Updated: Apr 1, 2019
Hello readers! Another week, another post from yours truly. This weekend, Rachel and I traveled to the Northern borders of England to visit the Alnwick Castle (aka Hogwarts)! For those of you who don't know about the Alnwick Castle---it's where the first two Harry Potter movies were filmed! Well, at least the castle and courtyard scenes. Before our stop at Hogwarts, we had a short stop to see the harbor in Dunbar, which is still considered to be in Scotland territory! We only stopped for about 45 minutes, so not a lot of time to explore and see anything. The views on the harbor were beautiful though with the morning skyline and waves crashing on the rocks below. After our short stop, we were off to Alnwick! A common joke I hear a lot from people in Scotland is, "The best thing about England is the road back to Scotland." So obviously as we passed into England, this joke was told by our very Scottish bus driver. It was all in good spirit though!
We arrived at the Alnwick Castle around 11:30am! We had about three hours to explore and try to match up the Harry Potter scene snapshots we got from our tour guide to the real life area where it was filmed. It was a lot harder than we thought! One of them we couldn't find, but we think it was in an area where we weren't allowed to explore. I've attached pictures to this post with out attempts to align the photos! At the Alnwick Castle, they had broomstick flying lessons and a couple different guided tours of the area. We decided to explore it on our own--plus the broomstick flying lessons were full! If you follow me on Instagram, you could see some of my silly Harry Potter pictures (like me catching the snitch!) I took throughout the day! There really wasn't much to this visit other than seeing the castle and the courtyard where they shot the Harry Potter scenes. Alnwick Castle is the second largest inhabited royal castle in England! Can anyone guess what the first on is? Comment on my post and I'll tell you if you're right (it's really obvious, I'm not trying to trick you at all)! Right outside the castle are the gardens, which would have been another ten pounds, so we decided not to go inside that exhibit. We did get to walk around though and found a flower field where we spend a decent amount of time taking some Instagram worthy pictures. There was also a "treehouse," which was really just two restaurants (where you have to have a reservation apparently) and a couple of bridges up in the trees. It really wasn't anything compared to what I've seen amusement treehouses to be. By "amusement treehouses" I mean like the Jurassic Park jungle gym in Universal Studios or Tom Sawyer's treehouse in Disney (but then again those are multimillion dollar companies that charge you to go to those places). Exploring the gardens gift shop, I found an authentic England biscuit brand that sold their products in the cutest tins! Not going to lie, I bought one purely for the tin, but the salted caramel biscuits were a plus. I'm glad I bought that though because then I couldn't buy anything from the Harry Potter gift shop they had. Harry Potter merchandise stores are so dangerous for me because I just have no self control. Well, I have to have more self control now since it's my money (with no source of income). I apologize in advance to my parents because when you guys get here I really will have no self control. I would recommend this castle to anyone who is interested in royal history or Harry Potter (there's stuff to do for those who don't necessarily like Harry Potter).
On our way back to Scotland we stopped in Bamburgh to see the Bamburgh Castle and beach! To get to the beach, we had to walk through sand dunes, which I hadn't seen since Dubai! It was super cool and picturesque with the growth and little ponds scattered throughout the path. When we finally arrived to the beach to the North Sea, and OH MY GOSH. It was the most beautiful beach I have seen since being in Scotland (technically we were still in England, but I mean since I've been abroad). The sky was reflecting off the sand perfectly, so it looked like you were standing on the clouds! The tide was very low, so we could walk out quite a ways before the water rolled in. We walked around the castle on some different paths, which was very relaxing. It was big enough that you didn't run into people, so it was the perfect getaway. Plus you could bring your dogs to the beach! There were so many cute puppies! We only had about an hour here, so we couldn't explore the actual town that much. Driving past the store fronts, it looks like they have a lot of mom and pop shops and a lot of seafood restaurants (which must be good food since they are on the harbor)!
Overall, I would say this trip was pretty successful. I had a lot of fun visiting Hogwarts and to be able to nerd out with fellow Harry Potter fans! I'm also a sucker for beaches, so Bamburgh was one of my favorite stops! I think it would be so much fun to live in a small beach town like that, but my kind of beach needs to be warm. So Scotland is probably not a long term residence for me, but I do enjoy the views! This weekend I will be heading to Ibiza (yes, a WARM beach)! Depending on my WIFI situation, I may or may not get to my weekly post next Sunday. Since we are flying in to London on the way back, we may or may not stay in London for a couple days. I really want to go to London sometime before I leave the U.K, but tickets to and from are very expensive. We're thinking if we're already going to be there, might as well explore it! Nothing is set in stone right now, but if we do end of staying in London, that will be my last big trip! The next month will be me focusing on school (haha, what's that?) and getting my assignments done before my family gets here! I really only have one month left, which is crazy to think about...and only two weeks left worth of class! The school schedule here is a little different---so our classes finish, but we have about three weeks to finish the final assessments and study for any exams (which I don't have). Until my next post, enjoy these pictures of my adventure to Hogwarts!