Access Statement for Lancaster Castle
Updated June 2021
This access statement does not contain personal opinions as to our suitability for those with access needs, but aims to accurately describe the facilities and services that we offer all our visitors.
This access statement can be provided in large print on request.
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. Entry to the courtyard area is free of charge. Tours are currently free of charge and run regularly throughout the day between 10:30 and 15:45 (specific tour times vary and are subject to change).
Wheelchair access is severely limited. The area immediately outside the gatehouse is cobbled, but it is sometimes possible for vehicles to drop off/pick up people with mobility problems just outside the main John O’Gaunt Gatehouse. It should be emphasised, however, that this is not always possible and can only be offered by prior arrangement. Vehicles cannot be left inside the perimeter of the walls.
The tour incorporates the courtyard outside, two courtrooms inside and exits through the rear of the building. Access throughout the site (and thus on the tour itself) is via uneven floor surfaces. The tour route has changing floor levels and flights of stairs throughout. Tours last approximately 45 minutes.
Our evacuation procedures are displayed prominently and all staff are familiar with the fire exits and muster points. The tour guides will ensure that all visitors safely evacuate the building if there is any call for them to do so.
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 pedestrian routes to the building are via a steep climb. 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 this is primarily for people attending the crown court. However, we will always try to accommodate visitors with mobility problems; limited-mobility visitors are strongly recommended to contact us in advance with regard to car parking. There are also ‘pay and display’ spaces around the castle perimeter, and other car parks are available within walking distance. ‘Blue badge’ holders should consult Lancaster City Council policies in regard to the use of blue badges in pay and display spaces (Tel. 01524 582000).
The area immediately outside the gatehouse is cobbled, but it is sometimes possible for vehicles to drop off/pick up people with mobility problems just outside the main John O’Gaunt Gatehouse. It should be emphasised, however, that this is not always possible and can only be offered by prior arrangement. Vehicles cannot be left inside the perimeter of the walls.
The aforementioned car park is lit at night by streetlight-style lamps. It 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 on your left. The route from car park to gatehouse involves walking along a tarmacked 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. The width of the gatehouse is 3 metres 30 centimetres (approx. 11 feet).
The tour route is unsuitable for buggies, prams and wheelchairs. Buggies, prams, etc. can be left in a designated spot prior to the start of the tour at the owner’s risk. This space is not covered or supervised. Please ask a member of staff before the tour if you would like to do this.
Baggage and personal belongings cannot be stored anywhere on site at any time, including with buggies, prams or wheelchairs.
The Tour Route
The tour starts in the former prison / courtyard. Floor surfaces in the former prison are a mixture of flagstone, cobbles, tarmac and concrete.
From the former prison the tour moves inside the court complex. The tour takes in a number of different levels within the building which require the ascent and descent of flights of stairs.
There is limited seating in most of the rooms viewed on the tour.
Floor surfaces in the court complex are a mixture of flagstone, vinyl, stone, concrete and wood.
Areas are generally well lit, with a variety of bulbs/tubes used, including fluorescent, low energy bulbs, LEDs, fibre optics, spotlights and floodlighting.
The exit for the tour is via the rear of the building which leads on to the previously mentioned court car park.
A disabled toilet is available on site, it is located in the toilet block adjacent to the café in the former prison. There are public toilets in the same area. The toilets are lit by low energy bulbs or fluorescent tubes. The floors are vinyl and the taps are a mixture of standard fittings, push fittings and lever fittings. Baby changing facilities are also located here. There are no public facilities available once the tour moves into the court building.
There are no toilets in the court complex which forms part of the tour. Prospective visitors are advised to contact the castle on 01524 64998 if limited access to toilets might be problematic and to discuss specific arrangements prior to a planned visit.
Visitors are alerted to any emergency within the Castle courtyards and/or buildings via audible sounders. Within the court complex there are both audible sounders and flashing lights.
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.
Colin Penny, Museum Manager
Lancaster Castle Museum
The Shire Hall