Visiting Bamburgh Castle with Kids - Cost, Parking & Picnic Spots

Bamburgh Castle is a real stunner. As you approach the coastline, it's imposing and grand and you can't help but be impressed. The castle originates from 420 and was inhabited by Anglo Saxons from 590. The pesky Vikings invaded and destroyed the castle in 993 after which the Normans re-built a new castle which forms the basis of the castle we see today. These days, the castle is owned by the Armstrong family and is open to the public. You may recognise the castle from the films Ivanhoe, Macbeth, Elizabeth and Transformers: The Last Knight.

Visiting Bamburgh Castle with Kids - Cost, Parking & Picnic Spots

I'm ashamed to say it had been a number of years since our last visit (close to five I think) and over Bank Holiday weekend, a re-visit was definitely on the cards. The castle was holding a special Viking Invasion event which I won't go into too much as this was a one-off but if you're interested, you can check out my short video from the event below (and catch a glimpse of the epic drive up to the castle).

Bamburgh Castle has its own car park - it's £2 to park all day so remember some change. We arrived at around 11:30am on a sunny bank holiday Saturday and still managed to find a spot. There's also a larger long-stay car park just across the road from the castle (but be prepared for an uphill walk if you choose this one). The castle is within walking distance of Bamburgh village which is filled with lovely restaurants, pubs and tearooms - I am dying to try The Potted Lobster! Bamburgh was absolutely heaving on the day of our visit so if the sun is shining, I'd definitely recommend booking somewhere in advance if you're not taking a picnic. 

We did take a picnic though and decided to enjoy this before heading into the castle so we wouldn't have to pop back to the car or carry our bag around with us. Once you've paid admission to the castle, you can come and go as you please. 

Bamburgh Castle Car Park is directly above a gorgeous beach - one of the best in Northumberland. You can either turn left and head down here or walk through the dunes and find some grass overlooking what felt like a nature reserve which is what we did. 

Considering Bamburgh was so busy, we had this space completely to ourselves and it was so peaceful. It was just us and a pond full of ducks, chicks and lots of wildlife - the perfect calm before the storm.

Bags packed back in the car, it was time to explore the castle. Entry set us back £26 for a family of 5 which I find to be super reasonable - my benchmark is always £50 which is how much we pay to visit our local cinema on a Saturday so considering it was half the price of this, we thought it offered exceptional value. Dogs (except guide dogs) are not permitted and last entry is around 4pm.

The views across the beach and coastline from Bamburgh Castle are like nothing you'll see anywhere else on earth. The Farne Islands are visible on a clear day - there are up to 20 islands depending on the tide. I'd bring your binoculars if you have a pair. My three love playing with these canons that line the castle walls.

There is plenty of outside space at Bamburgh Castle and the lawns are packed with children cartwheeling and playing handstands - they just can't help themselves! There's a small museum dedicated to the work of William Armstrong which is interesting, especially if you've visited a few of the places mentioned but it's somewhere you'll be in and out in two minutes as like I say, it is small. There's also a couple of tearooms and an art gallery - we didn't visit on this occasion but we have in the past and really enjoyed it. 

The main draw to Bamburgh Castle for me (apart from the glorious views) is most definitely the staterooms. They are fully furnished and absolutely stunning. It's the kind of castle you can walk around and really get a feel for the history of the place. It's on a grand scale too and every room you visit seems to be even grander. You can't film inside the castle or take flash photography but non-flash photography is permitted (yeah). If I didn't have the kids with me, I'd most definitely spend hours inside photographing everything. I've recently bought a new 40mm macro lens for my Nikon (affiliate link) and this was its first outing - I am so impressed with it! I have not brightened or editted the photos below at all - this is them in their raw state! I am honestly in love.

You can borrow an audio guide or there are friendly staff in each room who are more than happy to help with any questions you may have. There's also a brief information plaque which Jack (aged 7) enjoyed reading to us as we entered every room which shared the key facts and things to look for.

A highlight for the kids was most definitely the room featuring various types of weapons. There's everything from pistols to swords and axes on display.

I really like walking through the scullery and kitchens as they seem to have been pretty much untouched and are steeped in history. There's also a dungeon right at the end which adds to the adventure (it may be a little scary for sensitive children but you can skip past this part if it's not going to be for you - my three loved how gruesome it was though). 

We spent around 3 hours at Bamburgh Castle and really had a lovely time. Jack is notorious for whining and crying when we visit places and the signs he was about to start were there as we entered the staterooms. I find it really frustrating when he acts like this and I normally end up feeling stressed and not enjoying myself BUT the fact that there was a new sign to read in every room really held his attention and I'm pleased there wasn't a meltdown or moan across the visit which really says a lot about how much there is to see and do at Bamburgh Castle.

I will end this review by saying that the owners genuinely care about providing a fantastic day out for families. After they realised we'd visited, they sent us a message asking for our honest feedback and if the kids had any ideas to make the castle even better for families. There aren't many castle owners who would do this! I personally love Bamburgh exactly how it is.

Bamburgh is just a few miles up to road from Seahouses and I'd definitely recommend combining the two - spotting the Farne Islands from the castle and then taking a boat trip from Seahouses to spot seals and puffins is a pretty perfect day out in Northumberland I think. Especially if combined with fish and chips.

Are you looking for more ideas for days out across North East England? Why not join 2000 other parents in our North East Days Out Facebook group. It's FREE to join and a fab place to post your own recommendations, find inspiration or ask for ideas. You can request to join here. 

Disclosure: We paid for our own day out. 

Have you ever visited Bamburgh Castle? Let me know if you fancy it......

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Visiting Bamburgh Castle with Kids - Cost, Parking & Picnic Spots



  1. Great shots! Bamburgh Castle sounds a great place to take our kids to.

  2. Your photos look fab! I've never been to bamburgh castle before! looks like a great castle with a pretty reasonable entry fee.

  3. Brilliant read (and I love the photos!) - this is on the list for our staycation next week, it's one of my rainy weather ideas although looking at those stunning views I'm thinking we'd be daft not to go on a beautiful day!

  4. It looks beautiful and what a gorgeous day you had for it. I've never seen a castle so close to a beach before either. Monkey is much the same as Jack if he gets too bored walking around, but it looks like Bamburgh really holds the attention!


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