Tag: Alnwick Garden

Visit Alnwick

Northumberland has some of loveliest market towns and each one has it’s own distinctive character, history and charm and each one with it’s own unique offering for a perfect day out. A visit to North Northumberland and to the market town of Alnwick will not disappoint and although most famously known for it’s grand castle and wonderful gardens there is much more to enjoy when you visit this lovely medieval market town.

Take a saunter through Alnwick town centre and you will find cobbled streets, narrow alleys and old traditional stone buildings many of which many are home to independent shops and you will find a few high street names dotted about too as well as pubs and cafes in which you can sit and soak up the atmosphere of this thriving market town. The historic Market Square hosts a weekly market on Thursday and Saturday from end of March onwards and the Farmers’ Market is held on the last Friday of each month is you fancy picking up some local produce.

alt="cobbled market square and stone buildings in Alnwick"
Alnwick Market Place

Also in the centre of Alnwick is the Bailiffgate Museum which is an award winning independent museum and gallery with exhibitions and displays showcasing 10,000 years of rich local history and culture. The museum is located in a Grade 2 listed former church and this would make a perfect starting point for if you wish to take in the rich history of Alnwick.

If you love books then a visit to Barter Books is a must, it is one of the largest second hand book shops in England with over 350,000 books to choose from. This huge bookshop is located in part of an old Victorian railway station and is made up of several rooms all with features from bygone days but all now fitting a very different purpose. The entrance is in fact the old Station Parcel Room, which still has the open window through which passengers would have bought railway tickets and further rooms mark the beginning of the outbound platform, with the buffers still remaining at one end. The old waiting room however is still just a place to sit, a place to read and in the colder months you will find yourself in front of an open fire. There is a whole room dedicated to antiquarian books and you will find the walls of this room lined with over forty glass cases full of these old gems. Of course an old railway station wouldn’t be complete without a train, which you will find running in miniature overhead and if you’re in need of refuelling then the station buffet will do just that. Top tip….the breakfast butties come highly recommended!

alt="bater books reading room in Alnwick"
Barter Books

Alnwick lies in the midst of some of the beautiful Northumberland countryside and none more so than the historic parkland which was landscaped by Capability Brown and which surrounds Alnwick Castle itself. The park was once part of Hulne Priory and is one of two parks that was once associated with Alnwick Castle and was once the hunting ground of the Percy family. Today Hulne Park is open to the public from 11am-4pm each day and is great for a walk and includes extensive parkland, the impressive Priory remains, the gatehouse to Alnwick Abbey and two bridges. There are three clearly marked circular walking routes and each is between 4 and 6 miles and a map of the walks can be found here.

Although not in the very centre of Alnwick The Aln Valley Railway at the Lionheart Station is lovely way to combine a trip to Alnwick with a breath of sea air. The railway has a small shop and cafe and holds events throughout the year but gives the perfect opportunity to take a train ride to the charming village of Alnmouth on the stunning North East coast.

Of course we couldn’t write about Alnwick without including the monumental Alnwick Castle and the wonderful brainchild of the Duchess of Northumberland, Alnwick Garden.

Alnwick Castle dates back 950 years and is the second largest inhabited castle in the UK and is often dubbed as the Windsor of the North. As you would imagine there is a wealth of history to be discovered within it’s 2m thick walls and the setting and the features of this medieval stronghold are nothing short of magnificent and many of which you may recognise from the castle’s numerous stints as a film set.

alt="Alnwick castle with blue skies behind"
Alnwick Castle

Alnwick Garden is a wonderful combination of spaces, themes, quirkiness and play. From the tranquility of the Cherry Orchard and garden swings, the excitement of the Grand Cascade and the mysteries of the Bamboo Labyrinth, to the Serpent Garden’s spell-binding water sculptures, the intrigue of the Poison Garden, the delight of the Rose Garden and one of the world’s largest tree houses – there is lots to admire and plenty to enjoy and delight!

When visiting the castle or garden please check the respective websites for opening seasons and times as these do vary.

alt="grand cascade at Alnwick Garden"
Alnwick Garden

Alnwick is just one of the lovely towns you will find in Northumberland and if you’d like to discover more of these historic market towns then remember to check out Hexham, Amble, Rothbury or Morpeth to name just a few. We hope you have a great day out whichever town you choose to visit.

Spring in Northumberland

Spring has to be the most sought after season, when we finally escape the winter months and look forward to warmer days and new beginnings. Spring in Northumberland is an absolute riot of colour from the very first glimpse of snowdrops in February through to the delicate blossom in April and May, Northumberland really does know how to put on a good Spring show!

alt="Spring in St Oswald's Churchyard covered in snowdrops"
St Oswald’s Churchyard in Heavenfield

First to raise their pretty little heads are the wonderful snowdrops which cover our woodlands, country roads and gardens and can be enjoyed on so many walks. However there is no better place to see these little gems than the woodland around Wallington Hall which with over half a million snowdrops ensures an almost snowy white woodland carpet. The walled garden at Wallington Hall also holds it’s own Spring surprise as the lawn bursts with 100,000 crocuses and their beautiful purple blooms.

alt="Spring crocus lawn at Wallington Hall walled garden"
Walled Garden at Wallington Hall

Shades of white and purple are swiftly followed by sunny yellow as the daffodils taken centre stage across so many visitor attractions. Warkworth Castle, Alnwick Castle, Belsay Hall, Castle & Gardens, to name but a few, all glow with stunning daffodils displays. For something a little more casual Letah Wood near Hexham is thought to be Northumberland’s last wild daffodil wood, a lovely walk where you can enjoy the sound of Letah Burn as it passes through the woodland.

Bright yellow soon turns to shades of dusty pink and white as the delicate blossom appears, gardens, country roads, parks and open spaces are scattered with the delicate confetti from their trees. The Cherry Orchard at Alnwick Garden has the largest collection of ‘Taihaku’ Cherry Blossom in the world, comprising of 329 trees and they all bloom together for up to two weeks around the end of April/beginning of May. The orchard is truly lovely and almost has a magical feel as you meander and weave through this Spring spectacle. Up to date news of ‘blossoming’ time can be found on their website.

Spring is also a time where birdlife is second to none, not only the garden birds who seem to chatter all the louder in Springtime, but the visiting birds that swoop in during April to spend the warmer months here too. Even a walk over the fields here at St Oswald’s may bring delights such as yellow hammers, curlews, lapwings, skylarks and buzzards and listen out for our resident woodpecker! If birdlife is what you really enjoy then a trip to North Northumberland and The Farne Islands is an absolute must. The best time to visit the islands to see the breeding seabirds and the iconic puffins is from mid-April when the boat trips are able to land on Inner Farne, Staple Island and Longstone. Serenity boat trips run from Seahouses and full details of the Farne visits and the birdlife can be found on their website.

Of course we couldn’t talk about Spring here without mentioning lambs, lots of them! Lambing here begins during the third week of March and runs until the second week in April, it’s such a lovely time of year to stay on a farm and enjoy the delights of playful new life. Our lambing time stays are always so popular and book up really quickly, we can promise a hive of activity in the lambing shed, births, lamb cuddles and there’s always the pet pen to bottle feed.

A stay in Northumberland at any time of the year promises to be a memorable one, so whether we’re bursting into life in Spring, in full bloom during the glorious summer months, in an autumnal bronze glow or sparkling in our winter frosts, your trip to Northumberland will be magical. If you’d like to book to stay at St Oswald’s Farm you can check all our availability and prices here. We look forward to welcoming you here soon.