Lutyens' renovation of the place, along with Jekyll’s planting plan for the garden and the castle surrounds, gave Edward Hudson (their patron) a comfortable – if slightly exposed – holiday home.
Since no major changes were made by Hudson’s successors, it is largely the Lutyens/Jekyll project which still greets the visitor today.
Lutyens' architectural changes to the structure of the house are evident from his use of distinctive pink sandstone, taken from the quarries at Doddington near Wooler on the mainland. Other sections of older, sometimes the oldest, parts of the castle were taken down and rebuilt to include new features. The eastern façade which looks down on the Lower Battery (the visitors’ first sight on entering the castle) is mostly of Tudor masonry. But it contains mullions around and arches above new windows, massive lintels above the doors and an entirely new semi-octagonal tower – all part of Ned’s plan.
Throughout the house Ned played with scale and space; small rooms with huge pieces of furniture, winding passages which seem unnecessary, steps down followed by steps up, low doorways in rooms with high ceilings. All these elements contribute to a remarkable experience in architecture. That is not to mention the collection of furniture, mostly assembled at that time either from Hudson’s property at previous houses or newly acquired (and commissioned) selected by Ned.
Ned also redesigned the walls of the old enclosed garden but left what was inside to Bumps. Her first plan was for a vegetable garden but it was her second plan, that of a summer flower garden, that was planted in 1911. This plan is the one our gardeners work to today. Bumps provided the garden with a wealth of colour during the summer months and designed it to be especially prolific during the month of August. Flowers include eight varieties of sweet peas, two of which are the delicate 'Miss Wilmott' and the deep crimson 'Queen Alexander'.
One of the castle’s most enduring attractions is that the work of these two friends is still so evident today.