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TICKETS & PRICES

Adults: 
Children 5-17 Years
Families (2 adults, up to 3 Children): 
Families (1 adult, up to 3 Children): 

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Visiting Castle Warkworth

Located in the Northumberland region, Warkworth Castle towers high above the winding River Coquet. The mediaeval castle belonged to the wealthy Percy family, whose descendants still own it today. Visitors can visit this English Heritage site and learn more about its rich history by purchasing tickets here.

Parking

Parking for English Heritage members is free. Non-members may incur a parking fee of £3  when parking within the 48-vehicle lot on site. Extra parking spaces are available within the nearby Warkworth village, approximately 200 metres (656 feet) from the castle. Additionally, there is a car park on Warkworth Beach, around 1.4 kilometres (0.9 mi) northeast.

 

Price

Ticket fees for entrance to English Heritage sites, including Warkworth Castle, vary depending on the season. To ensure you’re getting accurate pricing, please view the Warkworth Castle calendar on the English Heritage website. Event days may lead to additional costs.

Audio tours are available and are included with admission price. These tours allow visitors to learn more about the history of the Warkworth Castle keep.

Below is a table showing the prices for May 2023 as a reference (these include the advanced booking discount):

 

Ticket Type

With Donation

Without Donation

Member

Free

Free

Adult

£8.50 

£7.70 

Child (5-17 Years)

£4.50 

£4.00

Student (With Valid ID)

£7.50

£6.80

Family (2 Adults, Up to 3 Children)

£21.50 

£19.40 

Family (1 Adult, Up to 3 Children)

£13.00 

£11.70 

Seniors

£7.50 

£6.80

 

Opening

Warkworth Castle is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, to ensure you’re visiting the castle on a day when it’s open, please view the Warkworth Castle calendar on the English Heritage website. The calendar is updated on a weekly basis with opening dates and times.

Location and Access

The location of Warkworth Castle is:

Castle Terrace

Warkworth

Northumberland

NE65 0UJ

Visitors can access the castle by vehicle by travelling along A1068 into the village of Warkworth. The road is approximately 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) south of Alnwick.

The Travelsure 472 service provides a bus line to the castle. You can access the castle via the X18 Arriva bus, which also grants you 20 percent off of your Warkworth Castle ticket. You can leave your vehicle behind at the bus station and get back via bus to hop back into your vehicle for a convenient trip.

Train access is available to Alnmouth Station in Northumberland. The station is approximately 5.6 kilometres (3.5 mi) from the castle.

Know Before You Go

  • There are no on-site eating facilities. For snacks and beverages, there are vending machines offering tea, coffee, ice cream, crisps, and other light options. The gift shop also sells light snacks and beverages. Visitors looking for lunch and dinner choices can travel just outside of the castle grounds to nearby Warkworth village for more substantial food options.
  • Picnics are encouraged. Warkworth Castle allows picnics on the grounds. There are no picnic tables or benches available, however, but guests are more than welcome to use the grassy areas throughout the site.
  • Accessible toilets are available. There are on-site disabled toilets available, along with baby changing sites.
  • Dogs are welcome, including assistance dogs. Dogs must be on a lead at all times. There is a water bowl on-site.
  • Pushchairs are allowed on-site to accommodate younger children. They’ll need to be pushed through smooth, grassy areas.

Warkworth Castle Events

English Heritage regularly hosts events on the Warkworth Castle grounds. 

Past events have included live reenactments surrounding the mediaeval period, educational activities for children and families, and even knight tournaments. The Warkworth Castle Facebook page has hosted various holiday outings, including Easter adventures and Halloween quests. The castle is also listed on English Heritage’s list of creepy castles to visit on Halloween.

Places To Stay Nearby

The Hermitage Inn

.48 km (.3 mi) north

The Hermitage Inn is conveniently located in Warkworth, only a 7-minute walk to Warkworth Castle via A1068. This lodging facility offers a restaurant, bar, and free WiFi. Guest rooms come equipped with tea and coffee makers, a television set, closet, and fresh bed linens and towels. Dining options include a delicious full English/Irish breakfast or a vegetarian option. À la carte choices are also available.

