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Big, Bad Bamburgh Castle

Bamburgh Castle from the beach
Bamburgh Castle from the beach
Photo by Michael Hanselmann

One of the most imposing but magnificent castles in England is Bamburgh Castle. It is located in the northern part of the country and sits on the edge of the North Sea. The castle takes up 9 acres of land roughly 15 feet above the coastline. Like most castles, Bamburgh has its share of tales of battles and bloodshed throughout its history. It also has stories showcasing generosity and family pride that still survive today.

In 1610, King James I gave the castle to one of the workers for his loyalty and good work. This act ended several hundred years of royal ownership. Receiving a castle might seem like a wonderfully generous present, but paying for the upkeep kept many families in financial straits throughout the next two hundred and eighty-four years.

In 1894, the 1st Lord Armstrong saw that the castle was up for sale. He bought it for 60,000 pounds (roughly $93,000) and planned to turn it into a convalescent home. Sadly, he died before his dream was realized. His heir, his great-nephew William Watson Armstrong, chose to keep Bamburgh as a family home. However, to honor his great-uncle’s wishes William built Armstrong House, a retirement home still in operation today. Part of Bamburgh Castle is still home to the Armstrong descendents and has been since William’s time.

The family’s generosity and pride can still be felt today on the grounds of Bamburgh Castle. There are 14 public areas for tourists to explore filled with artifacts, history, shops, restaurants and stunning views for pictures and walks. There is also the Bamburgh Research Project where archeologists and archeology enthusiasts can participate in unearthing the mysteries of this part of the world. According to the Bamburgh Castle website, this is “one of the most important Anglo-Saxon archeological sites in the world.”

To learn more about all that goes on and has gone on in this fascinating castle, visit


  • Brenda Bradshaw 5 years ago

    Oh that sounds just lovely. Visiting castles is one of the many things on my personal Bucket List, and this article just makes me crave even more so. It's nice to know they have parts open just for tourists ... hopefully tourists like ME in the near future.

    Excellent -- just excellent!

  • Shari Straight 5 years ago

    Thanks for sharing such a fascinating history - and it looks so beautiful! When I go to Europe again I'll put this on my list of places to visit!

  • Lexi Connor 5 years ago

    Wow! I would LOVE to participate in the archeological work there. I'll have to look into that for my 2011 summer! Thanks!

  • Cheri Harper 5 years ago

    Enjoyed reading about Bamburgh.

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