If you’re visiting Alnwick for its Harry Potter connections, then you’ll love Hallow and Crux, a magical, Harry Potter-themed hotel in the most picturesque part of Alnwick town centre.
I stayed at Hallow and Crux in December 2023 and really enjoyed my trip. I paid for everything during my stay myself, so you can be sure that this post is absolutely truthful and honest.
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At a glance
- Hallow and Crux is a boutique hotel in the centre of Alnwick, close to Alnwick Castle, Lilidorei and Barter Books
- There are four rooms, each with a Harry Potter theme
- Two of the rooms are suitable for families
- Check availability, prices and reviews for Hallow and Crux on Booking.com
Table of contents
Alnwick is a pretty market town 45 minutes north of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and one of my favourite places to visit in Northumberland.
Alnwick has it all; it’s set in lovely countryside and close to the gorgeous Northumberland coast, and the town is packed with brilliant things to do like Alnwick Castle, Alnwick Garden and the new kids attraction Lilidorei. And of course no trip to Alnwick is complete without paying a visit to the legendary bookshop Barter Books in Alnwick’s old railway station.
I’ve been coming here for at least 20 years; although I live near Manchester now, I used to live an hour from Alnwick and most of my books for my English Literature degree came from Barter Books. I’d visit Alnwick at least once a term to pick up books for my reading list and trade back the last batch – I probably still have some credit!
Alnwick and Harry Potter
Alnwick Castle was used as the location for Hogwarts in the first two Harry Potter films. The first film Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was filmed on location at Alnwick Castle in 2000, followed by the second film, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in 2001.
Watching the films, it’s really easy to recognise Alnwick Castle in shots of the outside of Hogwarts. If you visit Alnwick Castle you can take a tour which points out each location.
About Hallow and Crux
If you’re visiting Alnwick because of its Harry Potter connections, Hallow and Crux is the perfect place to stay. It was only opened a couple of years ago and its four rooms each have their own magical theme.
The Hallow and Crux rooms are upstairs at the Dirty Bottles bar and restaurant, which has a 300-year-old legend all of its own. In one of the windows downstairs, there’s a set of old, dust-covered bottles. The legend has it that one night in 1725, the pub’s landlord was moving the bottles in the window and dropped down dead.
His widow declared that the bottles were cursed, and that anyone who touched them would also die. The bottles have stayed in the window ever since – although they’re now glassed in to make sure absolutely sure that nobody touches them!
If you’re not keen on the Harry Potter themed hotel rooms, the Dirty Bottles has another four luxurious guest rooms, all inspired by Alnwick’s long history.
What it’s like to stay at Hallow and Crux
We’d driven to Alnwick and parked up in a free long stay car park just round the corner from the hotel. We checked in at the restaurant’s front desk and a very friendly member of the team showed us to our room.
The Harry Potter-themed rooms
We stayed in a room called The Chamber which had a comfortable king size bed, a big bathroom with Elemis toiletries and lots of quirky touches, like a gargoyle, a hidden TV and even a sorting hat and broomstick.
The walls were decorated with Black family wallpaper and portraits – luckily none of them decided to come to life during our stay!
Our visit to the Hallow and Crux Harry Potter hotel in Alnwick was on a chilly and wet weekend in December and the hotel was easily warm enough – so warm we had to turn down the radiators in our room.
The Chamber is at the front of the hotel, facing the road, the statue of Harry Hotspur and the Pottergate Tower which was part of Alnwick’s 15th century town walls (although the one that stands today was rebuilt in the 18th century). I was a little worried that it might be noisy because of the road but we slept really well.
The Chamber is one of Hallow and Crux’s king size rooms for two people. The other room for couples is The Marauders, which has a magnificent carved wooden bed.
There are two rooms for families called The Common Room and Dumbledorm, both of which sleep two adults and two children.
The team at the Dirty Bottles bought the building next door when it became available in 2020, and it’s this building where you’ll find the Harry Potter-themed hotel rooms. Both buildings are hundreds of years old, and there were a couple of flights of stairs to get up to our room. It wasn’t a problem for us but it’s worth knowing if you have accessibility needs.
Bar and restaurant
We had drinks and dinner in The Dirty Bottles downstairs. We’d booked a table as it was a Friday night close to Christmas but I get the feeling that it’s a good idea to book most of the time.
We started off with a couple of drinks and I couldn’t resist trying one of their Harry Potter-themed cocktails. I had a Golden Snitch, which was a delicious blend of pineapple vodka, passion fruit syrup and pineapple juice shaken with lemon juice.
For our main courses I had a halloumi kebab, which was delicious, and my partner had a butter bean burger. The portions were great for two hungry people!
We were too full for dessert so we shared one of their giant cocktails instead – I wasn’t quite prepared for our Floozy Suzy (Passoa, gin, orange juice, passion fruit puree, lemonade and grenadine) to come in a glass shaped like a naked lady though!
The restaurant was decorated with lots of fun magical and festive touches, including a miniature Christmas village train set, pictures of the Dursleys on the mantlepiece, letters from Hogwarts coming down the chimney and a Harry Potter-themed Christmas tree.
Breakfast is included in the room price and is cooked to order for you; they ask you to order the night before. There was a breakfast menu in the room for us to mark our choices and we handed it in at the bar when we went down for dinner.
Breakfast is only served between 9 and 10. This could be a problem if you’re wanting to get out and about early, but it wasn’t an issue for us.
We both had the veggie breakfast which set us up well for the day. You could help yourself to cereal as well if you didn’t fancy a cooked breakfast or you wanted something else as well.
Hallow and Crux is in a perfect location for all of Alnwick’s attractions. Barter Books is 11 minutes’ walk, the main gate for the Alnwick Garden is 16 minutes’ walk away and Alnwick Castle is right behind the hotel; it’s around 5 minutes’ walk to get to the main entrance.
The last time we came to Alnwick in summer 2022 we stayed just outside the town centre, and we really enjoyed being in the town centre this time round.
Alnwick is a really good base for other places to visit in Northumberland. Bamburgh Castle is 25 minutes away by car, Holy Island (Lindisfarne) is 36 minutes away and the lovely coastal village of Alnmouth is only 11 minutes from Alnwick.
My favourite new Northumberland attraction, the Ad Gefrin whisky distillery and Anglo Saxon museum in Wooler is around 30 minutes from Alnwick by car, although you may want to stay overnight in Wooler so you can make the most of the tasting session!
Final thoughts – is the Hallow and Crux Harry Potter hotel worth it?
I really enjoyed our stay at the Hallow and Crux hotel. The magical theme is really nicely done and there are just enough Harry Potter touches to feel fun without being too scary to get a good night’s sleep.
The bar and restaurant is great, with a big cocktail menu and filling portions, and the location is fantastic, with parking close by and easy access to all the top things to do in Alnwick. I’m sure we’ll be back!