Book

Premier Inn Alnwick

11.9 km (7.4 mi) northwest

This cosy accommodation offers free parking, air conditioned units, and an on-site restaurant. Double, Twin, Family, and Accessible rooms are available for booking. All rooms come equipped with a hairdryer, vanity, and tea and coffee facilities. The Premier Plus rooms come with extra amenities, including a mini-fridge, rainfall shower, and workspace. The on-site bar and grill offers breakfast and dinner, and guests can save more by taking advantage of the meal deal.

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Travelodge Newcastle Seaton Burn 

39.27 km (24.4 mi) south

This Travelodge is located a bit further than the other hotels listed, but it allows visitors to take in the scenic English countryside as they embark on their 30 minute journey to Warkworth Castle. Family, Double, and Double Twin Accessible rooms are available, and they come equipped with a television, fresh towels, desk, tea and coffee facilities, and complimentary toiletries. WiFi is free for 30 minutes, or guests may purchase 24 hours of WiFi for £3 ($3.74).

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History of Warkworth Castle 

Warkworth Castle is a mediaeval castle in Warkworth, Northumberland. Built sometime after the Norman Conquest, its builder is unconfirmed. However, the Percy family has owned it for centuries. The castle has been the subject of numerous sieges, rebellions, and even appears in a Shakespearean play.

Time Line


- Unknown, Possibly Mid-12th Century (Castle Built)

Though it is unknown exactly when Warkworth Castle was built and by and for whom, there are some theories. Prince Henry of Scotland, later Earl of Northumberland, is often given credit for the castle’s construction. He may have built it as a new “seat” after giving up Newcastle and Bamburgh to the Crown in exchange for Earldom.

- 1157 (First Official Record)

It’s also suggested that King Henry II may have built the castle in 1157. However, some historians believe it may have been Roger fitz Richard who built the castle, as he was mentioned in the charter and “granted” the castle the same year.

- 1213 (King John Visits)

Roger fitz Richard’s son, Robert fitz Roger, takes ownership of the castle and hosts King John on its grounds.

- 1214-1268 (Castle Passes Down The Family Line)

The castle continued passing down the family line. By 1249, the castle was considered “noble.” Robert fitz John was the rightful heir to the castle, though he was too young to inherit after his father’s passing. As such, a guardian was appointed to oversee the estates. Robert fitz John finally took ownership in 1268.

- 1292 (King Edward I Stays at Warkworth Castle)

During a conflict involving the Scottish throne, King Edward I was asked to visit the castle to discuss his opinion on the matter. This would eventually lead to the Anglo-Scottish Wars.

- 1310-1319 (Crown Begins Subsidising Castle Repairs)

Around 1310, the Crown began subsidising the repair and construction of castles due to their importance during tensions with Scottish raids in Northern Europe. By 1319, King Edward sent four men-at-arms and hobliars to Warkworth Castle to enhance the twelve men-at-arms already on the site.

- 1327 (Attempted Siege)

Scottish forces attempted to siege Warkworth Castle without success.

- 1328 (Percy Family Promised Rights to Clavering’s Estate)

Henry de Percy, 2nd Baron Percy, made a deal with Edward III. He would provide men-at-arms for Edward III and in exchange, he would receive the rights to Clavering’s estates. Although Parliament declared these types of contracts illegal two years later, Henry de Percy ultimately won out and still inherited the castle.

- 1345 (Percy Family Moves In)

John de Clavering died in 1332 and his window passed 13 years later. His estate then passed to Henry de Percy, thanks to the contract made between Percy and Edward III. The Percy family also owned Alnwick Castle, but Warkworth became their home. During this time, additions were added to the castle, including two residential blocks.

- 1377 (Keep is Built)

The 4th Baron Percy becomes the first Earl of Northumberland and begins construction on the Warkworth Castle Keep.

