Opening Times & Information
PLEASE NOTE THAT GUIDED TOURS WILL NOT OPERATE ON THE FOLLOWING DAYS OVER THE CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR PERIOD: 24th/25th/26th/27th DECEMBER 2013 & 1st JANUARY 2014
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 9:30am to 5:00pm, with tours operating between 10:00am and 4:00pm. We advise to ring ahead on the day to check availability.
Admission: Adults £8, Concessions £6.50, Family £20 (Our family tickets are flexible: two adults and up to 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 10:00am 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 10:00am and 4:00pm. Their frequency during the day depends on the use of the castle by the crown court, but all tours last approximately 75 minutes, and if you have any special subject that you would like discussed just let us know.
- The cost to schools is £4.00 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: £6.50 per head. A deposit of £26.00 is required to secure bookings.
- Adult Evening Tours: £8.00 per head. A deposit of £80.00 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 £6.50 rate and a deposit of £65.00 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Certain areas within the building are available to hire for private events providing they are suitable for the building.
- Room hire charges are £70 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 £8.00 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 Lancaster Castle
Situated very close to the city centre, Lancaster Castle is still a working building. Public access to the castle is through the main gatehouse situated at the front of the building, although large parts of the former HMP Lancaster Castle are at present inaccessible. Entry to the courtyard area is free of charge, but to access any buildings it is necessary to take a guided tour, and these run regularly throughout the day between 10.00am and 4.00pm. The Shire Hall, which forms part of the guided tour, is used on most weekdays as a crown court, and whilst tours always take place they can be restricted by court activity.
Wheelchair access is severely limited. The reception area, shop and cafe are accessible, as is the courtyard, and there is an interactive kiosk situated in the shop for anyone unable to take part in a tour. This includes a virtual tour with 360 degree views of the rooms themselves.
The area immediately outside the gatehouse is cobbled, but it is sometimes possible for vehicles to drop off/pick up people with mobility problems inside the castle perimeter. It should be emphasised, though, that this is not always possible and can only be offered by prior arrangement. Vehicles cannot be left inside the perimeter of the walls. Access to the remainder of the building (and thus the tour itself) is via uneven floor surfaces, with changing levels; there are also further flights of stairs throughout the 75 minute 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, situated at the rear of the castle, 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.
The car park is primarily tarmac and generally level, with some cobbles on the lower part of the approach to it. From the car park, access to the gatehouse involves walking around the walls keeping the castle either on your left or right. In the case of the former, this involves walking along a tarmaced path which leads to the cobbled area immediately outside the gatehouse. There is a step up onto the path and a step down at the other end. When keeping the castle on your right, walk down the hill using the flagged path adjacent to the walls, walk through the castle staff car park (the public are not permitted to park here), and this leads to the cobbled area immediately outside the gatehouse. The width of the gatehouse is 3 metres 30 centimetres (approx. 11 feet).
Entry to the shop is via a ramp which measures 93cm across at its narrowest point. This leads to a door which is 90cm wide. The shop and cafe area are flat and accessible, and the flooring is wooden laminate. Lighting is provided by flourescent tubes. 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 ground floor level, but the tour takes in a number of different levels within the building which require the ascent and descent of stairs, including a short spiral staircase. The castle is unsuitable for buggies or prams but these can be left (at the owner's risk) in an enclosed area, please enquire for details.
• Opening hours are 9.30am-5:00pm with tours between 10.00am 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 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, cobbles, tarmac, concrete, 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.
A disabled toilet is available on site and located adjacent to the shop, and there are public toilets in the same area, as well as on the first floor of the Shire Hall complex. The toilets are lit by low energy bulbs or flourescent tubes. The floors are vinyl or tile (former prison) and flagstones (ladies) and non-slip floor-covering (gents) (Shire Hall complex), and the taps are a mixtrue of standard fittings, push fittings and lever fittings. Baby changing facilities are located in the disabled toilet.
Visitors are alerted to any emergency within the Shire Hall complex via both audible sounders and flashing lights.
There is sufficient space between fixtures and fittings in both the shop and cafe for wheelchair and pushchair access around the floor area, and staff are happy to assist where possible. There is no background music. Merchandise in the shop is displayed on a variety of fixtures and fittings, including spinners, tables, and bookshelves.
We are a member of the Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Scheme (VAQAS)
All Lancashire County Council staff are trained in emergency evacuation procedures and a safety announcement is made prior to the start of all tours.
All Lancashire County Council 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