Alnwick Castle, situated in the County of Northumberland, is one of the principal seats of the Percy family, Dukes and Earls of Northumberland, and certainly one of the best specimens of a baronial residence in the United Kingdom. It is positioned on the south side of the river Aln, upon an elevation which presents its lofty towers and embattled fronts in all the dignity and grandeur of a Gothic palace. In ancient times its situation rendered it an important fortress, and its history is interwoven with that of the kingdom at large.
The Castle stands in a spacious area, which at the time of its greatest strength completely surrounded it, defended by a complete circumvallation, with an inner and an outer moat. At present, the front is open on the northeast, towards the Battery, and the wall having towers at proper intervals, shuts it in on the other quarters. To the south-east is the beautifully designed Alnwick Garden, and to the south and west, the town of Alnwick spreads on the background.
The Castle, as well as the Barony of Alnwick, came into the possession of the Percies, a family of high distinction in Yorkshire from the time of the conquest. The Castle, given to the Bishop of Durham in 1297, was sold to Henry de Percy, 1st Lord Percy of Alnwick, in 1309. On becoming the owner, Lord Percy, immediately began to repair the Castle, and his successors, afterward Earls of Northumberland, perfected and completed both this citadel and its outworks.
The two impressing octagon towers which were added to the old Saxon gateway, and form the entrance into the inner ward, were erected around 1350, by the second Lord Percy of Alnwick.
The approach to the Castle retains much of the solemn grandeur of former times. The moat is drained, and the ceremony of letting down the drawbridge is discarded, but the walls which enclose the area still wear the ancient countenance of strength and defiance.
For further details please visit the official Alnwick Castle website.