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The Local Area Guide to living in Alnwick

Alnwick is a busy little town situated amidst the stunning scenery of Northumberland, 34 miles to the north of Newcastle Upon Tyne and 86 miles to the south of the Scottish capital of Edinburgh.

The town has extensive historical roots, and was originally an important regional centre for agriculture. At the beginning of the 14th century, Alnwick became the home of a very powerful baronial family, The Earls of Northumberland, who constructed the stunning Alnwick Castle, where the family still reside to this day.

The town of Alnwick sits behind the castle, and has a delightfully medieval feel, with a jumble of attractive cobbled streets. The buildings are made of handsome local stone and house a great range of shops, cafes, bars and restaurants, plus other attractions like gardens, museums and galleries. The town is located close to the North Pennines and is only five miles from the coast.

Information about local residents

At the last count in 2011, the town had 8,116 residents, the average age of whom was 41, making it a relatively youthful town that is popular with families. The top employment sectors for people in Alnwick is skilled occupations (15.5%), professionals (14.3%) and leisure, caring and other services (12.8%). 49% of the population are male and 51% are female.

The town has a strong sense of community, with a recent survey by Northumberland InfoNet finding that 74.5% of residents strongly feeling that ‘they belong to their immediate neighbourhoods’.

Nearby schools

Alnwick has plenty of schools to choose from and many of them, including St Paul’s Roman Catholic Middle School, Lindisfarne Middle School and The Dukes Middle School, have been classed as being ‘good’ by inspection body Ofsted. Middle schools accept pupils between the ages of 9 and 13, whilst first schools cater for those between 2 and 9, such as Swansfield Park First School and St Michael’s C of E First School, rated as ‘outstanding’ and ‘good’ respectively.

The town has one school that caters for the students between the ages of 13 and 18, called The Duchess’s Community High School, which was classed as being ‘good’ in its last inspection.

Getting around

The town lies on the A1, the main trunk road between the north and south in the south east of England, giving it easy access to the larger urban areas of Newcastle and Edinburgh. Although there is no railway station within the actual town, a journey of 4 miles will take you to Alnmouth for the closest station, which has trains travelling south to London (which takes 3 hours and 45 minutes) and north to Edinburgh (1 hour 10 minutes). There is an excellent local bus service which runs services to Berwick and nearby Newcastle, as well as around the town and to local areas. International travellers can depart for destinations worldwide from Newcastle International Airport.

Local shops

The biggest attraction in Alnwick is the beautiful castle, which is an incredibly popular tourist attraction due to appearing in the Harry Potter films as one of the locations for wizarding school Hogwarts. There are regular tours of the castle, as well as a selection of special exhibitions about its history. The town has a great selection of shops lining its higgledy-piggledy streets, many of which are independent boutiques and family run establishments. You will also find a good selection of well-known high street shops such as Superdrug, M&Co and Argos. As you would expect from a town popular with tourists, there are some excellent restaurants to choose from, including The Treehouse in Alnwick Garden, where you can dine amidst the trees and next to a roaring log fire.

Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure the above information is up to date, some inaccuracies may occur. If you notice any inaccuracies please contact

All information was correct at time of publication and is provided in good faith.