What to do in Alnwick this Summer

ADVERT - Thanks to our writer Bethanie for this post which was published in June 2023. 

This summer, I imagine many families will be flocking to the market town of Alnwick thanks to a certain local attraction that has recently opened. 

What to do in Alnwick this Summer

However, as we often spend much time over the summer holidays in Alnwick anyway, I thought it would be a nice idea to let you know about all the other things you can be enjoying in this corner of Northumberland. 

This post includes work with Alnwick Playhouse who are bringing the Wind In The Willows to the Alnwick Garden this summer (2023). At the bottom of this post you will find a discount code for you to use when booking tickets which also gains you entry to the Alnwick Garden for free. 

Below are a few of our favourite family friendly things to do in Alnwick. You can also view a map with all of the locations mentioned in this post (and their postcodes) here or scroll to the bottom of the post for an integrated map. 

Watch an outdoor theatre performance at The Alnwick Garden 

A couple of summers ago, I took my son to see “Mr Stink” performed at the Alnwick Garden late one evening. There is something really fun and unique about watching theatre performed outdoors and the kids love it. Bring plenty of layers for performances later in the evening and a picnic for the afternoon performances and it will be great fun. 

What to do in Alnwick this Summer  - wind in the willows

This summer (Friday 28th July - Saturday 26th August) Alnwick Playhouse presents “The Wind In The Willows”. An ambitious program that sees a performance almost every day throughout the summer holidays. 

“Tired of cleaning, Mole ventures out to the riverbank, where he befriends the resourceful Ratty, the gruff Badger and the infamous Toad of Toad Hall (Poop-poop!). Together this Summer, they explore the Wide World, and the Wild Wood, and try to keep Toad out of trouble…

This magical retelling of an old favourite combines all the joy and mystery of Kenneth Grahame’s much-loved classic with the lightness of touch and playful theatricality that award-winning playwright Mike Kenny is best known for.”

To see this family classic at The Alnwick Garden, you can book your tickets via the Alnwick Playhouse website. Tickets cost £20 (under 3’s are free) and this also gains you entry to the gardens so you can have fun exploring either before or after the performance. 

We also have a unique code for you to get 20% off ticket price. Just use the code: FAMILYFUN20 at the checkout or over the phone if you call to book. 

So that works out at £16 a ticket for a theatre performance and includes same day entry to Alnwick Gardens for the full day. 

Under 3’s are free and don’t require a ticket but it is worth noting it says the show is suitable for age 3+ so this is up to you. 

The approximate running time of the performance is 2 hours. 

Another exciting thing about the performance is that it involves local children who auditioned to be a part of the show. A great way to support local talent and it must be so exciting for the children involved. 

Parking in Alnwick Town Centre is free with a disc, just make sure you have checked times if parking in the short stay car parks. These get full very quickly so if you are struggling to find a space you can also park in the Alnwick Garden car park which costs £3 for a day. Payment is card only. 

What to do in Alnwick this Summer - alnwick garden

Here are a few highlights you can enjoy within Alnwick Gardens before / after the performance: 

  • FREE Animal Antics Augmented Reality Trail (daily)
  • FREE Serpent Garden Water Play (daily - bring swimsuits)
  • FREE Poison Garden Tours (daily)
  • FREE Bamboo Labyrinth 
  • FREE Rose Garden and Cherry Orchard 
  • FREE Splash Alnwick with Water Guns (every Monday and Tuesday - bring a change of clothes)
  • FREE Inflatable Assault Course (26 August) 
  • FREE Laser Quest (12 & 13 August) 
  • Forgotten Golf (additional cost)

Visit Barter Books - One of the largest second hand bookshops in Britain

I have shared before my love for Barter Books and it makes for a great free alternative trip out in Alnwick. 

What to do in Alnwick this Summer  - Barter Books

Parking is a little tricky here during the busy summer months so I recommend getting there first thing (it opens at 9am) or coming later in the evening as it is open until 7pm. Alternatively you can park in the town centre and walk back. 

