Category Archives: Reviews

Northumberland; Broomsticks & Bludgers at Alnwick Castle

If I had a pound for every post I wrote about Harry Potter I’d be a very rich girl, but, here goes another! Last week I took a trip to Northumberland and stayed with the fabulous St Mary’s Inn, Morpeth (review found here). Making the most of the trip we headed over to Alnwick Castle. Alnwick Castle is located in the historic market town of Alnwick in the North East of England, the castle is INSTANTLY recognisable as Hogwarts but it is also home to the show Downtown Abbey and is set for many more TV shows and films. Alnwick Castle was built as a medieval fortress and has been the home of the Percy’s, Earls and Dukes of Northumberland, since 1309. Today, Alnwick Castle is the second largest inhabited castle in England as it is the home of the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland and their family.

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Alnwick Castle is open each year from April 1st to October 31st, during this period the trust sees an influx of 200,000 visitors. The castle has been a widely used film location but these days the castle draws most of its attention from Harry Potter fanatics. The castle was featured as Hogwarts in the first two Harry Potter movies filming flying lesson with broomsticks in the first movie, The Philosopher’s Stone, and Ron & Harry’s Ford Anglia scene from the Chamber of Secrets.

The castle offers a wide variety of activities for visitors, whilst there take part in your choice of guided tours of the castle and grounds, archery lessons, magic and wizardry with a Harry Potter theme and a Knight’s Quest. Harry Potter activities, my personal pick, include a Battlesticks to Broomstick tour, three sessions a day of Broomstick Training with Hogwarts prefects and Magic with Hagrid and Dumbledore. We were a little late in the sign up for Broomstick Training so my tip if you really want to try this out is to pre-book, particularly in the school holidays. Broomstick Training is available to all age groups so don’t feel silly if you’re wanting to give it a go!

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Alnwick Castle offers so much for all ages and is most definitely my pick for anyone visiting Northumberland, whether you’re a Harry Potter Fanatic or interested in the local history you’re bound to have a great day out with Alnwick Castle. Don’t forget to hit up the Gift Shop before you leave, a wide variety of Film Memorabilia is available for purchase.

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Rebekah Esme was invited as a guest of Alnwick Castle and The Northumberland Tourism Board, as always, my views are my own. Please also find my review featured on the Northumberland Tourism Board Blog here

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Matilda on Broadway, New York City

We’ve all seen Matilda, that childhood classic. The story of a bright and rebellious little girl, with special powers. Matilda’s parents, Mr and Mrs Wormwood, have no time for her and treat her as a nuisance. She spends most of her time reading books from the library astonishingly quickly, whilst they watch TV. Life for Matilda is no better at school despite the care and support of her teacher, Miss Honey. Matilda decides the grown-ups should be taught a lesson and in the process discovers her supernatural powers!

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Roald Dahl’s Matilda is performed at the Sam S Shubert Theater on Broadway! Such a beautiful theater only a stones throw away from Times Square. I was so excited to see Matilda on Broadway as I’d heard great reviews of the show! We headed off to TKTS ticket booth to pick up our last minute tickets for the show and, of course, the only tickets available were in the upper tier. FEAR NOT FRIENDS, this matters not! The theater itself is small in comparison to so many others so although we were ‘high’ up, this was nothing compared to the seat’s we’ve had in the past.

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