Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Ireland-UK Trip: Scotland Day 3/England - Alnwick Castle

Today would be a day spent mostly in a small bus, traveling to the border of Scotland and England at the town of Coldstream (home of the Coldstream Guards) for a visit to Alnwick (pronounce anick) Castle in the English town of the same name.

It's the home of the Duke of Northumberland, but more interesting to Martha and I, it was the scene for an episode or two of the show Downton Abbey.  Alas, no pictures were allowed inside but the locations did look as they did on the show, for whatever that's worth.

We did a restroom stop at the ruins of Kelso Abbey but the shots I took didn't turn out.

The next stop was at the border with England, at the River Tweed, where our Scottish van driver gave us the Scottish Royal flag to hold as we all posed by the border sign for England.

 Looking north towards Scotland and the town of Coldstream

Once across the bridge, we were in England!

The tour guide/driver proved quite the wealth of information, both historical and anecdotal, on the Scots and their many wars with the English.  He kept us entertained through the 3+ hour drive to Alnwick.

I don't foresee any other long van/bus trips for me, I apparently have developed a tendency towards motion sickness when I am not the one driving!

Still, we got there in one piece, and Craig, our driver took us to a vantage point for pictures of Alnwick Castle:

He then drove us to the car park next to the castle and dropped us off for a three hour "walk about as you please" excursion.  Everyone fanned out and Martha and I went off to explore the castle.

Quite the impressive structure, I must say.  Lots to see inside as well although as I mentioned, we weren't allowed to take pictures.  That disappointment aside, it was pretty neat seeing and recognizing the rooms where scenes from Downton Abbey were shot while the castle was used as the location for the home of the Duke of Branchester (I think).  Some of the costumes used by the actors were on display as well.

 Martha, as we neared the front entrance to the castle

 Inside the castle grounds, in the area where the Quidditch
scenes from Harry Potter were shot.

 Atop one of the outer walls, looking back towards the central keep.
Our last look at the castle.

 Wandering about a large tree house complex
that was part of the Garden Complex of Alnwick Castle

After a frantic but succesful search for food in town, we all met back up with the group and started making our way back to Edinburgh.

One small detour before reaching the Scottish border however, a stop at the town of Bamburgh where the Bamburgh castle was located.  This castle was even bigger than the one at Alnwick!  It had been restored by one of the Armstrong Clan who'd made his money in Coal and Industry apparently.

We couldn't go in though, it was after visiting hours, still we got this view of it:

The rest of the ride back to Edinburgh was in light rain, using highways for the most part to make good time.  Got back to the hotel a bit over nine hours since we started this morning.  Long day.


RichardM said...

A long day to sit on the bus. I also have that problem with riding rather than driving. My solution is to always try and sit near the front of the bus. That seems to help a lot.

That suspension bridge looks pretty interesting, is it part of the tree house?

redlegsrides said...

I found adjusting the seatbelt to disable the chest strap helped.

It was two of them, designed to bounce up and down a bit as one walked across them, and yes , part of the treehouse design.

Oz said...

Love the bridge! The history has to be very interesting. I know a good tour guide can make all the difference in the world. Sorry to hear about the motion sickness. Hope it is temporary.

SonjaM said...

Ah, now I get it. This is how you planned your Ireland/GB tour... mmm, let's see, what's our favourite movie and/or TV show? Let's visit the filming locations and get some sightseeing and riding in while at it. Sounds like a perfect travel plan to me.

redlegsrides said...

It's open terrain for the most part so ine can see why so many incursions by both sides happened.

redlegsrides said...

I plan to patent this planning method! ;)