Alnwick was the star of Downton Abbey Christmas Day special

The cast of the Dowton Abbey Christmas special in front of Alnwick Castle.
The cast of the Dowton Abbey Christmas special in front of Alnwick Castle.

While most people who watched last night’s Downton Abbey Christmas special were concentrating on the characters, the stars and the storyline, many north Northumberland viewers were simply location-spotting.

Much of the episode was filmed in Alnwick in the summer, with Alnwick Castle, previously Hogwarts in the early Harry Potter movies, as the star of the show.

It was used as the setting for the fictional Brancaster Castle, home of Lord Sinderby, Rose’s father-in-law, who invites the Crawley family to a shooting party.

Sharp-eyed viewers will have noticed various views of Alnwick Castle from the Pastures and Bow Burn picnic area, shots within the castle grounds and inside the rooms, also the Lion Bridge, the River Aln and even a snowy scene in Bailiffgate. The production crew had transformed the Duchess’s Community High School site into a pub, The Crown and Anchor, in the middle of a wintery set.

The episode provided another high-profile showcase for Alnwick and Northumberland, hot on the heels of other TV shows, such as Vera and Robson Green’s Tales from Northumberland, and it will be manna from heaven for the county’s tourism bosses.

To underline Alnwick’s increasingly prominent role on our television screens, the Gazette announced that Alnwick Castle would be used for filming some of The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses, a second series of three adaptations of Shakespeare’s history plays, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Dame Judi Dench, Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville and Michael Gambon.

Related story: Downton Abbey excitement builds in Alnwick