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“A different castle tour.”
Review of Lancaster Castle

Lancaster Castle
Ranked #2 of 45 things to do in Lancaster
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Owned by the serving monarch, HM Queen Elizabeth II, through the Duchy of Lancaster, Lancaster Castle is a wealth of English history. Since being established by the Romans the castle has been a home to monarchs, a place of trial and execution, and a working prison right up until 2012. Still a crown court, the majority of the castle is now open to the public for the first time in over 1,000 years. Since its opening in 2013, the Castle is gradually developing its offer of tours and events, as well as offering a cafe and gift shop in the grounds.
Reviewed 25 February 2013

This is more than simply a castle tour experience. Of course there are airless and lightless cells and a dungeon without which no castle would be worthy of the name, but there are also two working courts. One court is the oldest still functioning court in the country, while the other is like no other court you have ever seen before. There are hundreds of coats of arms of kings and notables from several hundred years ago adorning the walls of the Shire Hall court.

In the old court you can see the two wrist clamps attached to the dock where they used to brand felons prior to starting their punishment. You see, they didn`t have photography in those days and so they had to have some other way of recognising wrong-`uns.

There is a thing called the Drop Room where they happily used to drop people through a trapdoor that could be seen from outside. You would think that hitting the ground after falling about 20 feet, would injure people before the days of Health & Safety, but even a couple of hundred years ago they had health and safety in mind. To prevent injury, they tied a noose round the neck and they died of stopping suddenly, rather than breaking legs or anything.

The guides are informative and friendly and are quite happy to answer `silly` questions. I would strongly suggest that you ring the castle before a visit. This way you will be sure of visiting at a time when the building has no courts sitting. it is a much better, more interesting and more awesome experience to see both courts and get the commentary.

There are many steps to climb in the tour and a steep climb up a hill to the castle entrance itself and so is not suitable for the physically disabled or very elderly.

Thank gavioli
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,311 - 1,315 of 1,497 reviews

Reviewed 22 February 2013

very nice to look around and the tour guides were very knowledgeable about the castle and even some of the surrounding areas. Made links to places visitors came from e.g. compared the architecture of the castle to areas in Chester for us. Very friendly.

the castle itself has some beautiful features and it takes about an hour so it worth the £5 admission fee though it would be nicer to open up a little more of the castle as you do only see a small proportion.

The prison attached is going to be turned into a hotel but I agree with the tour guide that maybe its best to turn that into a museum and they could maybe do an exhibition on how prison life has changed in the castle from when it first started off.

Note; check the times as the tours run each hour so double check this in advance so you are not stood around waiting. We were lucky as we got there with only a 6 minute wait. Also this is an active court so check the court isnt in session as this limits your tour further... they do charge less but you may as well pay the full amount to see as much of the castle as you can.

Thank suzky123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 February 2013 via mobile

We had never done the tour even though we have lived in Lancaster for years. We took our visiting family and are glad we did. A very interesting tour full of wonderful historical facts. The castle is the jewel of Lancaster and such a nice walk to get to it. A really nice couple of hours .

Thank Jackieireton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 February 2013

This is such an interesting tour. It is by guide only and the guide is excellent - funny, interesting and informative. Very interesting with access to working courts if not in session. Visited with 3 adults and an 11-year-old and all of us found something of interest. Well worth the money.

Thank Renee T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 February 2013

We took sometiome out from work and caught the train from Morecambe to Lancaster. The castle has tours on the hour we paid £5.00 each. The guide is so informative and the castle has a working court that if not in session, you can view. worth every penny!

Thank LJP1960
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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