- 1405-1470 (Warkworth Castle Passes Back and Forth)

After multiple Percy family rebellions against the Crown, Warkworth Castle passed back and forth between the family and royal control. In 1464, the 1st Marquess of Montagu was granted ownership of the castle and awarded the title of Earl of Northumberland. He created Montagu Tower during this time. By 1470, Warkworth Castle was back in the hands of the Percy family.

- 1472 (Collegiate Church Construction)

Another Percy descendant, also called Henry Percy, began building the collegiate church. However, once he passed away, all work on the church ceased and was never completed.

- 1550 (Castle Falls Into Disrepair)

The castle passed back to the Crown in 1537 and was still used by royal officers in 1550. However, it was not being kept up and had begun to languish.

- 1557 (Hall Dismantled)

Thomas Percy was granted Earldom. Afterward, he began completing repairs on the castle. During his repairs and remodelling, he completely dismantled the hall and other buildings on the castle grounds.

- 1569 (Castle Pillaged)

Rebellions against Protestant Queen Elizabeth I led to revolts and Thomas Percy, a Catholic, joined in. After a conflict erupted, the castle again fell to the Crown. It was then pillaged, with timber, furnishings, and various other items being removed from the castle grounds. 

- 1605 (Building Falls Further Into Disrepair)

The castle continues to fall into further disrepair after being rented to Sir Ralph Gray.

- 1644 (Scots Force Warkworth Castle’s Surrender)

During the Scottish invasion of 1644, the castle was surrendered.

- 1648 (Castle Partially Demolished)

The government took over the castle. To prevent the castle from being used by enemy forces, they partially demolished some of the walls and buildings and also took the doors and iron.

- 1672 (Materials Removed from Castle)

Various cartloads of material were removed from the castle’s keep to build Chirton Hall. This was at the order of Elizabeth Percy, Countess of Northumberland.

- 1752 (Curtain Wall Demolished)

Warkworth Castle remained in a state of disrepair. The southwestern tower was in shambles and the eastern curtain wall was completely demolished (and later rebuilt).

- Mid-19th Century (Preservation Work)

As the castle grounds became more popular among tourists, the 3rd Duke of Northumberland began repairing parts of the castle in order to preserve its history. Work continued with the 4th Duke of Northumberland who restored the keep and discovered the remnants of the incomplete church. 

- 1922 (Custodianship Granted to Office of Works)

Seeing the castle as a site of historic importance, the 8th Duke of Northumberland put the castle into the care of the Office of Works.

- 1984 to Present (English Heritage Maintains the Site)

In 1984, English Heritage began managing the site and still protects it today.

