Ruined Castles - North

Dunstanburgh Castle, Northumberland

A dramatic setting, best seen from a distance

Dunstanburgh is one of the most dramatic castles in Northumberland built on a jagged outcrop of the whin sill above the North Sea. Its picture regularly features in the tourist literature.

There is no road access and you have to walk to the castle. On a fine day this is a superb walk above the shore from Craster with the view of the stark ruins silhouetted against the skyline encouraging you on.

Dunstanburgh Castle

The castle was built in the C14th by Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, on the site of an iron age fortification. Thomas was a leader of the faction opposed to Edward II and the castle was a statement of Thomas’s wealth and influence in the north. After Thomas was caught and beheaded, the castle became the property of the Duchy of Lancaster and John of Gaunt. He further strengthened the castle as a defence against the Scots. The castle was a strategic stronghold during the wars of the Roses and changed hand several time. By the C16th it was in a ruinous condition.

It is one of the largest castles in Northumberland with a massive gateway, very long curtain wall and the tall narrow remains of the Lilburn tower.

Dunstanburgh Castle

Dunstanburgh Castle

Dunstanburgh CAstle

Dunstanburgh CAstle

The curtain wall drops down to the wind swept rocky shore and runs along it to the north.

Dunstanburgh Castle

It is easy to imagine John of Gaunt here reciting the “This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England,” speech from Shakespeare.

This is one of those castles which is best admired from afar.

The castle is in the care of English Heritage. The nearest post code is NE66 3TT and the grid reference is NU 258219.

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