Alnwick Castle filming: Traders hope Dungeons and Dragons will replicate Harry Potter success
Filming of Dungeons and Dragons at Alnwick Castle could bring spin-off benefits to the town’s shops and restaurants.
That is the hope of local traders who have seen how the castle’s role as Hogwarts Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the first two Harry Potter movies still attracts tourists in large numbers.
Lisa Aynsley, chairman of Alnwick Chamber of Trade, said: “The castle is integral to the success of the town.
"We are now 20 years down the line from the Harry Potter movies and you still have kids walking around with broomsticks so there is a huge long-term financial gain to be had.
"It also adds to the excitement and creates a buzz around the town for anyone coming now in the hope of seeing something or someone famous.”
She hasn’t seen any famous faces herself though.
"I keep seeing minibuses with blacked out windows ferrying people around but I’ve not seen anyone famous,” she said.
Mark Jones, owner of The Dirty Bottles pub, is no stranger to seeing celebrity visitors but not on this occasion.
“In the past we’ve had the cast of Downton Abbey in but there’s been no sign of anyone famous so far this week,” he said.
"Anything that raises the profile of Alnwick Castle will be good for the town though in helping to put it in the spotlight – not that it feels like it needs it at the moment, it’s so busy.”
Cllr Gordon Castle also thinks it is good news for the town, even if its popularity causes issues.
"The town benefits from visitors and the publicity that filming brings helps to attract them,” he said.
“We have a world class site and this sort of event helps to promote it.
"But we can’t let things lie – we have to keep working at promoting our town.
"I know there are people who think Alnwick is already overwhelmed with tourists and there are serious issues with parking and accommodation but it’s a problem we have to cope with for the benefits that those visitors bring.”
Dungeons & Dragons, a fantasy adventure based on the role-play game, is reportedly set to star Chris Pine (Star Trek), Michelle Rodriguez (The Fast and the Furious), Regé-Jean Page (Bridgerton) and Hugh Grant with a 2023 release by Paramount Pictures.
Pine is no stranger to Northumberland having filmed Robert the Bruce movie, Outlaw King, in Berwick in 2019.
However, Alnwick Castle has only revealed that the venue was closed to the public for a ‘private event’.
Production teams have been using car parks on Greenwell Road, while the former Lindisfarne Middle School site has also been used for parking.
Alnwick Castle has been used in several major films, most notably as Hogwarts during the 2001 Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and the 2002 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
It also featured in Transformers: The Last Knight in 2016, as Brancaster Castle in Downton Abbey's 2015 and 2016 Christmas specials, Elizabeth and in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.