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Alnwick Castle Guest Hall, UK

Working within historic British landmarks, require respect and appreciation of its history. Alnwick Castle is one of Britain’s most iconic castles and has been home to the Percy family for more than 700 years.

The castle’s grandeur and historical importance has seen it take several starring roles on the big screen for films and dramas. These include Downton Abbey as “Brancaster Castle”, the movie Robin Hood Prince of Thieves and most recently as Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the first two Harry Potter films

The Guest Hall is Grade II listed and used predominately as a function space, catering for weddings, events and corporate hire.

Northumberland Estates appointed Michael Grubb Studio to develop a sympathetic lighting scheme that would enhance the historic character of the space whilst providing much needed flexibility for temporary events and private hire.

Working closely with interior architects Ward Robinson, Michael Grubb Studio developed a lighting philosophy for the project where “warm-white” light was used to enhance both the historic features and the more modern interventions, such as the newly designed bar and balcony.

This approach ensured that the space retained a warm and inviting atmosphere, reminiscent of candlelight. For a Grade II building, a sympathetic approach was required.

When considering the final lighting design solution, the Guest Hall’s reconfiguration presented many challenges; in particular providing a flexible system that was discreet, respectful to the building, easy to configure and easy to operate for events and weddings. This was resolved by using remote controlled spotlights that were hidden between the rafters at high level. These spotlights provided precise lighting to tables and surrounding artworks on the wall.

Architectural lighting was then added to specific features, such as the window recesses, the decorative wooden ceiling structure and the balcony / bar. Additional “coloured” light was also incorporated within the window recesses, which was discreet but a necessity for some evening events, such as weddings and corporate hire.

A simple control system was introduced, which allowed for the ability to set specific moods for all occasions, ranging from daytime to evening events with an array of colours if and when needed.


The Northumberland Estates

Scope of Works

Outline Proposals, Detailed Design & Production, Construction, Focusing, Programming & Commissioning

Design Team

Ward Robinson & Michael Grubb Studio


Kristen McCluskie


Northumberland, UK