Fails of the Urban Explorer: Otterburn Hall

Fails of the Urban Explorer: Otterburn Hall

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Our recent trip to Northumberland brought with it a plethora of failures as far as I was concerned.

I had plotted our course to Alnwick travelling past a couple of prolific Urbex locations only to find one disappointment after another. In fact, since Lanzarote, I can't count a single success.

However, some failures are much worse than others and the trip to Otterburn Hall on the outskirts of The Northumberland National Park proved to be the best of the worst.

Making preparations for far away visits is essential. Google maps and street views are imperative to your plans.

Where to park; which direction to approach the target from; where are the closest nosey bastards likely to coming from to challenge your arrival.

All factors you must check and in this case, I knew precisely where to dump the car and which bit of wilderness to crawl through to get close to the old hall.

When you get there, it's usually nothing like what you expect and upon parking in the location I planned, two old dears came strolling out of the dense woods with their dogs giving us strange looks.

...'disgraceful I say Mildred, they just come and park anywhere polluting our air with their filthy cars and....'...

OK Mildred whatever..., we really don't give a shit. If Mildred and Agnus came from the woods, then maybe it’s a public footpath? This would make things so much easier.

I knew that on the north side of Otterburn Hall there is a hotel and considered making this our base. It all seemed so blatant so disregarded this plan.

...'she came. but wasn't so keen despite the huge smile'...

With a disgruntled @bingbabe in tow we made through a muddy path and came across a deep looking lake.

It was indeed a public right of way, so far so good.

Beyond the lake, I spotted the hall and little in our way to impede the approach. It was all looking good and the old building quite magnificent.

Otterburn Hall is an English country house and estate in Otterburn, Northumberland. It is situated in 500 acres of deer park and woodland in the Northumberland National Park, northeastern England.

The building was constructed in 1870 for Lord James Douglas, the land given to him as recompense for the death of Lord James Douglas, who fought at the Battle of Otterburn, and was killed near Otterburn Tower (originally a castle), itself founded in 1086, and rebuilt in 1830. Both Otterburn Hall and Otterburn Castle have been seats of landed gentry.

From 1980 to 2012, Otterburn Hall was used as a hotel. The house is Grade-II listed with English Heritage, and rated with four-stars by the Architectural Association School of Architecture.

The Battle of Otterburn? These buildings always seem to revolve around death and destruction, and the bloodiness England used to be made up of.

We walked up the conservatory which was pretty much smashed up and had a look around.

There would be no going in the dining room today, the door was full of huge nails pinning it firmly closed.

This piece of fine décor was the only thing of note in the conservatory, the rest being quite vandalised.

It was time to walk around; we saw nobody at all within the vast grounds and felt alone.

This door was firmly closed as were all the windows. No way in on this side of the manor house.

This must have been someplace once. I can imagine the rich wandering down to the lake edge a hundred years ago during summer for their afternoon tea.

This side of the building has seen a modern extension, but once again it was quite sealed unless you wanted to perform acrobatics

Are those ladders poking out of the ground and had someone smashed an upper window in anger and then left them hanging around?

This corner was a little more interesting with one room open, and so we wandered inside.

There was so much shit and crap on the floor I didn't fancy heaving myself to the other corner to find probably... nothing.

The room status report is from 2011. There were a whole lot of rooms here and they all seem to be taken, so why had it closed and got into this terrible state?

I’m willing to bet someone got in here, jump on the bin then scramble up that roof and Woohoo. No thanks, I’m way too ancient for this.

Ah, a trapdoor.., could we crawl through the dungeons and hope they are not locked with rotting skeletons and bones?

Not quite what I was anticipating.

Walking around to the front door we were in full view of the premises opposite to us, and so walked around whistling nonchalantly while looking skyward.

The half-hearted fencing was laughable; you needed to walk around it for access to the grounds from this direction.

At one point I squinted through a window and saw evidence of building materials inside. So they are planning to renovate it?

I hope so, the building is awesome and part of our English heritage.

While Otterburn Hall is relatively sealed up for the moment, we had a good look around and I for one am glad that we stopped by for a short visit.

...All Photographs and Images are my own...



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Comments 45

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11.02.2020 18:12

Wow, what a swell place to explore! Perfect for a Resident Evil game or something of the sort. Dare you to go at night hahaha.


11.02.2020 18:17

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11.02.2020 18:17

Night? count me out.., they are really creepy inside and I would have struggled to get my other half inside during daylight!

The lower floors are the worst, the dungeons. Wet, smelly, creepy with constant dripping water. I have done several.

11.02.2020 19:36

Craaaazy, but awesome nonetheless

12.02.2020 04:19

Such a beautiful place, left to rot. :( I too really hope that there are renovation plans that save the building and the surroundings.

11.02.2020 18:27

I like to get inside and have a mooch around before renovation time if possible. There's always a record of what it once looked like then.

There was a way in but considering who was with me, I didn't enter on this occasion. Too much climbing involved for her.

