Our journey from Durham to Bamburgh in Northumbria was straightforward; out of the city, onto the A1, head north but turn right before crossing into Scotland! It was about a mile outside the village of Bamburgh that this stunning view of the castle presented itself, provided I turn sharp right again into a field of wheat stubble! Thankfully the gate was open ….
Ten minutes later we had parked alongside the castle itself and walked into the middle of Storm Ali over the UK with wind gusts of up to 100mph. Walking along the cliff tops towards the castle entrance was an absolute nightmare, the beach and surf below trying to invade my eyes, ears, nose and clothing one grain at a time. Dr C struggled to stay upright and I tried not to laugh! Hence only one more photo outside before slamming the medieval door behind us as we entered.
Our regular readers will know that I admire the exterior of French Chateau but despair at their interiors, usually bereft of anything related to the chateau history or owners. English castles are quite different, provided they weren’t battered to hell by Cromwell’s Ironsides during the English Civil War. Bamburgh is an absolute cracker of a castle, known as The King of Castles, and with a perceived history going back to the year 420AD when there was a hill fort on this rocky outcrop, though the recorded history of the castle doesn’t begin until 547AD and beyond into the Saxon era.
It was the Normans after 1066 who first built a “proper castle” here which remains the core of the modern day building. It became the property of the monarch when Henry II claimed it. In 1464 it became the first castle to fall due to an artillery bombardment during the Wars of the Roses, between Lancaster and York, with victory for the Yorkists led by Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick. Currently the castle is privately owned by the Armstrong family rather than English Heritage or The National Trust which makes the entrance fee a little higher than usual at about £11, but once you step inside and see the splendour of the rooms, furniture, murals, carpets, porcelain, the armoury, the kitchens, the Grand Hall…. you realise it’s worth every £1 spent and ….. shames the French who charge to enter an empty shell! We hope you enjoy the images below, and accept our apologies for not reporting on our planned afternoon trip to Lindisfarne/Holy Island, a bit too windy at 100 mph + !