Opening Times & Information
PLEASE NOTE NEW TOURS AND PRICES WILL BE IN FORCE AS FROM 25TH MAY 2013. PLEASE SEE THE WHAT'S ON OR LATEST NEWS PAGES OF THIS WEBSITE FOR FURTHER DETAILS OR TELEPHONE 01524 64998.
Lancaster Castle is still used as a Crown Court and until March 2011 was also a Category C prison.
The areas that made up HMP Lancaster Castle are not open to the public at all as yet, and the future use of the building is still to be decided. However, it is possible to see a good portion of the building and learn about its long and fascinating history by joining one of our guided tours at the Shire Hall.
We are open 7 days a week (except the Christmas/ New Year period) from 10:00am to 5:00pm, with tours operating between 10:30am and 4:00pm. We advise to ring ahead on the day to check availability.
Admission: Adults £5, Concessions £4, Family £14 (Our family tickets are flexible: two adults and any two concessions or one adult and any three concessions) Accompanying Registered Carers are admitted free. Please note that young people under the age of sixteen must be accompanied by a responsible adult.
Ask about our great deals on Xplorer Tickets for even better value
WE REGRET THAT PHOTOGRAPHY IS NOT PERMITTED ANYWHERE IN THE BUILDING. This is simply the law- it is not permitted in this country at the moment to take photos in a court building
Lancaster Castle (Shire Hall) is a Quality Assured Visitor Attraction
TOUR DETAILS: PLEASE NOTE THESE WILL CHANGE AS OF 25TH MAY 2013 - SEE WHAT'S ON OR LATEST NEWS PAGES OF THIS WEBSITE FOR FURTHER DETAILS OR TELEPHONE 01524 64998
- The content of the tours varies due to the pattern of use by the Crown Courts, so we do advise you to ring us before planning your visit so that we can update you on what is available on any given day (01524) 64998.
- Weekends are not affected by court use of the castle and tours operate on Saturdays and Sundays every 30 minutes 10:30am to 4:00 pm.
- For people on our 4:00pm tours please note that the shop closes at 4:50pm
- Lancaster Castle is delighted to welcome children of all ages but we must remind visitors that it is a working building. All visitors are therefore asked to respect any requests for quiet made by members of staff. There are certain areas of the building where noise travels very easily and this can be disruptive to other people working on the premises.
- In exceptional circumstances, the management reserves the right to ask people to leave the building if their behaviour is considered to be disruptive to other members of the tour group, LCC staff or other agencies working in the building.
INFORMATION FOR SCHOOLS
- We are happy to receive enquiries from schools throughout the year. Our guided tours offer students the opportunity the see one of the last working castles in the country, learn about the administration of the law through the last 1,000 years, and experience for themselves what it meant to be imprisoned here.
- Tours run daily between 10:30am and 4:00pm. Their frequency during the day depends on the use of the castle by the crown court, but all tours last 1 hour, and if you have any special subject that you would like discussed just let us know.
- The cost to schools is £2.50 per head, with 1 adult admitted free for every 10 children and any other adults charged at the child rate.
- Pre-booking is essential.
When you book please supply the following information:
- Name and address of the school
- Contact name and phone number
- Age and KeyStage of the pupils
- Number of pupils/staff expected
- How you wish to pay.
- If you want to park a coach or minibus on site during your stay
We do not ask schools for a deposit but would be grateful if you could keep us informed should your plans change after booking
Payment can be by invoice/card/cheque (made payable to Lancashire County Council) or cash for non-LCC schools, and by card/cheque/cash or Journal Transfer to LCC establishments.
First Aid: while we have a First Aid kit on site which you are welcome to use you should arrange suitable cover while visiting the castle.
An electronic version of our risk assessment for schools and a basic teacher's pack is available at time of booking if you supply us with your email address.
Please contact us on (01524) 64998 for more details and we'll be happy to help you book your visit
GROUP BOOKINGS (OTHER THAN SCHOOLS)
- We welcome visits from groups of all ages both during the day and in the evening.
- There is room to park a coach on site with prior notice.
Admission Prices for Groups:
- All Daytime Group Tours: £4 per head. A deposit of £20 is required to secure bookings.
- Adult Evening Tours: £5 per head. A deposit of £50 is required, which must be received at least one week before the tour date. This covers the first 10 admissions. NB this is our minimum charge for evening tours for adult groups.
- Child Evening Tours (ie under 15s) will be charged the £4 rate and a deposit of £40 will be required (as above)
ALL CHEQUES MUST BE MADE PAYABLE TO LANCASHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL- we also accept credit/debit cards and cash.
Our maximum per tour at all times is 50 people but we can organise multiple tours if your group exceeds this number. Please call us on 01524 64998 or in person and we will be delighted to help you with your booking- or you can email us at email@example.com
- Certain areas within the building are available to hire for private events providing they are suitable for the building.
- Room hire charges are £60 per hour or part of an hour
- Private events can usually only take place on weekday evenings between 6:00pm and 11:00pm. If you are considering hiring the castle at any other times please call us to discuss your plans
- The maximum occupancy for most areas is 60, with 120 permitted in the Shire Hall itself.
- Events can be catered but there is nowhere for a sit down meal and we cannot offer any catering services ourselves, so the cost of bringing in outside caterers should be factored into your plans.
- Should you wish to include a guided tour in your event the cost would be £4 per head on top of the hire charge.
