Bamburgh Castle

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Several people have recently asked me about the header image for this blog. It is Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland. In August 2009, we spent a very enjoyable week in Northumberland, England’s most Northern county and its most sparsely populated. Even in the midst of the summer holiday season, it was easy to find peace and solitude.

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We stayed in Seahouses, just down the coast from Bamburgh, and with spectacular views of the iconic castle. Despite Northumberland’s reputation for terrible weather, we had a week of sunny days and, every night, spectacular sunsets.

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Bamburgh Castle stands on a basalt outcrop. The first written record of a fort on the site dates from 547CE but a fort had probably been there for at least a century. The Vikings destroyed the original fort in 993. At the heart of the present castle stands a Norman structure. Further building took place over the next several centuries but the castle finally fell into neglect in the 1700s.

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The Victorian industrialist William Armstrong completed restoration of the castle and it is still owned by the Armstrong family. It is open to the public and has also been used as a location for several movies, including most recently the 1998 film, Elizabeth.

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If you are ever in the area, Bamburgh Castle is well worth a visit, but beware: last admission is at 3.30 and the castle closes at 5 but the staff were so eager to get home that they started clearing us out at 4.30. An hour is most definitely not long enough to see the castle and admission is not especially cheap!

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