September 22nd, 2011

Hadrian's Wall tree

Northumberland and beyond - part five: Warkworth

It had been quite a tiring day so far and Warkworth Castle, not very far from where I was staying, was my final stop before heading back to my hotel and a very welcome pint (or two) of Guinness. Warkworth was the first Northumberland castle I ever visited, many years ago, and it has a special pull on me because of that. I had driven past it earlier in the morning and, although I had very much wanted to visit all the other places on my day's journey, I was really looking forward to this one. To start with I love the warm, honey colour of the stone used to build it, so much like a lot of places in the south of England.

As with all Northumberland castles, there's lots of history here. But for me, the thing that is fascinating about Warkworth is the combination of it being a ruin and yet still having an almost completely intact keep. The living quarters are still pretty much as they always have been with recognisable rooms and floors. Obviously, it's a bit sparce these days, it is a ruin after all, but you can certainly get a good impression of what the place was like as a living, breathing castle and all that that means.

Unlike Dunstanburgh with its bleak outlook and the long walk to get there - which meant there weren't that many people around when I was there - Warkworth is very easy to get to from the coastal route and is impossible to miss as you drive by. So there were more visitors and it meant that I had to wait around quite often to get the tourist-free photos I wanted. But that's never a hardship, especially when you are in such beautiful and inspiring surrounding as these. I hope you agree.

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