Alnwick: castle and town
Alnwick (pronounced 'Annick') has been an important commercial centre since the 13th century and it is still the main town in this part of Northumberland.
Much of Alnwick's medieval character survives intact: its narrow winding streets, town walls and market place.
One tradition is the annual Shrove Tuesday football match which begins with the ball being thrown from the ramparts of Alnwick castle.
And, every summer, the past is brought back to life during the Alnwick Fair, when local people don period costume for a week and some unlucky volunteers end up on the ducking stool.
Alnwick castle occupies a strategic position on the banks of the River Aln. Dating from the 11th century, with restoration and alterations in the 18th and 19th centuries, the castle was painted by Canaletto (below), Van Dyck and Titian.
In modern times it has become a popular film and TV location, featuring in the BBC's production of Dracula and Black Adder, and more recently as Hogwarts School in the Harry Potter films.
Alnwick castle is home to the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland and is open to the public in the spring and summer. Its latest attraction is its 26 acre water garden. This cost £15m to construct, with 65,000 plants and shrubs, spectacular water displays and a giant tree house.