On a visit to Northumberland, we visited Alnwick Castle.
As you know, I’m partial to visiting random castles when we’re out bimbling, even though they’re not known for their accessibility.
I was reliably informed Harry Potter and Downton Abbey were filmed there, so I figured why not. I am not a fan of Harry Potter or Downton Abbey, but hey, ho!
The History of Alnwick Castle
Alnwick Castle has a fascinating history that can be traced back to 1093, when the castle was a wooden structure.
The Medieval History of Alnwick Castle
After countless sieges, battles and incursions, the castle was remodelled in stone.
These fortifications strengthened the castle’s defences and guaranteed its survival to the present day.
Interestingly, in 1309, the Bishop of Durham sold the castle to Henry Percy.
Here started the Percy family 700-year association with the castle.
Today, Alnwick Castle is home to Ralph Percy, the 12th Duke of Northumberland.
He and his wife, the Duchess, oversee an extensive commercial portfolio in and around the area.
Accessibility at Alnwick Castle
It has to be said access is limited in and around the castle.
Here is their full access information page: Accessibility in Alnwick Castle
From our point of view, and I was able at the time, I pushed Bridget up the inclined road to the castle entrance.
I noticed there were mobility scooters for hire at the entrance. Upon enquiry, these scooters are free to hire but do require pre-booking.
We parked in the visitor car park and visited The Alnwick Garden.
The car park is quite large, with ample disabled parking.
However, the car park was very busy with coach parties and a little frantic when we visited.
Although we didn’t use them, there is an accessible toilet located in the castle courtyard.
And accessible toilets in the Pavilion at The Alnwick Garden.
Note: There is a charge to enter the castle. Like most historic buildings, carers accompanying a disabled person are not required to pay.
Access inside the Castle and Grounds
We stayed in the courtyard and didn’t venture inside any buildings.
There are cobbles, grass and uneven surfaces. As ours was a flying visit, we managed it, but if you struggle with the vibration, I’d say it’s not for you.
From the accessibility statement:
- The State Rooms have stepped access (3 steps in total, with no handrail) to the Lower Guard Chamber and from there to an access lift (4 steps with a handrail).
- The lift does not accommodate a wheelchair; however, there is a seat for your comfort if required.
- The one-person lift gives access to the Upper Guard Chamber and the rest of the State Rooms and exhibitions.
- Visitors who are less able or use a wheelchair can exit the State Rooms by the Lower Guard Chamber.
- We, unfortunately, do not have any ramps for access for motorised scooters or wheelchairs.
- The courtyard, which contains the Castle Shop and Courtyard Café, is cobbled.
- The Castle Shop and Courtyard Café are accessible for wheelchairs, and this area also has a dedicated accessible toilet.
Worth a Visit?
I’m torn on whether I recommend visiting Alnwick Castle if you use a wheelchair because access is limited.
Managing a few steps opens up more of the castle to you if you can manage a few steps.
If you’re visiting the Alnwick Garden (which I’ll write about next), then a quick excursion inside the castle is fine.
But I probably wouldn’t be making a special trip to the castle if you could not exit your wheelchair.