Alnwick (district)

Alnwick (district)

Infobox UK district
name = Alnwick

status = District
region = North East England
admincounty = Northumberland
area = Ranked 21st
1,079.51 km²
adminhq = Alnwick
onscode = 35UB
population = Ranked English district rank|ONS=35UB
English district population|ONS=35UB
English district density|ONS=35UB / km²
ethnicity = 99.6% White
politics = Alnwick District Council
leadership = Leader & Cabinet
executive = English district control|ONS=35UB
mp = Alan Beith
year = 2005

Alnwick is a local government district of Northumberland, England. Its council is based in Alnwick town and the district has a population of 31,029 according to the 2001 census.

It is one of the most rural and sparsely populated districts in the United Kingdom, having a resident population of 31,029 in an area of 1,070 square kilometres, according to the 2001 census. (That is 29 persons per km² compared with the UK average of 245 persons per km².) Just over 50% of the population is located in the three main towns of Alnwick (7,600), Amble (6,100) and Rothbury (2,500), with the remainder dispersed across large and small villages, hamlets and isolated dwellings.

It is the second least racially diverse community in the country, in the terms measured in the 2001 census with 99.6% of the population recording their ethnicity as "White". [ [ Census 2001 Ethnicity figures for Alnwick (Local Authority)] ]

The district was formed on 1 April 1974 as a merger of the urban districts of Alnwick and Amble and the rural districts of Alnwick and Rothbury. The district will be abolished as part of the 2009 structural changes to local government in England.

Main Towns


Alnwick is the largest of the three main towns in the district. It is a reasonably busy rural market town, which has - by way of yardstick - the district hospital and maternity home, Woolworths and the main banks. According to Country Life, October 2002, "Alnwick is the most picturesque market town in Northumberland, and the best place to live in Britain". The town dates back approximately to the 7th century, and is the ancestral seat of the Duke of Northumberland, who still resides at Alnwick Castle. Historically, Alnwick was a fortified town, an agricultural centre and a staging post on the Great North Road between Edinburgh and London. The fabric of the town, in parts, reflects its history, although there has been much contemporary development.


The historic port of Amble, which describes itself as 'the friendliest port', is located on the River Coquet estuary and is the southern gateway to Northumberland's Heritage Coast.


Rothbury is a picturesque historic market town with its origins dating back to the 11th century. It is situated on the River Coquet, and provides a gateway to Upper Coquetdale and the Northumberland National Park.


Alnwick District has a wide choice of housing to suit many different tastes and budgets varying from traditional stone build to modern housing estates.

The district has many small rural villages with a variety of properties from estate houses to agricultural workers' cottages set in Northumberland countryside; the eastern seaboard of the district has a number of small coastal communities.


As at March 2004, according to Alnwick District Council:


Alnwick town together with Amble and Rothbury provide a comprehensive range of shops and services, whilst one of the best retail facilities in Europe is located at the MetroCentre, Gateshead, which is within a 45-minute drive time from Alnwick town. Edinburgh is just over an hour north on the East Coast Main Line.


The District has over 9 day care providers, ranging from playgroups to full day care.


Alnwick District falls within the Northumberland Education Authority. Northumberland's schools are currently organised in a three-tier system:
* 43 First Schools: ages 4–9 years
* 45 Middle Schools: ages 9–13 years
* 16 Upper Schools: ages 13–19 years

The numbers of Northumberland Education Authority schools within the three main settlements are:
* Alnwick town has 3 First, 3 Middle and 1 High schools
* Amble has 3 First, 1 Middle and 1 High schools
* Rothbury has 1 First and 1 Middle School – the feeder High School is located in Morpeth.


Alnwick town, Amble and Rothbury all have more than one GP surgery. There are over 25 GP surgeries within a 20-mile radius of Alnwick Town. Alnwick Infirmary has a small Accident and Emergency Department, although the main one for the district is located in Ashington at the Wansbeck General Hospital, some 25 miles south of Alnwick town.


There are a range of small industrial estates located on the outskirts of Alnwick town, Amble and Rothbury offering opportunities for local business development and inward investors. The estates offer a range of existing development premises and sites. There are about 15 companies in the district that employ 50 or more people.


The area offers a rich, varied lifestyle to those who live and work in the District. The area has a wealth of good quality restaurants and cafes and a wide range of pubs and inns.


