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Castles in the North

[This entry refers to a trip taken in March 2009. As requested, I will be going back and blogging the trips I only posted vlogs about January – April.]

Tim and I picked up the AA Leisure Guide Northumbria & Coast and in the book were some suggestions for “driving tours”. We knew we wanted to see some of the castles in Northern England, and the route in the book took us neatly around to several castles we really wanted to see!

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(photo by Tim)

Our first stop was Alnwick. I wanted to go to Alnwick Castle, as it was one of the filming locations for the Harry Potter movies, and Hogwart’s was partially modeled after it. Unfortunately, the castle was closed for the Winter months, but we took some photos up by the gate, and then Tim walked down the icy hill to see if there was access at another gate and to take more photos. Unfortunately, the gates were all closed, so we headed back to the car and continued on our route.

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The next place to stop on the route was called Preston Tower. We actually nearly drove right past the place because we thought we were driving past private property! Preston Tower is located on a private farm, but the owners allow access to the tower. Admission is on your honour with a little wooden box, and they also had postcards and brochures. We were able to climb up to the clock itself and even go outside to check out the view. The clock at Preston Tower is designed after the clock at Westminster (Big Ben). While we were there, the clock struck the hour and it was super loud! I climbed all the way up to the top (even higher than the clock) and was treated to a 360 degree view of the English and Scottish countryside.

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Our next stop should have been Holy Island. Holy Island is connected to the mainland by a causeway and you can only cross at certain times of the day or risk getting stuck in the water (or on the island!). We looked at the schedule,and had just missed going over. Paired with seeing that we’d have a short amount of time over on the Island before needing to leave, we decided to skip Holy Island, and continued on to Bamburgh Castle

While we were in Bamburgh, we stopped at the Grace Darling Museum, a museum dedicated to the life of Grace Darling, daughter of the lighthouse keeper who assisted in a rescue at sea in 1838.

The sun was starting to set, but we weren’t finished yet! We kept on heading North and got to Norham Castle, the last stronghold before the Scottish border. The site itself was closed, but we were able to take photos of the castle.

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Tim then decided that we were going to drive as far North as the border with Scotland, just so I could say I was officially in Scotland!

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We ended our day there and headed back towards Newcastle-upon-Tyne and in search of dinner.

For more photos please see: http://photos.beccajanestclair.com/uk-trip-2008/northern-castles/

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