Castles and coast.

Two weekends ago, I did something completely different. Something I haven’t done for a long time. I stayed at home for the weekend with my wife!

I declared the weekend at home a child-free zone and told the hoards of kids that I have, to find somewhere else to go. No, I didn’t arrange anything for them. I just told them to go… anywhere!

And Tatiana and I spent all day that Saturday just driving around our own neck of the woods. Travelling as much as I do, I sometimes forget just how beautiful the area I live in really is.

I live north of Newcastle, quite close to the airport, so it’s only a matter of minutes in my car before I’m on the Borderland. This is the glorious area which separates England and Scotland.

There’s a wonderful route for tourists to follow just known as the “Coast and Castles” route. I decided to drive it again, as I hadn’t driven that route for more than 20 years. It was beautiful!

I took my wife to see a castle that I visited quite a few times when I was a kid. It’s called Warkworth Castle, it’s a ruin which dates back to the 12th Century.

The surrounding countryside in this area is quite simply breathtaking.

Then we moved on to the historical market town of Alnwick.

Alnwick also has a famous castle. And yes, it’s known locally as Alnwick Castle. As you might expect. But to millions and millions worldwide, it has a completely different name: Hogwarts.

Yep, this is one of the many locations used in this area for the blockbusting Harry Potter movies.

The Duke and Duchess of Northumberland still have apartments in the castle. But I think they spend more time at their London home. Alnwick, is a really nice little town. But if were a Duke or a Duchess, I wouldn’t want to be hanging around there too much either. Having said that, Northumberland has just been voted the most tranquil place in England to live. And Alnwick was voted as the best town.

I like the Duchess of Northumberland very much. I met her once, in fact. She’s so cool, on a normal day she’s blue jeans and sneakers and very down to earth. She’s spent the past few years working on the latest attraction to Alnwick castle. The magnificent gardens. And what a splendid job she did. There’s a real touch of Versaille going on.

Tatiana really enjoyed the gardens. But there’s more. Not only did the Duchess create this wonderful tourist attraction, last year she added to it. She built the world’s biggest tree house!

It’s huge and complete with rope bridges too.

I had a great time. I like my wife very much. I think I’ll try and see her more often. Yes, life is sweet.

And even more so when your wife treats you to a pint of your favourite beer in your local pub.


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