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What's this blog all about?

Hi, I'm Nicola - welcome to a blog begun in 2012 about family travel around the world, without leaving the UK.

I love travel adventures, but to save cash and keep my family's carbon footprint lower, I dreamt up a unique stay-at-home travel experience. So far I've visited 110 countries... without leaving the UK. Join me exploring the next 86! Or have a look at the "countries" you can discover within the UK by scrolling the labels (below right). Here's to happy travel from our doorsteps.

Around 2018 I tried a new way of writing my family's and my own UK travel adventures. Britain is a brilliant place for a staycation, mini-break and day trips. It's also a fantastic place to explore so I've begun to write up reports of places that are easy to reach by public transport. And when they are not that easy to reach I'll offer some tips on how to get there.

See www.nicolabaird.com for info about the seven books I've written, a link to my other blog on thrifty, creative childcare (homemadekids.wordpress.com) or to contact me.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Treehouses, poison plants and broomstick lessons

The historic town of Alnwick is a fantastic place to visit. Despite being a small town on the rural coastline of Northumberland, it is home to one of the most recognisable tourist attractions in the UK: Alnwick Castle.

Alnwick Castle
The castle was chosen to play the role of Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the Harry Potter saga, and has since become a focal point for fans of the films from all over the world. The castle has all sorts of Harry Potter-related attractions and activities for fans of the films such as broomstick training, and is a great day out for all the family.

One of the largest inhabited castles in the UK, Alnwick is owned by the Percy family, who have spent significantly in order to restore the castle to former glories: take a walk around its stately halls and stunning grounds to fully experience the majesty of the castle.
Alnwick Gardens
A short walk from the castle, Alnwick Gardens are owned by the Duchess of Northumberland and since 1995 her efforts to transform the gardens have resulted in a beautiful area where surprise and imagination are present in each garden. Look out for the incredible Grand Cascade – the dramatic focal point of the garden which will draw you in as soon as you enter the garden.

The gardens have been designed by Jacques and Peter Wirtz, celebrated Belgian designers of global renown. They have brought the most beautiful trees and flowers in the world together to create fantastic displays; most recently the addition of 300 Tai Haku cherry trees that are native to Japan and China have added a touch of elegance.

The Poison Garden is a huge attraction too. Filled with plants that can quite literally kill, it’s fascinating to learn about them and the gruesome effects they can have on the human body.

Alnwick Gardens are also home to the Treehouse Restaurant – literally a restaurant up in the trees! The food here is absolutely delicious, although it can be a little pricey, but children are well catered for and you really will not be disappointed.

The town of Alnwick also has plenty of places to eat, whether you feel like some traditional fish and chips or if a spot of tea and cake is more your preference, there are lots of affordable and delicious places to grab a bite to eat. Staying in holiday cottages in Northumberland is a good idea, as there are plenty of cosy places to stay in and around Alnwick that are a little bit nicer than an ordinary B&B.

Steeped in history and a truly beautiful little town, Alnwick is definitely worth a visit thanks to the sheer variety of things do see and do in such a small place.

Around Britain No Plane verdict - we visited with the kids in 2007 and it was wonderful. The link above gives you a place to stay.

Over to you
Where's your favourite British town for a wide ranges of things to do and see?

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