- Renting a room does not mean you have access to other areas within the castle and we ask you to respect that.
If you would like to know more please call us on 01524 64998, allowing at least 2 weeks notice, and we'll be happy to discuss your requirements.
We regret that we are not able to assist any groups with this type of investigation at this time
Access Statement for The Shire Hall, Lancaster Castle
Situated very close to the city centre, Lancaster Castle is still a working building. The main part of the castle (the former HMP Lancaster Castle) is at present inaccessible to the general public. The remainder- the Shire Hall complex- is used on most weekdays as a crown court, but it is still possible to see this part of the building by joining one of our regular guided tours.
Wheelchair access is severely limited. The reception area/shop is accessible, and there is an interactive kiosk situated in this area for anyone unable to take part in a tour. This includes a virtual tour with 360 degree views of the rooms themselves. Access to the remainder of the building (and thus the tour itself) is via two flights of stairs and there are further flights throughout the hour-long tour. Information sheets are provided for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, and these are also available in a number of foreign languages for people whose first language is not English (at present French, German, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Maltese, Japanese, Greek and Chinese).
Lancaster Castle is located in the centre of the city and is sign-posted from junctions 33 and 34 of the M6 motorway.
The castle is situated at the top of a hill, and so all routes to the building are uphill and fairly steep in places. The castle is a five minute walk from the railway station; the bus station is a ten to fifteen minute walk.
The streets surrounding the castle are a mixture of paving flags, cobbles, and tarmac, and are uneven in places.
Arrival & Car Parking Facilities
There is a car park on site, adjacent to the shop entrance, but on most weekdays it is primarily intended for people attending the crown court. However, we will always try to accommodate visitors where possible, especially those with mobility problems; visitors are strongly recommended to contact us in advance with regard to car parking. When the court is not sitting it is usually possible to park whilst visiting either the castle or the adjacent Priory Church. There are also Pay and Display spaces around the castle perimeter, and other car parks are available within walking distance should parking prove impossible on site. The car park is lit at night by streetlight-type lamps.
There is plenty of space to drop off outside the reception/shop if on- site parking is not available. The car park is primarily tarmac and generally level, with some cobbles on the lower part of the approach to it. There are no steps from the car park to the shop entrance. Access to the shop is through a manual outward opening door. The clear opening width of the shop doors is 930mm (37"). There is room for access to the rear of vehicles
The entrance to the tours, via the shop, is accessible and flat, although there is a small cobbled area immediately outside the main door. The floor of the shop area is flat (flagstones), and lighting is low-level, mostly natural, with some energy saving bulbs, spotlights and fluorescent tubes. There is a limited amount of seating in the reception area, and a low counter area suitable for wheelchair users. There are no lifts at Lancaster Castle.
Entry is by guided tour only, so please inform your guide or any of the staff on duty if you have any special requirements. We have a tour script for those with hearing difficulties in addition to a large print version. A pad and pen can be provided if required. Registered carers are admitted free of charge.
Entry to the guided tour is at first floor level, and requires the ascent of two flights of stairs. There are other stairs on the tour including one short spiral staircase. The castle is unsuitable for buggies or prams but these can be safely left at reception.
• Opening hours are 10:00am-5:00pm with tours between 10:30am and 4:00pm
There is seating in most of the rooms viewed on the tour, with the exception of the Grand Jury Room. Some of the rooms visited during the guided tour have are a limited number of illustrated display boards which are written in large print supplemented by the use of illustrations and photographs
Floor surfaces are a mixture of flagstone, wood and short-pile carpeted areas.
Areas are well lit, with a variety of bulbs/tubes used, including fluorescent, low energy bulbs, LED's, fibre optics, spotlights and floodlighting.
There are no disabled toilets on site, although there are public toilets for service users on the first floor of the building. The toilets are lit by low energy bulbs. The floors are flagstones (ladies) and non-slip floor-covering (gents), and the taps are standard fittings (not lever). There are no baby changing facilities.
Visitors are alerted to any emergency within the building via both audible sounders and flashing lights.
The shop is located at the rear of the castle, opposite the entrance to the Priory Church, adjacent to the castle car park. It is wheelchair/pushchair accessible, and the clear door opening is 930mm (37"). There is sufficient space between fixtures and fittings for wheelchair and pushchair access around the sales floor area, and staff are happy to assist where possible. There is no background music. Merchandise is displayed on a variety of fixtures and fittings, including spinners, tables, and bookshelves. The till has a low counter area. There are no catering facilities on site
We are a member of the Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Scheme (VAQAS)
All staff are trained in emergency evacuation procedures and a safety announcement is made prior to the start of all tours.
All staff also receive relevant equality and diversity training.
Assistance dogs are welcome, and we can provide water if required
The Shire Hall, Lancaster Castle, Castle Parade
Lancaster LA1 1YJ
Telephone: 01524 64998 Fax: 01524 847914
Created: 14 September 2010
Judges' Lodgings Museum
Good Friday - June 30th & October 1.00 - 4.00, Monday - Friday
12.00 - 4.00, Saturday -Sunday
July, August, September 10.00 - 4.00, Monday-Friday
12.00 - , Saturday-Sunday
Admission - Adults £3.00, Concessions £2.00, Children (accompanied) FREE
Group tours available - ring 01524 32808 for details
School groups welcome - ring 01524 555617 for details