Northumberland Castles Challenge
I feel quite emotional about it. 40 castles?!
Before I go on a massive gush about all the castles we’ve visited, what it’s taught me, my favourite bits, my least favourite bits and my wonderful family and friends who have come on the journey with us…I want to share our final castle in a bit more detail because it was quite frankly a real bonza!
The biggest difference between Morpeth Castle and all the other ones we’ve visited is that it is, for all intents and purposes, a holiday cottage! It has been excellently renovated and is now leased from the Council and run by the Landmark Trust.
So, on Friday afternoon, we set off at 3pm to get there at 4pm (which is the earliest you can check in). Unfortunately this meant that we were finding a castle, hidden in a housing estate, with a postcode that sends you to the wrong place, in the dark…but once we did find it up a secret winding cobbled path, it was really exciting! This huge castle appearing like magic, looming dark and large over us.
This was actually at sunrise…imagine this appearing but in the dark!
After a bit more fumbling in the dark to find the key, we explored our home for the weekend.
With 3 stories, the first floor has a kitchen and living space, with a large dining room table and seating area for lots of guests. Then there is a double room and twin on the middle floor and another twin and a single room on the top floor.
Gabby decided she would share with Reuben on the middle floor in the room next to us. I didn’t blame her…it was kind of creepy arriving in the dark like that. I don’t think Morpeth Castle is meant to be haunted…but let’s say you could certainly feel the history!
The next morning in eerily warm temperatures, we explored the grounds in the daylight and did lots of playing hide and seek!
Gabby working on her photography skills!
Mike calling out of the window to see who wants what for breakfast. From a castle. Like you do.
The castle is right in the middle of Morpeth but I had never noticed it as it’s pretty much hidden in a forrest.
It’s a short walk down the hill to Carlisle Park, which has some lovely facilities for kids, the Railway Station and the town centre for shopping. So we nipped to the shops to stock up for our many guests who would be coming for a mini-celebration for the end of our Castle Challenge.
First up were Emily and Beau, and Cath with Isabella and Baby Sam. They arrived just in time for lunch, more hide and seek and a trip to the roof (which is a bit terrifying with little ones)!
You wouldn’t think it was December – look at those t-shirts!!
After all that excitement, the mums needed a rest with a cuppa. However, there was something about the castle that made all three our of toddlers go a bit bonkers, so after some running around and screaming, we decided it was time to bring out the iPad for 5 minutes rest before they had to back off home.
After dinner, my parents and Brother arrived with their 2 big dogs for the night. As there was no TV (much to Gabby’s surprise!) I had instructed my parents to bring games. So for the rest of the evening we played mini pool, indoor boules and the dreaded Monopoly! Gabriella now LOVES monopoly.
The next morning we did another swap over – my parents left and my older brother, who had just arrived from Japan to spent Christmas in the UK, arrived with his family!
My Brother with my Newphew, Rowan – an expert photo taken by Reuben!
We spent another lovely afternoon exploring the grounds with them and cooking up a feast in the kitchen. And yet more Monopoly!
The next morning we had the most wonderful sunrise, so I got myself out to get a few more photos (the two photos at the top of this post were taken then). The sky went from the deepest pink to the brightest orange in a matter of minutes. Really spectacular.
Then after a few more cuddles with these two, we had to set about tidying up for our 10am kick out time!
Such a fabulous weekend and an amazing way to finish off a year of castle hunting with my darling boy, family and friends!
I’m planning on doing a bit of an epic round up of all our visits between now and the New Year, it may take some time but it’ll be worth it. What a year!