December’s walk of the month: Alnwick Castle and Gardens
What better way to welcome in the holidays than with a wander through a winter woodland and around a magical Christmas castle?
Distance: 2.9 miles
Elevation: 400 feet
Time: 1 – 1.5 hours
The trailhead for the Alnwick Castle and Gardens walk can be found at the corner of Narrowgate and Pottergate in Alnwick.
Snow is falling, all around us. The first few doors of the advent calendars are open. There’s not a channel on TV that isn’t showing the John Lewis advert.
It’s officially Christmas.
And to welcome in the festive season in our Walk of the Month series, we’ve decided to take you up to Alnwick this month, where a gorgeously scenic family-friendly excursion awaits.
On this trail, you’ll walk around the grounds of the famous, Norman-period Alnwick Castle – known, of course, as the setting for the festive favourite Harry Potter films – and along the River Aln, where the neighbouring woodland terrain may see you spotting winter wildlife like robins, red squirrels and even some of Santa’s reindeer.
You’ll also explore the streets of Alnwick on this route, which are sure to be bedecked in all manner of festive finery.
The walk doesn’t require you to purchase a ticket to The Alnwick Garden or Castle, as it follows the perimeter of the grounds to offer you incredible views of both. But if you did fancy visiting the attractions while you’re in the neighbourhood, The Alnwick Garden’s winter light trail is among the finest in the North East.
HLN Hint: This is a popular area for tourists at this time of year, so you’ll want to arrive early to secure parking, although there are plenty of car parks within the centre of Alnwick to choose from.
Setting out from the trailhead, make your way south along Narrowgate for a short distance, passing by a number of restaurants and shops, before making a right onto Fenkle Street.
From here, keep south across Market Street and pass through Dodd’s Lane, working your way through the buildings until you arrive at St Paul’s Memorial Garden.
Heading left on Prudhoe Street, continue on to the east and turn right on B6346, before making the next left onto Infirmary Drive to skirt around the edge of the park. After doing so, you’ll meet up with Denwick Lane and follow it to the northeast, where you will have some amazing views to your left overlooking the grounds of Alnwick Castle and its extravagant gardens.
After crossing over the River Aln, pick up the footpath on the left and follow it west in order to make your way along the riverbank. Take your time here, as the lovely riverside setting makes for a gorgeous winter walking experience and you’ll be able to enjoy some wonderful views of the castle to the southeast.
Eventually, you will arrive at The Lion Bridge; turn left to cross back over the River Aln. From here, continue south along the road to have a close-up view of the castle, before returning back to the trailhead, having completed the Alnwick Castle and Gardens Walk.
HLN Hint: Nearby, the Dirty Bottles is a great place to pop in for some post-walk refreshments.
For more information about the Alnwick Castle and Gardens walk, or for more walking inspo across Northumberland, visit the 10 Adventures’ website