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Skipton Castle - Quality Assured Visitor Attraction

Skipton Castle Access Statement

Brief History:
Skipton Castle, a medieval fortress over 900 years old is one of the most complete and best-preserved castles in England.  Hidden at the top of Skipton’s bustling High Street, its imposing towers and Gateway opens the key to reveal a truly historic secret gem.   The castle, originally a wooden motte and bailey built in 1090 by a Norman baron, Robert de Romille was later replaced by a stone building in the late 1100’s to withstand attacks by the Scots. Built on high craggy cliffs above the Eller Beck river, the castle commands views for miles around, making it the ultimate defensive structure.  In 1310, Edward II granted the castle to Robert Clifford, who was appointed Lord Clifford of Skipton but died in the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. Skipton Castle has withstood the tests of time including a three-year siege during the Civil War in 1645.  Daughter, Lady Anne Clifford fought to claim back and restore the castle after the siege.  To mark its restoration, Lady Anne planted a beautiful yew tree in the central courtyard, which still remains today.

Skipton castle is run as a tourist attraction for visitors and a venue for school visits, wedding ceremonies and private functions.

Aims
Whilst we ensure that we do everything possible for our visitors to access as much of the attraction as a possible, due to the nature of the building and health and safety reasons, there are many parts of the Castle that are not accessible to those with reduced mobility.   As the Castle was built as a fortress and is an ancient historical site, built long before the Disability Discrimination Act and Disability access requirements, we are unable to alter the fabric of the building or install a lift to reach the different floors within the castle.

There are a number of spiral staircases, different uneven surfaces including cobbles, flagstones and tarmac and uneven steps up to its many floors and levels. Hand rails are available on stairways to assist. However, we also advise that all visitors wear suitable footwear and are prepared for all kinds of weather.

As we are aware of the limitations of the access to the Castle for some, we aim to do as much as we can to ensure that all our visitors experience an enjoyable visit. We are committed to welcoming the widest possible public and although there is no wheelchair access into the castle building, please note that the main grounds, which also view the front of the castle and stage our summer re-enactments and events, our shop and tearoom are accessible for those with reduced mobility or wheelchairs.

Before arrival:
www.skiptoncastle.co.uk Our website gives details of all our events during the summer, travel details, car park information, admission charges, opening times, how to arrange a group visit and more.  There are also activities for children, an image library and details of visiting Skipton Castle Woods located behind the castle.

Information is also available on many tourism websites and printed literature including Welcome to Yorkshire, Visit Britain and many more. Skipton Castle leaflets can be found at local tourist information points and several local tourist attractions.

Accessible transport
Skipton is very easily accessible. By bus there is an hourly service (X84) from Leeds and a more regular service from Bradford and Keighley.

Trains run regularly from and to Leeds and Bradford therefore allowing easy access to Skipton or to onward destinations. The bus station is a five minute walk from the castle and the railway, a 12 minute walk.

Travelling by car – parking is easily available. For your visit to the Castle, a new car park has been constructed 300 metres beyond the Gateway and offers a short, secure walk down to the entrance/ticket office with no roads to cross. (BD23 1UA) Please see our website (under location) for more information.

Taxis: 01756 796666.  Many other taxi services are also locally available. Please note that visitors cannot be dropped off by any vehicle at the forecourt or entrance of the gatehouse/ticket office as this is needed for access at all times.

Main Reception / Ticket office is situated in the main Gateway and this is accessed by one stone step leading to a flagged floor. It is recommended, but not compulsory, that prams/buggies are left in Reception whilst going around the Castle owing to the number of steps and spiral stairways.

At the ticket office, a tour sheet in 10 different languages is available with your ticket. To discover which languages, a flag symbol can be seen at the top of our website. 

