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North East Dunstanburgh Castle, Northumberland

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 following the Northumberland Coastal footpath above the shore from either Craster or Embelton, with the stark ruins silhouetted against the skyline encouraging you on.


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.




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


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

The castle is in the care of English Heritage. Don’t worry if the castle is closed - it is one that can easily be admired from afar or from the outside. It is a lovely walk too!
Beautiful photos of the Dunstanburgh Castle :) This place is worth visting for its historical charm and stunning coastal location. What I like the most is that the castle boasts both a sense of isolation and breathtaking vistas of the North Sea. When you explore these medieval ruins, you can't help but be transported back in time, imagining the castle's rich history and the stories it holds.
Very definitley. One of Dunstanburgh's great charms is its locatioin and the fact you have to WALK to reach it! Setting off you can see its ruins highlighted against the sky line.
The whin sill is an outcrop of very hard igneous rock running across parts of Durham, Northumberland and Cumbria. It produces some stunning scenery. Hadrian's Wall runs along the top of it for much of the way in Northumberland. High Force Waterfall in Teesdale cuts down through it.

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