11.02.2020 19:28

I like to get inside and have a mooch around before renovation time if possible.

That is the most exiting thing always in old buildings. Especially if you can find trivial things that were somehow important to people once. Or tell a story of some sort.

I'll be looking forward for your possible second visit to the Otterburn hall and the post. :)

11.02.2020 21:32

I'll be looking forward for your possible second visit to the Otterburn hall and the post. :)

That has happened on more than one occasion but as Otterburn is more than one hundered miles north, it's unlikely!

11.02.2020 21:34

I am so glad that I stopped here. This was so very interesting. I couldn't wait to get around each bend of this post. Photography is amazing. This makes me want to visit England, and one day O' one glorious day, I shall with honour! :P Thanks for sharing.

11.02.2020 18:35

Thanks for stopping by and good you found it interesting. Urbex is one of my 'things', it gets addictive!

11.02.2020 19:32

I was a little unfamiliar with the terminology. Would you mind giving me a short explanation?

11.02.2020 20:51

Urbex or Urban Exploration is the exploration of old, disused, derelict or abandoned buildings. It's both a photography and historian hobby, and requires you to trespass which in England is a civil but not criminal offense.

In other words, it gets you going, senses tingling.. all this creeping around trying not to be caught before you can get your photography. It's dangerous as hell as these places are often in a terrible state of repair.

Getting caught is more embarrassing than anything else, the guards will tell you to leave... and you must do so and that's if the owners have hired some kind of security.

11.02.2020 21:03

HAAA That WOULD be addicting as all hell!! We would get arrested in the states, but what a thrill that would be! I can't say I've never run from the cops. I can say, that when I've run, I've never been caught! This is partially because I only used to run, when I knew I had a good chance of escaping. lol.

11.02.2020 21:33

The cops won't do much so long as you don't possess certain items such as crowbars, spray paint guns etc.., I know owners have called the cops in the past and they turn up looking rather bored.

What's to steal in a derelict building with smashed windows or broken down doors?

There's a certain amount of ignorance regarding what we do, and what's illegal. No breaking in, no smashing anything, no taking anything (besides photographs) is the mark of a true Urbexer.

Still gets the adrenaline going though, despite knowing all this.

11.02.2020 21:41

Well I think it's very cool, and I didn't steal things to get the cops after me in general.... just didn't check in with my P.O. Those days are passed, but I know what the thrill is like! :) This Urbex seems very VERY cool. Thank you again for the post, I gave you a follow so that I'll catch the next one hopefully.


11.02.2020 22:05

It looks like it is still in good enough shape that they could easily do some renovations and get it back open for something. They just need to hurry up and get it done before those folks that run around torching all of these places get there.

11.02.2020 19:19

Yeah, it's horrible to see these in such a state. We saw a castle (which I will feature in another post), so majestic, but derelict.

11.02.2020 19:33


11.02.2020 19:45


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11.02.2020 19:31

Nice old building. Hope it does get restored and used. Thanks for the tour.

11.02.2020 20:10

I wanted to get in..., 'sulk'

11.02.2020 20:14

Still got some cracking shots. I bet it is amazing inside. Hopefully it isn't left to rot and ruin!

11.02.2020 20:28

I figured it was worth its own post, some of them are not. I have a few other fails which will get amalgamated into a post, most are just a few shots. We didn't see old nosey dears during our retreat.

11.02.2020 20:34

It was certainly worth a post. Fails are almost as good as successes sometimes!

11.02.2020 22:21

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11.02.2020 20:28

Such a beautiful ruin! One can really feel the vibe :) Must've been great back then!

11.02.2020 20:39

It is! I only wish there were more closer to home. I have done most of the local ones within 16 miles or so.

11.02.2020 21:04

Saddening. To precious to be abandoned.

11.02.2020 20:55

I love it : let’s club together and host SF6 there!!

11.02.2020 21:33

It would be a great venue if we could clear out the dust, crap, and skeletons from the dungeon!

11.02.2020 21:35

I say that place still has potential. Depending on the condition of the inside, I bet it can be brought back. I hope so anyways. Such a grand, stately looking place.

12.02.2020 09:07

very beautiful...

12.02.2020 12:31

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13.02.2020 00:19

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13.02.2020 01:02

This is definitely one place to keep your eyes on.

Might be redone again.

13.02.2020 17:39

I would but it's far to the north of me, 140 miles or so. We were on a road trip at the time. I did a burnt-out pub today, not as exciting by far.

13.02.2020 17:50

Oh dang, that is indeed far. Ah well, that's too bad.

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14.02.2020 18:52

awesome pictures and place. thx for sharing.

15.02.2020 23:30

That is bloody lovely, not even this bandied about anywhere. Nice find great shots

16.02.2020 10:25

I found a single report on either 28days or derelictplaces.., that's where some of my leads come from. Not ideal, but it works.

16.02.2020 10:40