Discovering History and Heritage: A Guide to Visiting Lancaster Castle

One of the most iconic castles in the United Kingdom, learn more about the history and heritage of Lancaster Castle ahead of your visit in our latest blog.

Often nicknamed John O’Gaunt’s Castle, Lancaster Castle is one of the United Kingdom’s most recognisable landmarks. The property and surrounding area have bore witness to some significant events over its nearly 1,000-year history, and today it is one of the most popular tourist spots in the region.

Our elderly clients love visiting Lancaster Castle, and if you are looking to take your loved ones there, we thought we would explore its history and what to expect.

A Brief History of Lancaster Castle

The very first mention of a building in the area dates back to 60 AD. However, the exact date of the construction of the castle as we know it today remains uncertain, although it is thought to have been sometime in the 11th century. Over the following centuries, the castle was extensively rebuilt, strengthened, and refurbished while also seeing fierce battles fought in and around the property.

The castle is most famous for being a ruthless jail, with prisoners beginning to be held at the castle in the 12th century. Over its incredible history, many famous inmates have called Lancaster Castle home, including George Marsh, several Quakers, and the Pendle Witches! Surprisingly to most visitors, it remained a working prison until March 2011.

Open ancient manuscript with handwritten text, placed under a magnifying glass on a dark surface. - Home Instead

Visiting the castle today

Following the closure of the prison, the castle became a popular tourist destination and there is plenty to see and do. One of the most popular is joining one of the scheduled tours, which take visitors through the castle Keep and Gatehouse. Each of these tours is led by an experienced guide who will share tales from the property’s incredible history, but it is also possible to explore the castle yourself via the self-guided audio tour.

A walk through the Crown Court is another highlight, with the stunning courtroom having been in continuous use since the 14th century. Equally, the Shire Hall, which was built in 1975, is a fascinating space that details the dark history of the legendary castle.

“Based in the heart of the city centre, the castle is very easily accessible and is one of the most popular visitor attractions for our clients. They love learning about its incredible history and heritage, while a walk around the beautiful gardens and taking in the stunning architecture is a great way to get outdoors and enjoy some fresh air.”

The castle is open from Monday to Saturday, with tours taking place every day. Tickets can be purchased in advance or on the day via the castle’s ticket office.

A stone medieval castle with a central arched gate, surrounded by trees, under a clear blue sky. - Home Instead

The Home Instead approach

We love exploring the history of our local area with our clients, and our experienced care professionals are on hand to ensure that your loved one enjoys the highest quality of care possible while they discover Lancaster Castle.

Our award-winning care home services in Lancaster are flexible and designed to fit around you or your loved one’s life.

Want to find out more about how we can help you? Get in touch with our friendly team today!

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