Destroyed by the Vikings in 993 and then rebuilt by the Normans, Bamburgh Castle, Bebbanburg, to its one-time Saxon occupants, is currently staging a number of visitor-friendly events themed around the hit Netflix series, The Lost Kingdom.
Set in the time of the attacks on nearby Lindisfarne when Danes and Saxons were battling for control of England's various regions, the five-season franchise recently culminated in a full-length sequel, Seven Kings Must Die.
Based on Bernard Cornwell's works of historical fiction, The Lost Kingdom focuses on the exploits of Uhtred, a Saxon raised by Danes, whose seat is Bebbanburg, aka Bamburgh Castle.
Uhtred and the Vikings
This Sunday, May 21, and for three days afterwards until May 31, Ragnar will be "Following in the Footsteps of Uhtred," taking visitors on a themed tour of his ancestral home while pointing out some of the key locations for The Lost Kingdom. You can find out more about an important battle scene filmed nearby and be crowned King or Queen of the North.
Most of the walk takes place outdoors, so wear suitable footwear and clothing. Each visit lasts around 70-90 minutes, and your ticket includes admission to the castle itself on the same day.
The following holiday weekend, for three days from May 27-29, 'The Vikings Are Coming' showcases the combat and craft skills of the Acle Early Medieval Re-enactment Society.
Along with fighting off Vikings raiding the village, the re-enactors will allow young warriors to practise their sword techniques and learn about cooking, weaving, leechcraft and all kinds of interactive games. You can also mint your own coins.
The Acle Early Medieval Re-enactment Society return to Bebbanburg June 24-25 for Litha, a celebration of Midsummer with a feast of games, stories and cooking, plus combat and fires. They make two more weekend visits to the castle in July and August.
All through the year until November 5, Fireworks Night, a selection of TV props and costumes from The Last Kingdom will be on display at Bebbanburg, including Uhtred's own shield, sword and uniform.
There will also be a photo opportunity while you sit on the Wessex Throne. The exhibit is included in your regular admission ticket to the castle.
See here for details of all this year's special-themed events.
Ever dreamed of sitting on the (Wessex) throne? This is your chance. Photo: Charlotte Graham
Celtic fort and inventor's castle
The original Bamburgh Castle was built as a Celtic Brittonic fort in the fifth century. After changing hands several times, it passed into Anglo-Saxon hands in 590. It may well have been the capital of Bernicia, an area that stretched from Durham and Northumberland to the Southeastern counties of Scotland.
Overlooking the coast from its high vantage point of a rocky plateau, it would have witnessed various Viking invasions, including the dramatic one of Lindisfarne on nearby Holy Island in 793. Two centuries later, the Norsemen returned to lay waste to the stronghold.
Rebuilt by the Normans, the castle passed into the hands of the reigning English monarch.
Neglected for centuries, Bamburgh fell into disrepair until being bought by the Victorian inventor and industrialist William George Armstrong in 1894, shortly before his death. Today the castle houses Armstrong's eclectic collection of artworks and ceramics that reflect his extraordinary life.
An early champion of renewable energy, hydroelectricity and solar power, Armstrong made his money in armaments and warships while coming up with various hydraulic devices to usher in the modern world.
As well as the castle, which he completely restored while staying as true as possible to its medieval form, the later Baron Armstrong built Cragside in Northumberland. This mansion, filled with his hydraulic inventions, was also the first house in the world to be lit by hydroelectric power.
Still in the hands of the Armstrong family more than 120 years after his death, Bamburgh has returned to the limelight thanks to its central role in Bernard Cornwell's The Saxon Stories, upon which the TV series The Lost Kingdom is based.
Found in the suitcase in the garage in 2001, the Bamburgh Sword dates back to the 600s, when it would have been made by an Anglo-Saxon noble of high standing. It remains on display at Bamburgh.
Modern-day excavations of the grounds have revealed remains of individuals from Scandinavia, Ireland, Scotland, the Mediterranean and North Africa. These are now kept in the crypt of St Aidan's Church in Bamburgh.
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