Alnwick Castle Reviews
There's a poison garden, modern fountains and one of the best State Rooms in the country! May 27, 2014
Alnwick Castle is basically comprised of two parts - the gardens and the actual Castle itself. You can buy joint tickets or individually as well. The price for both, I thought was steep. But funnily enough is a massive crowd puller in this part of the world.
We chose to visit the gardens first.
The gardens look deceptively small from the outside and one would think it wasn't worth the money. You enter and there's a huge shop and refreshment centre selling plants and stuff, and this overlooks the much talked about Cascade Fountains.
This leads up to the famed Ornamental Gardens with their hidden fountains, flowers in bloom and the usual stuff. Note that the flowers weren't still in bloom, but was a good time to just walk around and 'chill'. My favourite section was the wildflowers section - I'd never seen anything like this before and was really interesting, the way the flowers were just growing in the wild! The serpent garden was a bit 'modern' and had some really fancy fountains. Lots of kids were playing around it, was kind of fun to watch. There was a bamboo shoot labyrinth which was average, and I skipped both the treehouse and the Roots & Shoots garden.
So that brings us to the best part - the POISON GARDEN!! In February 2005, a poison garden with plants such as cannabis and opium poppy was added. One can access this only via tour, and the garden is otherwise kept under lock and key. This was really cool and we even donated a good amount of money for the upkeep as I'd never seen anything like a poison garden before!
After about 1 hour here, made our way to the Castle. It is the seat of the Duke of Northumberland, built following the Norman conquest, and renovated and remodelled a number of times. There is a whole bunch of history given on this Wiki page - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alnwick_Castle so I won't get into it.
But what did we think?
First off, this castle attracts a LOT of visitors. And I mean a lot. Plus, it was Bank Holiday and mid terms and was swarming with kids. The Castle by itself is nothing different than the gazillion other places I've been to - lovely structures, towers and amazing State rooms. The State rooms were smaller than other palatial buildings I've been to, but packed in a punch all the same. There is also a play area for kids called "Knight's Quest".
One of the interesting exhibitions in the Castle was on Henry Hotspur Percy and about his birth here, and how he died in Shrewsbury. It was very interesting reading about him, and the exhibit made it that way. Walked around the castle, a lot of areas were closed due to remodelling, took the obligatory shots and made our way out.
Part of the England (Northumberland and London) travel blog
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