Bamburgh Castle | Magnificent Northumberland fortress

Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland is one of its largest inhabited castles, spanning over nine acres of land on its rocky plateau.

Here’s our guide to this magnificent, ancient fortress…

bamburgh castles
Bamburgh Castle

Where Is The Castle?

For almost 1,400 years, Bamburgh Castle has guarded the magnificent Northumberland coastline in the North East. You can find this castle on the coastline above the Bamburgh Beach in the village of Bamburgh.

When Was It Built And By Who?

Underneath the Norman castle that we see now, there is some interesting early medieval archaeology.

A castle was erected in the sixth century as part of the advanced border dividing England and Scotland. According to legend, King Ida, one of the earliest Anglian kings of the north, must have built it in 547.

The name means ‘Bebba’s Fort’. Ida’s grandson most likely named it after his queen, Bebba (593-617).

What Is The History of Bamburgh Castle?

From its establishment in c. 420 until 547, the site was a Celtic Brittonic fort, Din Guarie. It may have been the capital of Kingdom Bernicia. The fort changed hands three times between Anglo-Saxons and Britons until falling under Anglo-Saxon authority in 590.

Vikings demolished the fort in 993, and the Normans rebuilt a new castle on the site, which now serves as the nucleus of the current one. In 1095, it became the possession of the English monarch after a revolt led by the castle’s owner.

Financial troubles caused the castle to deteriorate in the 17th century. However, its successive owners in the 18th and 19th centuries rebuilt it. Eventually, the Victorian-era entrepreneur, William Armstrong, purchased and restored it.

William Armstrong

The Armstrong family still owns the castle, which is available to the public. The contemporary renovation of the building as a “fairy-tale” castle took place between 1894 and 1905. The interiors are richly panelled and full of Edwardian melancholy.

The basement and kitchens are the only important medieval rooms aside from the keep itself.

How To See The Castle Today

Due to the COVID-19 scenario, multiple new rules have come into place. If you follow them with proper guidance, you will get the best of your trip. Some of them are:

  • Pre-Book Tickets: While there will be a limited number of tickets available on the day, you may obtain Fastrack access by purchasing pre-booked advance tickets online. The only issue is you won’t be able to reserve times in advance.
  • Check The Website: The team will keep a close eye on government rules and keep you informed of any changes via our website and social media.
  • Contactless Process: Bamburgh Castle does not take cash for health and safety reasons. The team only accepts credit cards for payment.
  • Face Marks: The staff and visitors should wear masks while indoors to reduce the risk of infection.
  • Parking: You can only make payments via a contactless system. Please have your card available and observe the parking guidelines, keeping a safe social distance from other people in our parking lots.
  • New Signage: Encourage NHS Track and Trace by using the QR codes at their door to check-in. You can follow the signing around the grounds to check the designated routes.
  • Screens: At areas of face-to-face contacts, such as the food and beverage outlets and the ticket office, and shop counters, hygiene screens are in place.
  • Hygiene and disinfection: Tourists should sanitize and wash their hands frequently during the visit.