Guides and Staff
We strive to give all our visitors a warm welcome and our guides and staff will only be too happy to help.  Our guides have the history knowledge to answer any questions and a guided tour for a group of 15 more persons can be arranged if pre-booked at admin@skiptoncastle.co.uk

Access - public castle areas:

  • Approaching the Castle Gateway is a small slope, part of which is cobbled.
  • The ticket office is in the main gateway accessed by one step leading to a flag floor.
  • To access the main Castle building, there are cobbles and a tarmac driveway to negotiate leading to the foot of the 27 steps which give entry into the Courtyard.
  • The Courtyard is flagged with a small area of cobbles around the Yew Tree.
  • From this point there are several spiral staircases, uneven and different height steps leading into and out of the various rooms, some very low doorways and different types of floors, also a few narrow passageways.
  • Windows to the two upper floors are mostly fitted with toughened glass.
  • Doors which are locked are therefore not for public access and cannot be opened.
  • Lighting within the rooms and stairs, are dimmed to give ambience to the rooms, so care must be taken.
  • Dogs are allowed on leads in the castle and grounds but owners should act responsibly for any fouling their pet makes. Pets are not allowed in the Shop or Tearoom but benches and tables are available outside this area. A dog bowl is available outside the shop doorway for the use of pets.
  • Signage is kept to a minimum but where there are signs, these should be adhered to. They are there for a specific reason, warning of dangers etc.
  • Green litter bins are discreetly provided in many areas and it would be appreciated if these were used for the disposal of any rubbish.
  • We operate a no smoking policy throughout the Castle.
  • The castle is unfurnished, as it would be impossible to obtain true artefacts stemming so many different periods of history.  We suggest approximately 1.5 hours be allowed for a visit by following the 40 sketch self-guiding tour sheet.

Shop:
We welcome visitors to the Castle to browse in our light, airy gift shop with its excellent selection of books, souvenirs, sweets, cold drinks and ice cream. The doorway is 42” wide and gives access for wheelchairs.

Tearoom:
For those visitors who wish to purchase food and drink, the Clifford Tearooms offer this facility, with a selection of homemade cakes and a choice of light meals. Vegetarian and gluten free options are available. For allergies, please speak to our tearoom staff. The well- lit rooms are warm and welcoming and wherever possible in the summer, benches and tables are set outside on the patio for visitors to enjoy the view of the castle in all its glory. The doorway is 32” wide and gives access for wheelchairs.

Picnic Facilities:
A large secure terrace area is available with picnic tables and benches situated behind the ancient Chapel of St John the Evangelist. Benches are also available within the coach house should the weather be inclement.

Weddings, Conference & Meeting Rooms:
We hire out several of our rooms for meetings, conferences, private events, wedding ceremonies but bookings do need to be made well in advance.  For more information or reserve a room/availability, please call 01756 792442 or email admin@skiptoncastle.co.uk

Toilet Facilities:
There are Ladies and Gentlemen’s toilets available within the grounds, accessed up a small footpath and situated on the end of outbuildings. The ladies toilets have three cubicles – the men’s’ toilets a urinal and separate w.c. Currently we do not have disabled facilities nor can we offer specific baby changing facilities although we do try to find somewhere quiet for this.

The toilets are regularly checked but if there are any concerns, flooding, lack of toilet tissue etc. we appreciate being informed so one of our staff can deal with any problems promptly.

Skipton Castle Woods
To complete any visit to Skipton Castle, visitors can also take a beautiful walk through Skipton Castle Woods. When on leaving the castle, cross the path in front of Holy Trinity Church and down 12 steps to the footpath. This leads to the Springs branch of the Leeds/Liverpool canal (built in 1797 by Lord Thanet) and the footpath here takes visitors to the rear of the Castle. From here one can see the height of rock on which the castle was built to keep away the Scots and other invaders. One can also see the remains of a chute used for tipping stone from above into canal barges.

By taking the full walk, it is possible to go from a car, parked in the Bailey Car Park, negotiate the safe footpath down to the castle and from there by crossing the Churchyard and the walkway to the Woods; there is no need to cross any of the busy main roads. Dogs are welcome in the woods, however please be sensitive to ground nesting wildlife.  Dog foul bins are made available within the woods, so please bring dog bags if you are walking your dog. 

Feedback:
We will always endeavor to do everything possible to enable our visitors enjoy as much of their day out as possible. We aim to provide an excellent service for all to enjoy and learn about the fascinating history of Skipton Castle. We welcome feedback from our visitors – thank you. 

Contact Information:
Address: Skipton Castle, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1AW
Telephone: 01756 792442
Web site: www.skiptoncastle.co.uk
General information: info@skiptoncastle.co.uk
For wedding information, conference bookings and school bookings, please contact: admin@skiptoncastle.co.uk
Opening Hours: Every day from 10 am (Sunday from 11am)
Last admission at 5 pm (October – March 4 pm)
Skipton Castle is closed on 23, 24 & 25 December