Warkworth Castle Occupants

  • 1157: Henry II may have founded Warkworth Castle, as he built other castles in the area. He granted the castle and surrounding manor to Roger fitz Richard, a noble Norman, the same year.
  • 1199: Robert fitz Roger confirmed ownership of the castle once he became of legal age after his father’s death in 1178.
  • 1214: John, son of Robert fitz Roger, takes ownership of the castle after his father’s death. 
  • 1240: Roger, son of John, takes the castle after John’s death.
  • 1249: William de Valence, half-brother of King Henry III, was the official overseer of the castle after Roger’s death, as Roger’s heir, Robert fitz John, was not old enough to legally inherit.
  • 1268: Robert fitz John officially takes ownership of the castle.
  • 1292: King Edward I was invited to Warkworth Castle to settle a dispute concerning the Scottish throne. Shortly after expressing his opinion on the matter, the Anglo-Scottish Wars began.
  • 1310: John de Clavering inherited Warkworth Castle after the death of Robert fitz John. In his will, he granted the castle and all of his lands to the king.
  • 1322: Ralph Neville acted as the keeper of the castle.
  • 1345: Henry de Percy inherited John de Clavering’s estate after making a deal with King Edward III.
  • 1377: Fourth Baron Percy, Henry Percy, inherits the castle and begins work on the keep.
  • 1405: John, Duke of Bedford, begins living in the castle after ownership reverts to the crown after a Percy rebellion.
  • 1416: The Percy Family regains control of the castle after Henry V grants ownership back to them.
  • 1464: 1st Marquess of Montagu, Earl of Northumberland, 16th Earl of Warwick, receives ownership of the castle. He constructs Montagu’s Tower.
  • 1470: Henry Percy, Fourth Earl of Northumberland, is granted ownership of Warkworth Castle.
  • 1489: Henry Algernon, son of Henry Percy, inherits the castle.
  • 1543: Sir William Parr lived at the castle and began repairing the buildings.
  • 1569: - Sir John Forster controlled the castle after another Percy rebellion.
  • 1574: - Henry Percy, 8th Earl of Northumberland, takes control of Warkworth Castle.
  • 1585: - Henry Percy, another Percy descendant and the 9th Earl of Northumberland, inherits the castle.
  • 1605: The 9th Earl rents the castle to Sir Ralph Gray who does not properly care for the building.
  • 1750: Lady Elizabeth Seymour receives ownership from her father. Her husband then inherited it by marriage, and it passed on through the Dukes of Northumberland, beginning with Hugh Smithson (who later changed his surname to Percy).
  • Mid 19th Century: The 4th Duke of Northumberland maintained ownership of the castle and restored the keep.

Warkworth Castle Architecture

General Layout

Warkworth Castle is a mediaeval motte and bailey castle with its primary structures originally built using wood. Later, these buildings were reconstructed in stone. A moat surrounds the eastern, western, and southern side of the castle. There is a curtain wall around the grounds, with four wall towers. The keep sits high above the courtyard, where wooden buildings once stood.

Original Layout

Outer Bailey

The stunning gatehouse at the centre of a curtain wall is where castle visitors would enter using a drawbridge. The top of the gatehouse features openings along the wall where guards could drop objects down to thwart potential attackers. Cross-shaped arrow slits are observed in the masonry where archers could launch arrows from the safety of the stone walls.

During the castle’s heyday, the doors were two iron gates and a portcullis, which is a gate lowered down from above. The two rooms on each side of the gatehouse entryway served as rooms for the castle guards where they could watch who entered the grounds.

Towers

There were four towers along the curtain walls:

Bailey

During the middle ages, guests visiting the castle grounds would walk in the gates to see multiple buildings made of timber, much like a marketplace. There would have been blacksmiths, stonemasons, gardeners, and stable hands on the grounds.

A stable stood along the eastern curtain wall where castle guests could secure their horses. In the castle’s heyday, the stable stood two storeys high. West of the stables sat a well-house, where water was drawn.

The Lion Tower was magnificent during the middle ages, as it featured a lion sculpture that sat atop the stone entryway as an emblem of the Earls. Above the lion were the arms of the Percy and Lucy families. The entrance of the tower led to the Great Hall along the western curtain wall.

A doorway from the Great Hall led off to the incomplete church commissioned by Henry Percy in 1472. Heading in the direction of the keep sat the buttery (where drinks were stored), a pantry, and a kitchen. The small gate near the kitchen was likely used for bringing stores into the castle.

Grand social gatherings and celebrations took place in the Great Hall. While most guests entered through the Lion Tower, the Earl and his esteemed guests would enter from his private chambers and a separate hallway. His entrance and the main entrance were heated by open hearths.

Keep (Great Tower)

The castle keep would appear large and mighty as it towered over the castle and surrounding village of Warkworth.

Referred to as an “architectural masterpiece,” the Keep was laid out not only for fortification, but also for comfort and is designed in the shape of a Greek cross.

The entrance of the Keep was set higher than ground level on the motte. This was so that the staircase could be dismantled in case of an attack.

On top of the keep were carvings of angels with shields, which symbolises protection. There is also yet another lion which represents the Percy family’s coat of arms. It’s believed that these carvings would have been painted during the middle ages, and therefore stood out against the stone.

