This guest post has been submitted by Jo who writes a brilliant blog called Kiddie Holidays. Jo has two little boys aged 4 and 2 and has some great adventures with them. If you aren’t already following Jo, do pop over and follow her on twitter @kiddieholidays or on facebook.
Northumberland is a great place for a family holiday. We spent a week there in April 2015 with our 2 boys aged 4 and 2, and one of our holiday highlights was a day out at Alnwick Castle. Both my boys are Mike the Knight fans, but neither of them had been to a ‘real life’ castle before so they were pretty excited!
We arrived just after 10am and headed straight for the Knights Quest area. This area aims to transport children back to 1339 and the first way they do this is by letting the children get dressed up as knights! There are various activities and games in the Knights Quest area including the stocks, medieval games and crafts. 4 year old Matthew made his own tile by rolling out the plaster, choosing the shape of the tile he wanted to make (a castle of course!) and then decorated it with stamps.
Brave knights are invited to enter the Dragon’s Quest, where you enter the dragon’s lair and solve puzzles challenges in order to come face to face with Northumberland’s scariest dragon! My 2 year old was a bit scared of this but the 4 year old loved it.
Next up was Broomstick Training. I has seen photos of children ‘flying’ their broomstick and was very intrigued to see how it was done!. The Broomstick Training is included in the ticket price and is available for people of all ages to participate in. We were taught by 2 very funny ‘professors’ who taught us how to mount a broomstick, go forwards, backwards and stop. It was lots of fun, and at only 20 minutes long was just the right amount of time for even the shortest of attention spans!
We spent most of the rest of our day at Alnwick Castle exploring. The boys LOVED playing on the canons overlooking some stunning scenery. I was quite happy sitting there watching them whilst they clambered over them and imagined firing them. They also loved climbing the castle walls and waving at me from the top.
We had a great day at Alnwick Castle, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for somewhere to take preschool children on a day out. These are some of our top tips on making the most of your day.
7 Top Tips for Visiting Alnwick Castle with Preschool Children.
- Buy your tickets online 24 hours in advance online and save 5%. If you are planning to visit Alnwick Gardens too you can buy a combined ticket which will save you more money. Under 4s are free.
- There is plenty of parking available at the dedicated Alnwick Castle car park for £3 a day.
- Get there at opening time and make the most of the quiet time before the school trips arrive.
- After arriving, go straight to the Knights Quest area and sign up for broomstick training before it gets booked up.
- There is no buggypark but you can take your buggy most places quite easily. The only bit which is a bit tricky is the State Rooms where you have to lift your buggy up about 15 steps but then it is all on one level. One thing to note is that you can’t touch anything – luckily my 2 year old was having a nap when we went in the State Rooms but it could have been a problem if he’d been awake!!
- There are plenty of baby change facilities.
- If it is a sunny day, visit Alnwick Gardens afterwards. Also, make time to visit the Potting Shed which is the ‘café’ next to the more formal Treehouse Restaurant. Grab a coffee and cake and play on the rope bridges and wooden walkways.