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An important northern landmark, and an icon of the county of Northumbria

Bamburgh Castle is an important northern landmark, and an icon of the county of Northumbria. It stands tall on a raised rocky outcrop, gazing out into the North Sea. From its battlements, you can see as far as Lindisfarne, and the Farne Islands. On the mainland, it can be seen for miles; its turrets and walls rising up impossibly high. For would-be attackers, the sight of Bamburgh must have been the most disheartening thing they'd ever laid eyes on.

Bamburgh Castle at dawn
Photo David-White
The first fort to have been built on this site dates back to at least the 6th century. It was ruled over by the old Kings of Northumbria. Between then and now, the castle has seen plenty of action. It was taken over and rebuilt by William the Conqueror, and defeated by artillery in the War of the Roses.

Bamburgh Castle
Photo alexbrn
After so much damage, by now, the building should have become a barely-recognisable ruin. Thankfully though, after a few years of half-hearted restoration attempts, the building was bought by a talented engineer called Lord Armstrong. From the late 1890s onward, he took charge of the extensive repairs. The work was then passed down to his nephew, the second Lord Armstrong, before it eventually reached completion in the 20th century. In 1931, Bamburgh was once again opened to the public, and since then, it has been often regarded as England's finest castle. It is still owned by the Armstrong family.

Bamburgh Castle from the village
Photo mikebrown59
The structure is so striking that it has featured in dozens of television programmes and films, including BBC documentaries, and major Hollywood features. Most recently, it was used in the shooting of the Robin Hood picture, starring Russell Crowe.
The public are still admitted to this huge building, which contains everything from military towers and imposing gatehouses, to a banqueting hall and medieval kitchen. Every inch is filled with interesting sights, such as the old fire station in the stables, or Bamburgh's very own windmill.

Inside Bamburgh Castle
Photo xlibber
Over the last few decades, the castle has also been the site of regular archaeological digs. Thanks to Bamburgh's long history, there are all sorts of things hidden just beneath the surface. The two best examples are the Bamburgh Beast, a golden plaque, and the Bamburgh Sword, a fabulous weapon that almost surely belonged to a royal family member. These are both on display at the Archaeology Museum contained within the castle.
If you're interested in the history of the place, then you should also head into the old laundry building, which has been converted into the Armstrong and Aviation Museum. This includes debris from shot down World War 2 planes, retrieved by resourceful locals who put them to novel use while materials were hard to come by! As well as displaying a range of aircraft-related artefacts, the museum also remembers the life and achievements of the original Lord Armstrong, without whom, Bamburgh Castle could not exist.
Visitor Information
Bamburgh Castle is open daily, mid-February to October, 10am to 5pm (open weekends in winter, 11am to 4.30pm). Entry costs around £8 for adults, £4 children. Bamburgh Castle, NE69 7DF. Tel: 01668 214515

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