Bamburgh Castle

Bamburgh Castle information

adult/child £9/4
Opening hours
10am-5pm mid-Feb–Oct, 11am-4.30pm Sat & Sun Nov–mid-Feb
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Lonely Planet review

Northumberland's most dramatic castle was built around a powerful 11th-century Norman keep by Henry II, although its name is a derivative of Bebbanburgh, after the wife of Anglo-Saxon ruler Aedelfrip, whose fortified home occupied this basalt outcrop 500 years earlier. The castle played a key role in the border wars of the 13th and 14th centuries, and in 1464 was the first English castle to fall as the result of a sustained artillery attack, by Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, during the Wars of the Roses. It was restored in the 19th century by the great industrialist Lord Armstrong, who died before work was completed. The castle is still home to the Armstrong family.

Once through the gates, head for the museum to view scraps of WWII German bombers washed up on Northumberland's beaches, plus exhibits illustrating just how the Armstrongs raked in their millions (ships, weapons, locomotives), before entering the castle proper. The 12 rooms and chambers inside are crammed with antique furniture, suits of armour, priceless ceramics and works of art, but top billing must go to the King's Hall , a stunning piece of 19th-century neo-Gothic fakery, all wood panelling, leaded windows and hefty beams supporting the roof.

The Bamburgh Castle App (£1.99) is a downloadable audioguide to the castle.