Monday, June 10, 2013

Castles, Castles, and More Castles II

Lindisfarne Castle on Holy Island

After a plane delay, 10 hour plane ride, and 2 hour ride on the Britrail, I found myself (along with my family) in Wallsend just on the outskirts of Newcastle in Northumbria (Northern England). On the first day we took a taxi around to a few castles within a car rides distance from where we were staying (more on that in a future blog).

The first castle we arrived at was located at a place known has The Holy Island of Lindisfarne. To get to this place you have to cross a road during the low tide because at high tide the North Sea rises cutting off the only route to Lindisfarne. The Holy Island itself was originally founded by St. Aidan as a monastery it has remained unchanged since its construction in 635 C.E. In 1550 a small castle was built on top of the highest hill on the island (as castles are usually built). In 1901 Sir Edwin Lutyens converted the castle into a family home and in the late 20th century was converted into a public museum by the national trust of the United Kingdom. 

The village on Holy Island, standing since the times of St. Aidan, is quaintly spread with flats and locally owned and operated shops along its high street (main street).

Just a short trip down the coast from Holy Island you arrive in Bamburgh, with its castle gracing the coastline. The castle in Bamburgh stands a bit more imposing and grand than the one on Holy Island. In fact, Bamburgh castle has apartments for let but the commute between Tyler and the United Kingdom might be a bit strenuous.
Bamburgh Castle is located in... You guessed it! Bamburgh!

As one of the largest still inhabited castles in England, Bamburgh Castle spans nine acres along the Northumberland coastline. Following an unsuccessful siege by William II in 1095 the castle came under the control of the British Crown. Henry II is believed to have had the keep built as it was a frequent targets of the Scottish from the North.In the 19th century it was bought by the Victorian Industrialist William Armstrong and still to this day belongs to the Armstrong family and is now open to the public. The castle has been featured in several movies such as El Cid in the 1950s and Elizabeth in the 1990s.

The last castle we stopped at on our first day in England was Alnwick Castle (pronounced anwick). The
Alnwick Castle
castle in Alnwick has been the home of the Percy for the past 700 years. Seriously, we walked through  the family library and there was a big screen TV with a few soda cans scattered about on a coffee table. There were also the lets just say, creepy, family photos throughout parts of the castle I assume the family rarely visits. The castle is not only home to the Percy family, but also to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The first two Harry Potter films were shot on the grounds of Alnwick including the scene in which Harry learns to ride a broomstick.

After touring the grounds of these three castles we were exhausted and headed back to Wallsend for the night. But, that was not the end of castle adventure... Oh no. For the next day we took a train... TO EDINBURGH!!!

Stay tuned for Castles, Castles, and More Castles III!

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