Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Alnwick Castle and Garden
This castle was actually our last destination this weekend, so continue to scroll back for pics and stories from Edinburgh.
The Duke of Northumberland and his family actually live in this castle (pronounced 'Annick') in the winter and one of the pages told me the castle is very popular for hunting parties. So Remains of the Day! While the family enjoy very modern accommodations at the top of the castle, they do use some rooms downstairs such as the library and occasionally, the grandest of dining rooms. The library is gigantic, with an equally gigantic bar and roaring fireplace and very comfortable furniture and family photos everywhere. Never mind the four stuffed pet dogs positioned around the room on sofas and carpets. I didn't ask. The oldest son is an honorary page to the Queen and reportedly dating Kate Middleton's sister. It is as close as I will ever come to the Royals and I relished every moment. Being born in a station of life far beneath what I feel is my true station (rich and royal), it is a daily struggle for me to live amongst the little people. The page also told me that the new name for butler is "household controller".
We had so much fun poking around inside and out of this wonderful castle where both Quidditch and Whomping Willow scenes were filmed for the first Harry Potter movie.
The gardens are a separate trust and therefore entrance fee (not cheap either) which was a bit irritating as it seemed one admission price should be enough-- dear Duke, greed is not attractive when one lives as one does. The garden is dubbed the Versailles of the North by the NY Times (one of the only times in my life I have been to one of those random destinations they seem to pick for the travel sections), and while the blooms were past their prime, there were still bees, butterflies and rose blooms a plenty. It wasn't warm but it was sunny and we enjoyed the fountain, a garden maze, hundreds of varieties of roses and a garden full of poison plants (guided only) including belladonna. That was fun and got me thinking...