It’s not often you hear me talk about a day out in a castle, but I can highly recommend wheelchair friendly days out in Lincoln Castle.
During our stay at Elms Farm Cottages in Lincolnshire, Carol, our host, recommended we visit Lincoln Castle.
I’ll be honest, I was unsure whether it would be worth our time because castles are not designed for wheelchairs, or so I thought!
It might have been a dull day, and sadly the only camera I had with me was my phone, but we loved it and I’m sure you will to.
Built on the site of an old Roman fortress, Lincoln Castle stands as a testament to the power William the Conqueror wielded back in 1068.
Originally designed to quell the resistance from the north, throughout the decades, the castle has witnessed some of the most disturbing times in English history.
Today, after undergoing many transformations and uses, Lincoln Castle stands as a reminder of our turbulent yet glorious past.
It’s also a great example of what can be achieved when there is a will to make an impenetrable castle accessible. Not least the castle walls which were the last place I’d expect to be accessible to wheelchairs.
Access to Lincoln Castle
The castle is open every day of the year except Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.
Opening times vary throughout the year and access can be limited when events are on or during adverse weather conditions.
Check this page before you visit: Lincoln Castle Opening Times
Lincoln Castle and Lincoln Cathedral sit proudly overlooking Lincoln city centre. Whilst, in theory, you could park at the lower levels of the city and walk up, I’d recommend driving to the castle as the streets are steep.
We found a small car park at the East Gate which is the accessible entrance. There are numerous small car parks around the castle walls but space is limited. During busy times, you might find it difficult to secure a space, especially a disabled space.
You can find a list of car parks with postcodes on this page: Lincoln Castle – Getting Here
Accessibility Inside Lincoln Castle
Before I show you what we did inside Lincoln Castle, let me draw your attention to their Accessibility Statement. It’s always a good idea to check this first because as you know, disability and access are unique to each one of us.
Lincoln Castle Accessibility Statement
- Points of note:
Carers of disabled visitors have free admission but proof of eligibility may be required.
- Assistance dogs are welcome throughout the castle.
- There are disabled toilets on the ground floor of the prison (with hoist) and at the East Gate entrance.
- The castle has two wheelchairs for hire from the shop.
- There are induction loops in the shop, Victorian Prison and Magna Carta Vault
The Castle Grounds
We entered through the East gate. As you’d expect, given the age of the castle, there are uneven surfaces. We did, however, find large paving slabs to navigate our way so the ride was reasonably smooth.
Staff at the gate are only too happy to assist you with directions, information and general access guidance.
Entrance tickets and information are available in the shop. Access to the shop building is via a ramp. We didn’t encounter any issues with the wheelchair.
The Castle Cafe
Before exploring, we visited the cafe in the former Georgian gaol.
Walkways are tight, but accessible in a manual wheelchair. I’m not sure it’d be manageable on a mobility scooter, especially as size varies so I would check before visiting.
The Prison Chapel
Suitably fed and harbouring a sugar rush, we made our way to the disabled viewing point overlooking the prison chapel.
In all honesty, “chapel” is the wrong word because it’s the most sinister place I have ever seen. Prisoners were separated into tight cubicles, the preacher could see them but they couldn’t see each other.
You access the chapel viewing point by taking a lift. The lift is used for people with limited mobility. You need to get a keycard from the shop to use the lift which I think is sensible and avoids overcrowding.
Making our way to the viewing point, the corridors were tight so only standard size wheelchairs would manage it comfortably.
The Victorian Jail
There are steps up to the jail and museum entrance. Thankfully, a platform lift has been installed. This is a lesson to all heritage buildings, it’s a simple solution and proves when access is an issue, it can be overcome.
It’s hard to imagine the deprivation that went on in the prison. There are multiple displays and artefacts to give you a taste of life in prison, but I fear they don’t tell the whole horror story.
The David P J Ross Magna Carta Vault
Access to the Magna Carta Vault is through an automatic door, across a flat purpose built walkway then through another set of automatic doors. There is a lift down to the vault and cinema. The cinema has a 210-degree wraparound screen with 3D sound.
Because of the nature and age of the “Magna Carta” and the “Charter of the Forest” which is also in the vault, photography is not allowed. The lighting is kept purposely low in the vault to protect the documents so this is something to consider when you’re visiting.
As I said, no photography is allowed inside the vault so you’ll have to take my word for it, it’s a moving experience.
The Castle Walls
For me, the crowning glory at Lincoln Castle is the castle walls walk. If ever you needed proof that accessibility is only limited by imagination, this is it.
You access the walls via a disabled access gate, then in a lift up to the walls and the walk is a mixture of purpose-built platform and original castle wall walkway.
The views across Lincoln from the top are stunning. Even on a dull day, the cities rooftops and Cathedral are a sight to behold.
To be fair, Bridget was still a bit scaredy cat on the high walls but when else would you get the chance to use a wheelchair on top of a 1000-year-old castle?
Days Out in Lincoln Castle
If you are in or around Lincoln, a day out at Lincoln Castle is a must. We travel around the UK and not many castles are accessible, if you get the chance to visit one, don’t miss the opportunity.
Big thanks should be given to the castle and all involved in making it so accessible. I know I said some of the exhibitions might be tricky on a mobility scooter but there’s still plenty to see and do.
If you are lucky enough to visit on a clear day, the views from the castle walls will take your breath away. And when you’re done, you could wander over to Lincoln Cathedral or navigate the quirky streets in Lincoln city centre.
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