skip to main content

Wandering the World

Stories and tips from around the world.

Scotland Day 1

Alnwick Castle

On the previous day one of my friends had celebrated his 30th Birthday, so as a celebration of that milestone we headed off to Scotland for a few days to explore the Highlands.

It was an early start as we were on the road not long after 04:00 – the flight we’d got meant we’d be in Edinburgh just after 08:00. We had a proper breakfast at Heathrow airport whilst we were waiting for the flight as we hadn’t eaten before leaving as it seemed too early for food. By the time we boarded the plane and had been airbourne for about 10 minutes we found we’d be getting another breakfast on the plane.

When we arrived in Edinburgh airport we had to visit the Avis desk to get the car we’d booked. As they didn’t have any of the one we booked we were upgraded to an Audi A3 Sportback. They did try to sell us the upgrade first, but we refused and got it anyway. Apparently this is quite common for car rental places, even outside the UK.

Our next leg of the journey may then seem a little crazy – we headed south, back across the border into England so we could visit Alnwick Castle. The reasoning behind this is that we wanted to see Alnwick Castle as it had been partially used for exterior shots of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the filming of Harry Potter – one such scene was when they were learning how to fly brooms in the first film. As we were flying up to Scotland it was easier and made some sense to do this first.

Alnwick Castle - Gatehouse

We spent several hours looking around the castle, though it is not as big as some castles I’ve seen such as Warwick Castle – there isn’t even that much to do really. This one did however look like it was still lived in based upon the photos in some of the rooms. As it the weather was really good we did this tour of the castle quite slowly and got to relax a little. The food available at the Castle was limited though as the main restaurant was being used for a function.

As part of the castle tour there was a guided part underground through some dungeons where they try to put on a bit of a show; it was entertaining and the actors do manage to stay in character no matter what!

Alnwick Castle - Courtyard

Once we’d finished the castle we headed out across the grounds in order to look around it’s gardens. The gardens are quite large and running up through the middle is a large cascade with water jets firing everywhere. Off to the wings and at the top there are various sorts of garden, though one of the more interesting ones is one which can only be viewed as part of a guided tour – the poison garden.

Atropa bella-donna

In the poison garden there are plants growing such as Belladonna (these days more commonly known as Deadly Nightshade), though they also have more common plants such as ones that produce nicotine – as they are additive they are considered a poison.

For the drive back I was behind the wheel all the way back to Edinburgh airport. On the way down to Alnwick we found the power socket in the car didn’t work so wouldn’t be too helpful with how much we’d be needing to use a satnav over the week. It didn’t take too long, they told us not to plug too much in to it and changed the fuse – I don’t think it was us that blew the fuse anyway.

From the airport I then drove us into the city to find our lodgings; it wasn’t too hard to find and there was some on-road parking available outside. From there we wandered around the local part of the city and found a pub to have our evening meal at.

Tags: europe harry potter travel trips uk

Recent Trips

This country split into two by conflict is one which my trip would also be divided into two due to the pandemic. For my first part of the trip I would be there sightseeing as 2021 approaches it's end,…

Twelve years ago, before the age of the smart phone, I visited Berlin at the start of my adventure spanning three European countries. I was younger then, and less experienced at travelling, and with a…

I have to mostly agree with Sir Terry - there are so many bikes in Amsterdam with lanes specifically for them. As long as you're alert it's not a problem. It's so different in some ways from other Eur…

New Zealand
> “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” > > -- J. R. R. Tolkien When I first visited New Zealand it was a very short trip, and a very unsuccessful one. Every s…

A few days spent in Switzerland as 2019 began. I got to see the sights of Geneva and Zurich, and then experienced delay after delay trying to get home: snow, emergency ascents, baggage collection, and…

More Trips…

Recent Races

MK Winter Half Marathon 2021
Not my best half marathon, but not my worst either. Somehow I finished 92nd out of 1,471 runners with a time of 1:28:53. The best bit was getting to see friends again though.…

Leicester Half Marathon 2021
With two more marathons now behind me, was there any chance that a half marathon could be anywhere near what I'd done before the pandemic?…

Therme Manchester Marathon 2021
Last time I did a marathon in Manchester, it was the Greater Manchester Marathon. Now it's got a new name, a new route, new title sponsors, and it's been over 2 years since the last one in which I fai…

The Bun Run and Ramble 2021
One last race before Berlin Marathon, this was a 10K on the Welbeck Estate near Worksop. It certainly didn't go the way I thought it would……

Leicester's Big 10K 2020
My first 10K in over two years - a belated 10K in Leicester that should have taken place in 2020.…

More Running…

© David G. Paul