Children love spotting the small trains that run along the track above your head and there is a great little reading corner for them as well. 

If you are feeling peckish, the Station Buffet serves a menu of hot and cold food. The old waiting rooms are used as places to sit and if you are visiting during the colder months, the fires will be lit and it’s lovely and cosy. Check out our Guide to Visiting Barter Books with Children. 

Take a Walk around Hulne Park 

A hidden gem that many people don’t know is there. Part of the Northumberland Estates, Hulne Park offers a variety of walks through a beautiful part of land on the outskirts of Alnwick town. Here you will also find Alnwick Abbey, a priory and farmland. 

What to do in Alnwick this Summer  - hulne park

The walks vary in length from four miles up to six miles, or you can just walk as far in as you think the kids can manage: so there is something for everyone. 

For more information on how to get there and which walking route might be best suited for you, read our guide to visiting Hulne Park.  

Visit the Beach 

If you are staying in Alnwick, or just visiting for the day, you can easily factor in a visit to the beach. The nearest one being either Alnmouth or Boulmer, both of which are just five miles from Alnwick. 

What to do in Alnwick this Summer  - alnmouth beach

Alnmouth is a popular beach and handily there is a car park right on the beachfront. You can also stroll into the village of Alnmouth where you will find coffee shops and pubs offering tasty, locally sourced produce. 

During the summer months an ice cream van often pulls up in the car park every day, for that perfect summer holiday treat! 

Other ideas....... 

As well as the above, you will also find in Alnwick the Aln Valley Railway which is open at weekends and will sometimes have the steam trains running. There is a cafe and miniature train ride also on site. Because it is all run by volunteers, it is best to check opening times before your visit.

What to do in Alnwick this Summer  - aln valley railway

Then of course you have Alnwick Castle and Lilidorei. It is worth noting that you need a separate ticket to visit the Alnwick Castle and the Alnwick Gardens as they are two separate attractions.

What to do in Alnwick this Summer  - alnwick castle

The market town of Alnwick itself is packed with independent shops and cafes, pubs and restaurants, so make sure you leave some time to browse and visit the market (every Thursday and Saturday).  We can personally recommend Dirty Bottles in the town centre or The Hogs Head (with outdoor play area) as a place to stop off for a bite to eat before heading home. 

What to do in Alnwick this Summer  - visit dirty bottles

There is also a lovely hidden gem of a museum - Bailiffgate. They are an award-winning museum sharing the history of Alnwick and North Northumberland with fun, interactive exhibitions. Entry is super reasonable too (£5 per adult, £1 per child, under 5s are free). Or if the weather takes a turn for the worse, you could catch a film at Alnwick Playhouse. 

If you're looking for an alternative (and free) playground to Lilidorei, there are a few dotted about. Swansfield Park (NE66 1QW) has a play structure, swings, slides and toddler swings and Alnwick Community Centre Playground (NE66 1DW) has monkey bars, a play structure, slide, swings, toddler swings and zip wire. 

Hopefully this has filled you with some inspiration for your summer holiday planning.

Visiting Alnwick - Essential Info

  • Don’t forget to use the discount code when booking your tickets to see Wind In The Willows - FAMILYFUN20 to get 20% off ticket price & remember, this includes complimentary entry to Alnwick Garden for the same day. 

  • Remember, single fare bus journeys are capped at £2 this summer and £1 for under 22s (under 5s go free). Lots of buses serve Alnwick including the X15, X18 & X20 from Newcastle. Alternatively, Alnmouth Train Station is 15 minutes away and served by buses and taxis to Alnwick. 

  • Find information on car parks here: Alnwick Car Parks

  • Find information on public toilets here: Public Toilet Information
    Many businesses are part of the 'you're welcome' scheme which means you can use their loo without making a purchase. 

  • Alnwick Garden is accessible for wheelchair users and they have mobility scooters for hire. Read their access statement here: Alnwick Garden Access Statement 


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