Five Things to do With Your Elderly Parents in Alnwick, Northumberland
Northumberland is one of the most scenic and beautiful of all English counties, and the historic town of Alnwick is as engaging as it is picturesque. Here are five top things you might like to do with your loved ones.
- Alnwick Castle
- Aln Valley Railway
- Howick Hall Gardens
- Alnwick Markets
- Barter Books
Northumberland is one of the most scenic and beautiful of all English counties, and the historic town of Alnwick is as engaging as it is picturesque. If your parents are receiving elderly care in a residential home or are receiving live-in care in Northumberland, Alnwick can be the perfect place to go to get them out and about for a change of scene.
With so much to explore and enjoy in this large market town, you won’t be short of things to do with your elderly parents. Whether you’re just here for the day or intending to stay longer in the region, here are five top things you might like to do with your loved ones.
Wherever you are in the town of Alnwick, it is almost impossible to escape the presence of its imposing castle, home to the present Duke of Northumberland and inhabited by the family for 700 years. In fact, there has been a castle recorded on this site for 1000 years, and it has a colourful history, which is well worth exploring with a stroll through the various exhibits and collections it houses.
The castle has been added to over the centuries, making it an architectural gem. After Windsor Castle, this is the second largest inhabited castle in Britain, and many of the lavish State Rooms are still in use today.
Unfortunately, some areas of the castle are difficult for those with mobility issues to access, although enough of the house and grounds are negotiable by wheelchair or other mobility aids to make this an enjoyable day out. There is free admission for one carer per disabled visitor if you ask on the day.
Aln Valley Railway
A project to restore the old line between Alnwick and Alnmouth has been a long time in the planning, but works have now started, and the charity that is overseeing the restoration has begun to lay the track. While you might not get to journey to the seaside by steam train quite yet, there’s still plenty to explore, with a new visitor centre and railway station on the outskirts of Alnwick.
There is a small museum which houses nostalgic photos, memorabilia and posters, which may stir up fond memories of childhood railway journeys for your elderly parents. These prompts down memory lane can be particularly enjoyable for those receiving dementia care, who often find they can reconnect with emotions and experiences from decades ago.
Enjoy afternoon tea at the Buffet Stop Café, where there is a ramp for wheelchair access and disabled toilet facilities. The Lionheart site is fully accessible too, and a replica guard’s van has been designed with ramp access and is also wide enough for wheelchair access.
Howick Hall Gardens
Just a short distance outside of Alnwick, you’ll find Howick Hall, the ancestral home of Prime Minister Earl Grey, and owned by the Grey family since 1319. The gardens and arboretum at Howick Hall are a must-see if you’re in this beautiful corner of the country, whether you’re a green-fingered expert or simply like to sit and admire the natural world.
Many people receiving care at home find that they feel disconnected from the ‘Great Outdoors’, and perhaps don’t get out into the fresh air to enjoy nature as they once did. A trip to Howick Hall will certainly put that right, with strolls through beautiful scenery to enjoy.
Staff can provide a disability map which highlights the easiest ways around the grounds for those in a wheelchair or with limited mobility. Seating spots around the gardens are also marked to use if your loved one cannot walk for great lengths of time. There are also disabled parking spaces, and the tearoom and disabled toilets are easy to access.
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Alnwick hosts a weekly market every Saturday between 9am and 4pm, as well as a Thursday market between April and October. If you’re lucky enough to be visiting on the last Friday of the month, you’ll catch the Farmers’ and Craft market, which offers an excellent opportunity to buy some local produce and soak up the genial atmosphere.
With stalls selling everything from fresh bread to jewellery, locally caught mussels to clothes and accessories, you’re sure to find something to tempt you. It’s worth noting that the square is cobbled, however. If if you think this might pose a problem, it might be worth you or your loved one’s live-in care worker visiting and assessing the terrain before the square gets too busy.
Bookworms up and down the country flock to Barter Books, a vast collection of second-hand books housed in a beautiful, old Victorian railway station. With its cosy open fires in the winter and lovely deep armchairs, this is a booklover’s paradise. It is well worth a visit, if only to admire the charming architecture and enjoy the tasty food and drink at the Station Buffet. There’s also a model railway overhead which delights children and adults alike.
It’s easy enough to access Barter Books, but some of the gaps between bookshelves are a little narrow and may not be suited to wheelchair users. For those with greater mobility, there’s plenty of seating throughout.
However long you are staying in Alnwick, there’s no shortage of things you can do with your elderly parents, especially if they receive live-in care and don’t get to spend much time out and about. Alnwick offers everything within easy distance and is the perfect place to spend some quality time together.
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