A lookout sits on top of the keep tower. Before the keep’s roof was removed, the lookout would have appeared less prominent.

Upon entering the keep, there is a small entryway with an area off to the side where noble guests could wait to visit with the Earl.

Along the western wall, there was a small entrance where goods could enter the keep. For efficiency, the kitchens also sat along the western side of the keep on the first floor and were conveniently connected to the stores below via stairwells.

There is a Great Hall inside of the keep where the Earl would meet with guests. The second floor featured bedrooms and withdrawing rooms.

Modern Layout

Today, tourists visiting the castle enter the gatehouse through a regular bridge, not a drawbridge. The door is a simple iron double-door. The portcullis is no longer in use, though looking up, you can still see the gap from where it was once lowered down.

Today, upon entering the castle grounds, there are multiple ruinous foundations and buildings, four towers, and the magnificent keep overlooking the site and surrounding village.

Carrickfergus Tower is in disrepair, partially collapsed in the southwestern corner. The Little Square Tower is also in a ruinous state, though visitors can still see the remnants of a stone spiral staircase. Montagu’s Tower still sits in the southeastern corner of the castle grounds with damage, and the Grey Mare Tail’s Tower is also crumbling.

The original timber buildings are long gone. Visitors must use their imagination to visualise what the castle courtyard would have looked like with blacksmith shops, stonemasons, bakeries, and other buildings standing in the grassy area.

Along the eastern curtain wall is the ruined foundation of the stables. Just west is the location of the original well-house, though there isn’t much to see in modern times.

Visitors can easily spot the Lion Tower, as it still stands tall and mighty, with the lion sculpture on top, albeit a bit damaged. The arms above the lion are also in a clear state of disrepair.

Through the Lion Tower, guests can find passages that lead to the remnants of the incomplete church foundation and the kitchen areas. These sections of the castle are no more than stone foundations today. However, along the two entrances leading to the Great Hall, there are the remnants of two hearths.

The Keep is perhaps the most famous part of the mediaeval castle. Much of it is still intact and open for public viewing.

Images of Warkworth Castle

Warkworth Castle Warkworth Castle Warkworth Castle Warkworth Castle Warkworth Castle Warkworth Castle
Warkworth Castle Warkworth Castle Warkworth Castle Warkworth Castle Warkworth Castle Warkworth Castle

Images Supplied and licensed from Shutterstock Standard Licence Package

What Can I See During Visit to Warkworth Castle?

  1. Check out the Duke’s Room exhibition during the summer. On select days in the summer months, the Duke’s Room is open to the public. These rooms are fully furnished within the stunning castle keep. Check with the English Heritage organisation before your visit to check opening days.
  2. Try the interactive trails. In 2023, English Heritage erected sculptures on the site of Warkworth Castle. These sculptures are part of an interactive experience that teaches visitors about the lives of those living in or around the castle during the middle ages.
  3. Explore the activities for children. The courtyard of the castle boasts wide, open, grassy areas for children to frolick, run, and play. “Discovery sacks” are available that provide activity sheets, a guide book, and other activities for kids to follow while exploring Warkworth Castle.

