Hang on to your hats, cloaks, boots and broomsticks as Alnwick Castle prepares to open for the 2019 season next week.
The attraction, which has been closed since the end of October last year, will unlock its gates on Friday, March 29.
More than 100 new seasonal members of staff, including costumed guides, are already in post and are being carefully briefed, trained and tested.
Harry Potter themed events are a given throughout the year and The Alnwick Castle Joust in May will see medieval armoured knights engage in full combat on horseback. It’s a precursor to the mighty Joust of the North, a 15th century-style jousting tournament, which will take place over four days in August.
Due to popular demand there are lots more food outlets. Over the winter, the team has made changes to the Courtyard café and restaurant, creating a new bar and an Armoury Take-Away, revamping the fish and chip shop and restoring the three-wheel Piaggio cart, which tours the grounds offering drinks and snacks.
Evening activities include July outdoor performances by Three Inch Fools in the grounds of Hulne Abbey and Alnwick Castle. In August, Alnwick Castle’s Cinema Under The Stars will present screenings of Bohemian Rhapsody and The Greatest Showman.
Alnwick Castle will be celebrating the centenary of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in June with peace celebration street parties, and visitors are welcome to join in.
The usual everyday activities will also be on offer, including film location tours, broomstick training and scary Dragons Quest (only for the very brave). Little children in particular – and sometimes grown-ups – can enjoy the medieval dress-up, games and craft-making in Artisans Courtyard.
And you can, of course, tour the state rooms of the castle. There is also a variety of fascinating on-site museums and exhibitions.
All activities are free with admission.