Alnwick castle is to be found in the county of Northumberland in the far north-western corner of England in the valley of the river Aln, close to the border with Scotland. Sometimes called the "Windsor of the North", it is regarded by some as the finest medieval castle in northern England. For much of its life the castle was an important border stronghold, one of a number of castles that defended the area from the threat of Scottish raids.
The first castle was probably built by the Norman Gilbert de Tesson in the years immediately following the Norman Conquest, although that construction was likely a simple timber motte and bailey design of which no trace remains. It was whilst besieging the castle in 1093 that the Scottish king Malcolm III was killed.
About the year Gilbert was deprived of Alnwick for the crime of rebellion against William Rufus and it was granted instead to Yvo de Vescy who began to build a stone castle in 1096. It remained in the possession of his descendants until William de Vescy died without male heirs in 1297 and beqeathed both the castle and barony of Alnwick to the Bishops of Durham who then sold it to the Percy family in 1309 in whose hands it has remained ever since.
Alnwick Castle became the administrative centre for the Percy family who held extensive estates in Northumberland and later became Earls of Northumberland. It was largely abandoned from the 16th century onwards until the time of the first Duke of Northumberland who employed the architect Robert Adam to redevelop the castle into a habitable home once more.
The castle dominates the modern town of Alnwick, and togther with the surrounding gardens is a major local tourist attraction. A number of films have used the castle as a set, most recently in the adaptation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.