Alnwick (district)

From Academic Kids

Alnwick District
Shown within Northumberland
Region:North East England
Admin. County:Northumberland
- Total
Ranked 21st
1,079.51 km²
Admin. HQ:Alnwick
ONS code:35UB
- Total (2003 est.)
- Density
Ranked 350th
29 / km²
Ethnicity:99.6% White
Arms of Alnwick District Council
Alnwick District Council
Leadership:Leader & Cabinet
Executive:Independent + Conservative
MP:Alan Beith

Alwnick is a local government district in Northumberland, England. 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 a 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.

The district was formed on April 1, 1974 as a merger of the urban districts of Alnwick and Amble and the rural districts of Alnwick and Rothbury.


Main Towns


According to Country Life, October 2002, the "historic county town of Northumberland and seat of the Duke of Northumberland, Alnwick is the most picturesque market town in Northumberland, and the best place to live in Britain".

Set in the heart of the County of Northumberland, Alnwick town is a bustling market town, which dates back to approximately 600 AD, and is the ancestral seat of the Duke of Northumberland, who still resides at Alnwick Castle.

Over the centuries Alnwick town has thrived as an agricultural centre and staging post on the Great North Road between Edinburgh and London. The fabric of the town has changed little and still retains much of its original character.


The historic port of Amble, 'the friendliest port', occupies a setting amidst some of the most beautiful coastal scenery in Great Britain. The town is located on the River Coquet estuary and is the southern gateway to Northumberland's Heritage Coast.

Amble has a thriving local community and is now enjoying increasing popularity as a tourist centre and a pleasant business location with good links to the rest of the country and the continent.


Rothbury is a picturesque historic market town with its origins dating back to c1100. Although Rothbury may be regarded as a small town it has most of the facilities of a larger town. Situated on the River Coquet, Rothbury is the gateway to beautiful and remote Upper Coquetdale and Northumberland National Park.

In the town itself, the mellow stone buildings, which once would have been thatched with heather, line the streets and provide a warm welcome for visitors.


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

Radiating away from Alnwick town and in addition to the secondary towns of Amble and Rothbury, there are many small rural villages with a varied range of properties from estate houses to quaint country cottages in the heart of the Northumberland countryside, whist within a short drive to the east you could be living in one of the district's 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 Metro Centre, 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 High 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, however 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 which 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 all 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, which stages an exciting programme of theatre, dance, music, cinema, and visual arts exhibitions.

Major events in the Alnwick town calendar include; Alnwick Fayre, 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 areas 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 the RSPB bird sanctuary at Coquet Island.

Many areas of the town have been extensively refurbished. The traditional main street and waterfront areas have been restored and town now boasts 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 (English National Heritage) 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: This is 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 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 (30 miles south) and to the Scottish capital Edinburgh (80 miles north).


The main East Coast railway link between Edinburgh (journey time approx. 1:10) and London (journey time approx. 3:45) can be accessed at the nearby Alnmouth for Alnwick station, with a weekday service of 14 trains per day north to Edinburgh and 11 trains per day south to London.


Newcastle Airport is accessible in around 45 minute drive time and provides 18 daily flights to London (Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted), and regular flights to other UK and European destinations.


Port facilities are available at the Port of Blyth and the Port of Tyne, both approximately 30 miles south of Alnwick, providing shipping services 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 National 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

Districts of England - North East England Flag of England
Alnwick - Berwick-upon-Tweed - Blyth Valley - Castle Morpeth - Chester-le-Street - Darlington - Derwentside - Durham - Easington - Gateshead - Hartlepool - Middlesbrough - Newcastle upon Tyne - North Tyneside - Redcar and Cleveland - Sedgefield - South Tyneside - Stockton-on-Tees - Sunderland - Teesdale - Tynedale - Wansbeck - Wear Valley

1974 counties: Cleveland - County Durham - Northumberland - Tyne and Wear


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