along with location and contact information, click below.
There are a large number of memorials all around Alnwick dedicated to the numerous bloody battles between the Percy family and the Scots. On a hill facing the castle on the north bank of the Aln sits a large stone cross which commemorates the killing of King Malcolm III of Scotland whilst invading on the outskirts of the town. Inside The White Swan Hotel the lounge has fittings from the RMS Olympic which was identical to the RMS Titanic and the RMS Gigantic. Both were destroyed after the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 because of fears that they would meet the same fate.
Places and Attractions Nearby
Have we missed something? Can you recommend an attraction, restaurant or accommodation? Or maybe you have a business you would like to be included? Let us know.
Useful and Interesting Links
Area Guides >