The Best and Most Unusual Things about Alnwick, England

Updated August 16, 2020.

Our time in Alnwick was far too short, but I couldn’t stop being amazed everywhere I looked! Alnwick has found recent incredible fame as home to the Hogwarts (Alnwick Castle), but there’s so much more to it than that! The whole reason I went there was to have dinner with my brother at the White Swan Hotel. Keep reading to find out why that was worth the trip! Here are seven things that make Alnwick so unusually wonderful!

The Bottles

I stumbled upon one of the quirkiest things about Alnwick on my morning run! I’m that person who stops to read plaques on old buildings, and that’s when I learned about the bottles.

Haunted bottles?!
They have truly never been touched or cleaned since 1725!

Movie Magic at Alnwick Castle

You probably already know about movies like Harry Potter, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and Transformers: The Last Night. They, along with many other films and TV shows, were filmed at least in part at Alnwick Castle! One look at the Castle and you can see why it makes such a dramatic backdrop for filming!

Alnwick Castle
More here: What to Know Before You Visit the United Kingdom

Wizard Training

Want a bit of a “movie moment” of your own? Attend Wizard Training at Alnwick Castle! Learn those essential wizardry skills whether you’re young or old, male or female, wizard or wannabe!

Preparing for Wizard Training at the Castle!
Keep reading: What to Know Before You Visit Alnwick

The Poison Garden

One more thing you have to experience at Alnwick Castle is the poison garden! That’s right! They have a legal garden full of poisonous plants. You must visit with a guided tour, which is included in the price of your ticket to the Castle Gardens, and I can guarantee it’s one of the most unusual things you’ll ever do!

Do not enter alone!
Don’t eat the plants: What to Eat in the United Kingdom

Barter Books

On our way to Anlwick from the Alnmouth train station, we asked our taxi driver what we needed to do or see in Alnwick on such a short visit. Without hesitating, he recommended Barter Books, one of the largest second-hand bookstores in all of Britain! It’s housed in an old train station (complete with toy trains running around the store), and you could get lost in there for hours!


They have first editions, rare books, autographed books, and just regular run-of-the-mill second hand books, too! I picked up the perfect Christmas gift here for my mom, but don’t tell her!

Need a comfy place to read that new book? How about an antique settee?
Read next: How to Surprise Someone with Travel

Keep Calm and Carry On

There’s something else about Barter Books that makes it even more unique… There are only two original “Keep Calm and Carry On” posters left from 1939 during World War II, and one of them is here! You can even order a copy of your own on their website!

“Keep Calm and Carry On”

The Olympic Restaurant

This is the reason we had to put Alnwick on our list of “things to do.” My brother has always been so interested in the Titanic, so we decided to go to Belfast and see the museum and the place where she was built! At the same time Titanic was being built, the Olympic, a sister ship, was also under construction. They had the same design and many of the same finishings. When the Olympic retired and went for scrap, pieces of the ship were sold to the highest bidder.

The White Swan Hotel now possesses the first class lounge. And it’s all in the hotel’s dining room! They also have the staircase and revolving door incorporated into their hotel as well.

The Olympic Dining Room
Close-up of the windows and ceiling detail.
Intricate woodwork details.
More here: What to Eat at the Olympic Restaurant

Are you planning your own trip to Alnwick? If not, perhaps you should! Check out my United Kingdom Page for more!

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2 responses to “The Best and Most Unusual Things about Alnwick, England”

  1. I just Google Mapped it. That’s way up north. Alas, we’ll be in central England soon (Peak District, northern Wales, and points further south), so Alnwick will have to wait for another time. Sounds like a fun place, though.

    1. quickwhittravel Avatar

      Definitely worth coming back for! Have so much fun in England and Wales, though!

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