Warkworth Castle Facts

  1. Warkworth Castle has a resident ghost. Visitors into ghost hunting may catch a glimpse of a young lad running about the castle grounds, or the spirit of a woman. People refer to the ghost woman as the “Grey Lady,” and it’s believed she is the spirit of Margaret Percy (Neville), who died at Warkworth Castle on 13 May 1372. She is usually seen within the windows of the castle towers.
  2. The castle was the site of a gruesome stabbing. Sir Fulke Greville took possession of the castle and began investing money into repairs. His servant wasn’t happy about the spending; he thought his inheritance from Greville’s will wasn’t large enough. Greville ignored him. Blinded by rage and greed, the servant stabbed Greville and then himself. Greville died when the wounds became infected (after being “treated” with pig fat).
  3. The unfinished Collegiate Church includes two crypts. While the church is mainly a ruinous stone foundation, the crypts are relatively intact. In the large, partially underground crypt, there is only a little natural light. Here, guests can view the stone walls and vaulted ceilings. It’s believed this crypt once held the tombs of the dead, while the other crypt was used by the Priest.
  4. The Hermitage was a private chapel. A walk of less than half a kilometre (.3 mi) leads visitors up the River Coquet, where a boat leads them to the Hermitage. This small, private chapel was carved directly into the natural stone. Here, a priest or “hermit” would offer blessings to those who came to meditate or pray.
  5. Warkworth Castle has been featured on television. The castle appears in at least three TV series, including
    • The 1991 television series, “Spender”
    • “Elizabeth,” a 1998 documentary concerning the reign of Elizabeth I
    • A 2006 biographical drama about Elizabeth I called “The Virgin Queen”
  6. William Shakespeare features Warkworth Castle in “Henry IV, Part 1 and Part 2.” Several scenes from the play mention it, including the quote, “this worm-eaten hold of ragged stone,” which describes the castle.
  7. The castle is still owned by Percy descendants. As of 2023, Warkworth Castle was owned by the 12th Duke of Northumberland, a Percy family member.
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Warkworth Castle Q&A

Why is Warkworth Castle Famous?

Warkworth Castle is famous for its impressive size and architectural design. It is a well-preserved castle in northern England, and its unusual keep was designed for both protection and comfort. The castle is also recognized for its importance for the preeminent Percy family during the middle ages.

Was Harry Potter Filmed at Warkworth Castle?

Harry Potter was not filmed at Warkworth Castle. Various scenes in the beloved fantasy flick were filmed about 12.4 kilometres (7.7 mi) north at Alnwick Castle. Alnwick Castle acted as Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

What Happened to Warkworth Castle?

By 1752, Warkworth Castle had fallen into a major state of disrepair. Many buildings and walls had collapsed and various parts of the structure had been hauled away for use in other nearby structures. However, the castle quickly developed popularity among tourists and still remains a popular tourist attraction today.

Do You Have To Pay To Go to Warkworth Castle?

Guests who are not English Heritage members must pay to go to Warkworth Castle. Prices start as low as £3.60 ($4.48), but vary depending on the type of ticket purchased (i.e., adult, child, student, family, etc.). English Heritage members enter for free.

What Type of Castle is Warkworth Castle?

Warkworth Castle is a motte and bailey castle. A “motte” is an artificial hill or mound built for a castle or camp. A “bailey” is a courtyard protected by a curtain wall, typically made of stone. Motte and bailey designs are the typical mediaeval style that people think of when imagining a castle.

Location of Warkworth Castle

Warkworth Castle is located in the small village of Warkworth in the English countryside. The village sits in the county of Northumberland on the banks of the winding River Coquet. Warkworth is less than 1.6 kilometres (1 mi) from the northeastern coast of England and 60 kilometres (40 mi) south of the Scottish border.

The village of Warkworth is quaint and quiet, home to roughly 1,600 inhabitants. It’s best known for Warkworth Castle and the Hermitage. The area is quite popular with visitors from all over, due to its old buildings of historical importance, its scenic river, and the fact that the Northumberland Coast is listed as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Other Places To Visit Near Warkworth Castle

Alnwick Castle

Dating back to the Norman period, Alnwick Castle has a rich history steeped in military operations, education, and refuge. Like Warkworth Castle, Alnwick is deeply connected to the prestigious Percy family. The castle has served as a filming location for the iconic Harry Potter films.

Cabosse

As you visit the quaint village of Warkworth, don’t forget to stop by Cabosse, a confectionary shop within the heart of the historic town centre. The independently owned candy shop offers cakes, pastries, creams, and even housewares and gifts. 

Warkworth Beach

For stunning views, scenic walks, and a quiet getaway, check out Warkworth Beach. The beach is only a stone’s throw away from Warkworth Castle and a short walk from the village. There are kilometres of flat, sparkling golden sands and clear ocean waters. A car park nearby features toilet facilities.

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