The Alnwick Garden is a world-renowned, year-round visitor attraction, which was officially opened by HRH Prince Charles, Prince of Wales - "The project is a bold and ambitious one which I am delighted to support. The restored garden will be a true work of art for everyone to enjoy, and a statement both of gratitude to the past and hope for the future. I wish the project every possible success."

The Alnwick Playhouse is a multi-purpose arts centre that stages an exciting programme of theatre, dance, music, cinema, and visual arts exhibitions.

Major events in the Alnwick town calendar include: Alnwick Fair, staged in the summer as a costumed re-enactment of a mediaeval fair in which residents of the town dress up in authentic costumes; the Alnwick International Music Festival; and the Alnwick Castle Tournament – a medieval jousting spectacular in the grounds of Alnwick Castle.

In addition to the new Willowburn Sports and Leisure Centre situated on the edge of Alnwick town centre, there is a wealth of sporting and leisure facilities/opportunities in the district ranging from football, cricket, rugby, rambling, rock climbing, water sports, cycling and horse riding. The golf enthusiast is particularly well catered for with thirteen golf courses within 30 minutes drive of Alnwick town.


Amble's harbour is home to a modern marina and the town's fishing fleet, which can be seen landing its catch daily. Amble's links with the sea are celebrated in the Amble Sea Fayre Festival, which is held every July.

In the springtime, there is the Amble Spring Community Carnival, which is held in May. This is a carnival with live music, stalls, children's races and a tug-of-war event.

Amble makes a good base from which to explore the Northumberland Heritage Coast. Historic towns and monuments, unspoiled beaches, wide open spaces and the area's unique nature reserves are all within easy reach. The Hauxley and Druridge Bay nature reserves are nearby and during the summer regular boat trips run out from Amble to Coquet Island where the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds operates a sanctuary.

Many areas of the town have been extensively refurbished. The traditional main street and waterfront areas have been restored and the town now has a unique town square which can best be described as a beautiful work of art. It contains, amongst other things, one of the largest sundials in Europe.


In Rothbury, you can visit the magnificent (National Trust) Cragside House, once home of industrialist Lord William Armstrong, the imposing Brinkburn Priory and of course Northumberland National Park.

The Street Fairs, Village Shows and Musical Events are a wonderful way of experiencing the unique Northumberland culture of Rothbury and Coquetdale. Some examples are:
* Rothbury Street Fair (May): Local fair with stalls of mainly local crafts and home produce, children's entertainment, fancy dress and entertainment by local musicians & dancers.
* Rothbury Traditional Music Festival (July): A well-established Traditional Country Music Fair featuring pipes, fiddles, bodrun, guitars, folk singing, and dialect poetry.
* Brinkburn Priory Summer Music Festival (July): The Festival takes the form of a Classical Music festival in and around this beautiful Priory with superb acoustics.

In addition Coquetdale is best known as walking country, with the vast expanse of the Cheviot Hills and the stunning views over the valleys of the River Coquet there for all to enjoy. This region is also a haven for rock climbing, cycling, fishing, golfing, horse riding and includes the Northumberland National Park with its abundant wildlife.



Alnwick town lies adjacent to the A1, the main national north/south trunk road, providing easy access to Newcastle upon Tyne (35 miles south) and to the Scottish capital Edinburgh (80 miles north).


The main East Coast railway link between Edinburgh (journey time about 1:10) and London (journey time about 3:45) runs via the nearby Alnmouth for Alnwick Station, with a weekday service of 15 trains per day north to Edinburgh and 13 trains per day south to London. The town was once connected to the main line by the Alnwick branch line, but this was closed in January 1968.


Newcastle Airport lies around 45 minutes drive-time away, and provides 19 daily flights to London (Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and London City), with regular flights to other UK centres. The airport also operates regular flights to many European destinations, along with destinations in Africa and North America.


Port facilities are available at the Port of Blyth (Blyth) and the Port of Tyne (South Shields), both about 30 miles south of Alnwick, providing shipping and passenger services to Europe and Scandinavia.

Surrounding Area

The County of Northumberland offers endless opportunities for leisure activities and places of interest to visit. Alnwick town benefits from its very central location in the County, giving easy access to the outstanding coastline, Northumberland National Park with its beautiful hills and valleys, a wide variety of National Trust and English Heritage properties and dramatic castles. A wide and exciting range of museums, art galleries and theatres can all be found in the county and in nearby Newcastle and Tyneside.

External links

* [ Alnwick District Council]
* [ Alnwick Castle]
* [ Alnwick Garden]
* [ Statistics] about the Alnwick district from the Office for National Statistics Census 2001


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