Alnwick castle is a fine fairytale of a castle situated in glorious Northumberland, the English county with the most castles per square mile. Alnwick Castle is the second largest inhabited castle in England (after Windsor Castle) and is home to the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland and their family. Ralph George AlgernonPercy, is the12th Duke of Northumberland and was ranked at number 248 in the 2011 Sunday times Rich List with an estimated wealth of £315 million. Lord Percy is still not as rich as Gillian and Adrian Bayford from Sussex who just won £148 m on the Euromillions lottery but I don’t expect he ever really feels the need to buy a ticket.
But only if you eat them!
His wife, the Duchess of Northumberland is probably best known for redeveloping the Alnwick Garden, a large ornamental garden adjacent to the family seat which is now a top tourist attraction in its own right. One particularly interesting feature of the garden is the ‘Poison Garden’ which hosts plants which are deadly poisonous but are also often used in medicine to cure.Their younger son, the dashing George Percy, is a sometime escort of one Pippa Middleton whose sister Kate recently married rather well. Their daughter Lady Catherine, to be a bit different, shunned a life of meaningless socialising with the wealthy and worked as a motorcycle mechanic, racing driver and gunmaker. As you do if you are from a fabulously rich and titled background.Well for a bit anyway, before marrying a city financier. Alnwick is such a perfect castle in appearance that it is much in demand as a film set and has featured in such Hollywood classics as Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. ‘Where is the maid Ma- ri- an?’ (pronounced to rhyme with ‘pie on’) demanded Kevin Kostner as our Merry Man in tights while prancing along Hadrian’s Wall which is nowhere near Sherwood Forest either. It also featured as a backdrop in Elizabeth starring Cate Blanchett, and in popular TV series such as Blackadder and Famous Five. One of the most famous uses of the dramatic views which Alnwick Castle offers is its use as Hogwarts, the wizard school in the first two Harry Potter films. Memorable scenes filmed there include the flying lesson in Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone and the crash landing of the flying Ford Anglia in Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets. This is a big deal for Potter fans across the globe and there are Potter themed shenanigans throughout the year including Broomstick Training for the apprentice wizards among you.