Explore iconic medieval castles in England's Northeast region. Visit ruins and modern-day palaces, discover the area's military history, and spend quiet afternoons strolling in countryside villages. Start your trip in industrial Newcastle, then continue to Alnwick Castle to see the backdrop for the Harry Potter films. End on the wild Northumberland coast to see isolated 16th-century Lindisfarne castle and sample fresh-caught lobster.

Highlights

  • Discover England's history, from Roman occupation to the Industrial Revolution
  • Visit Bamburgh and Lindisfarne castles, the backdrop to centuries of warfare
  • Explore sleepy medieval villages, sample hearty pub food, and try coldwater surfing

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Newcastle Day One Newcastle Upon Tyne
Day 2 Tynemouth Newcastle Upon Tyne
Day 3 Warkworth Alnwick
Day 4 Alnwick Castle Alnwick
Day 5 Bamburgh and Lindisfarne Bamburgh

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Newcastle Day One

The Black Gate gatehouse framing the castle and cathedral
The Black Gate gatehouse framing the castle and cathedral

Welcome to Newcastle Upon Tyne, the regional capital of northeast England. Originally a Roman fort, Newcastle has grown to become one of the major cities of the industrial revolution. Go on a walking tour of the city to see the historic highlights. Stops include the 11th-century Cathedral Church of St. Nicholas and Newcastle's Castle, which was built in 1080 by one of William the Conqueror's sons. 

 Spend the evening strolling around the city or head out for a show. Plays at the Theater Royal, musical performances at the Sage Gateshead, and comedy at the Stand Comedy Club are all popular local options. 

Day 2: Tynemouth

Tynemouth Priory and Castle
Tynemouth Priory and Castle

Spend the day in Tynemouth, a small seaside town in northeast England. Visit the Tynemouth Castle and Priory to learn about its dramatic history as a Roman fort, Norman castle, and finally as fortifications against Nazis during World War II. 

In the afternoon take a walk along the beach and enjoy fish and chips at one of the many seaside restaurants. Tynemouth is a great place for souvenir shopping and sightseeing in the town's historic downtown area. 

Adventurous visitors who want to brave the cold water will enjoy one of the best locations in the northeast for surfing. 

Day 3: Warkworth

Ruins of the medieval Warkworth Castle
Ruins of the medieval Warkworth Castle

Explore Warkworth Castle, situated on a picturesque bank of the Croquet River, and the surrounding medieval village. The castle's history is tied to the local Percy family, the Earls of Northumberland, and today's tour will explain the family's influence on the region. 

See Warkworth Castle, then head to the Church of St. Laurence to see England's best-preserved Norman Church. Stop for lunch in town before enjoying a quiet afternoon walk along the riverbanks before returning to Alnwick. 

Day 4: Alnwick Castle

Alnwick Castle Keep
Alnwick Castle Keep

Visit the historically significant Alnwick Castle and the nearby town of Alnwick. The castle has been on the border with conflict for 600 years thanks to its location on the border between Scotland and England, and the imposing medieval walls bear testament to its history. These days its the home to the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland, and enjoys a new legacy with its film appearances—most famously in Happy Potter, as well as Downton Abbey and Transformers: The Last Night. 

Tour the staterooms, the world-famous poison garden, the immaculately manicured gardens, and the many rooms and halls. Young and young at heart will love the Harry Potter-themed activities available, including broomstick lessons and potion classes. 

After touring the castle enjoy lunch in a treehouse restaurant and dine inside a restaurant built inside a tree—a unique local experience. Afterward, explore the town of Alnwick and catch up on souvenir shopping. 

Day 5: Bamburgh and Lindisfarne

Bamburgh Castle
Bamburgh Castle

Today you will visit the castles of Bamburgh and Lindisfarne. The fortress of the Kingdom of Northumbria Bamburgh was the center of the largest kingdom of England during the 7th and 8th centuries and was developed in the middle ages to protect against Scottish attack. Though it was ruined during the English Civil War, the castle was restored in the 19th century to its original size. 

Visit St. Aiden's Church in Bamburgh Village to see foundations and fabrics dating back to early Christian missions to Northumbria. 

In the afternoon explore 16th-century Lindisfarne, located on Holy Island and separated from the mainland by closely-monitored tides. Read the posting about tidal times to avoid being stranded on the causeway as you travel to and from the island. Lindisfarne is famous in part for being one of the first locations in the United Kingdom to be attacked by the Vikings and is often called the cradle of English Christianity due to the importance of its monastery during the Dark Ages. 

Map

Map of Northern England's Castles - 5 Days
Map of Northern England's Castles - 5 Days