If there’s one thing for certain in England it’s that castles and history abound. Constantly entertained by all the stories of saints, nobles, and battles, I couldn’t help but wonder more and more about the past lives of these beautiful structures – about what life was like inside these impenetrable walls during their prime. But sometimes you just have to step back and accept their beauty from a distance and let your imagination fill these castles with life. Which is why today, my words will be brief and the imagery rich. And every so often we’ll stop for a little break with essential English comfort foods.
Castle #1 : Alnwick Castle
Alnwick Castle is the second largest inhabited castle in the country and has been home to the Duke of Northumberland’s family for over 700 years.
Comfort Food Break: Fish and Chips
Unanimously Britain’s most beloved comfort food, Fish and Chips is undeniably straight forward. A filet of white fish, battered and deep fried with a side of thick potato chips, best eaten take away near the seaside. A meal that evokes nostalgia in any Brit without fail, deserves a second look – Fish and Chips: A Comfort Food Ritual.
Castle #2 : Bamburgh Castle and St. Aiden Beach
Bamburgh Castle was once the royal seat of the Kings of Northumbria, and has stood guard over the stunning coastline for over 1,400 years. Spanning nine acres of land on its rocky plateau, making Bamburgh Castle one of the largest inhabited castles in the country.
St. Aiden Beach leaves you breathless as a cool northern sea breeze sweeps low, grazing the sugary sand between your toes. With grass covered sand dunes to your rear and Farne Islands on the horizon, the landscape is nothing short of impressive.
Comfort Food Break: Meat Pie, Pease Pudding
It’s simple, no-nonsense food. No fancy flavors, no extra frills because to be quite honest, it doesn’t need any. “What’s wrong with the good old blightly Pie and mash with a pint of real ale sat round a log fire with your nearest and dearest? Things are all too forgotten…” – Redhouse
Customize your comfort as you pick the pie: lamb, steak, mince, chicken, sausage; then the mash: creamy, garlic, dijon, or cheddar; next the gravy: parsley, wine, or meat; and last the peas: mushy, minted, or pease pudding. And don’t forget your ale. No matter your choice Redhouse says it best, “Great food, beer and banter.”
Home to the River Tyne, Newcastle Brown Ale, and the Geordie accent, Newcastle is set against a “dramatic backdrop of Victorian elegant and industrial grit.” Indeed it is a “fiercely independent city, harboring a spirited mix of heritage and urban sophistication.” – Lonely Planet
And yes, there is a castle here too.