Hartlebury Castle explores over 1,000 years of history and is made up of the Bishop's Palace, the County Museum and the historic grounds. Hartlebury Castle is committed to widening access and providing for the needs of all its visitors. We constantly seek to improve the quality and accessibility of our site and we welcome feedback from our visitors. The building is Grade 1* listed, however we have attempted to provide appropriate adjustments for accessibility within legal boundaries and to alert visitors to any access issues which we are unable to resolve.
There is level access from the main entrance to:Bishops PalaceWorcestershire County MuseumTravel & Transport GalleryReception DeskTicket Desk in the shopReception ToiletsBishops Palace ToiletsMuseum Courtyard ToiletsHayley's Cafe ToiletsHayley's CafeHartlebury Castle ShopTickenhill Room (indoor picnic space/meeting room)Orchard RoomsThe Old Kitchen (Activity Space)Carriage CircleCastle TerraceCar Park - bench under Lime treeChildren's Play Area (in Cafe)
Travel by public transport
There is a small unmanned train station in Hartlebury. The Castle is approx. a 20-30 minute walk from the station, train times vary.
Travel by taxi
The Castle has two large car parks. The car parks are free and the surfaces are tarmac and rolled Breedon gravel. Access to the gravel car park is over a cattle grid, exits from the car park are sprung gates or kissing gates and lead on to flattened gravel or tarmac paths. There are no barriers or gates on the tarmac car park, it is on a slight slope, and the tarmac is damaged in places. Accessible parking spaces are located on the right of the tarmac carpark as you enter with level access across smooth tarmac to Reception Building. Access to the visitor reception from the car park is via a level path of concrete large paving slabs running alongside the front of the building.
Three designated accessible parking spaces are adjacent to visitor reception and are clearly signposted. The bays are 366cm wide including the hatched area. A accessible parking space can be reserved by telephoning in advance 01299 250416. There is a dropping off point on the left as you enter the tarmac car park.
There are no speed bumps or traffic calming measures.
Path to main entrance
Two wheelchairs are available to be borrowed from Reception for the duration of your visit, they can also be pre-booked by calling 01299 250416.
Reception is manned 10:00 - 17:00 Tuesday-Friday and 11:00-17:00 Saturday-Sunday and Bank Holidays.
At the main reception entrance, there is a side-hung door which is kept open except in extreme weather conditions. Following this, there are glass sliding doors which are automatic. To exit the reception building, there is a side-hung door with automatic opening, operated by a push button. The surface outside the door is a firm, gravel surface and has low level lighting with a hand rail.
The Reception area and welcome desk are lit using bright spotlights and there are large windows and plenty of natural light. Just inside the entrance is a thin mat to minimise dirt levels. The Reception area has parquet flooring and is level throughout.
The Reception desk is 900mm high and is fitted with a hearing loop. Admission prices are clearly displayed above the desk. When it is necessary for a visitor to be accompanied by a carer we will give free admission to the carer.
There are tactile, braille maps available from Reception on request.
A pad and pen are available from Reception if required. A clip board is also available if you are required to fill in any forms.
Assistance dogs are welcome across the whole site and in the Cafe. Drinking water can be provided - please ask a member of staff. Non-assistance dogs can be walked in the grounds and are welcome in the Orchard picnic area and Cafe outside seating area.
Getting around inside
Visual Impairment - General Information
Bishops Palace Lift
Ticket/ information desk
There is a low desk section located in the shop area. It is 74cm in height. It is not protected by a perspex screen (installed in 2020 due to covid-19).
Ticket/ information desk
Ticket Desk in the shop
Things to See and Do
The entrance to the Castle is accessed by two large stone steps, and a small lip on the bottom of the door frame. There are hand rails on either side and the steps are 145cm wide. Level access is available via the Museum entrance.
All ground level rooms are on one level. Flooring is variable and uneven in places with wooden floors, flagstones and carpets of different depth. Staff are able to assist with alternative routes if needed.
We encourage visitors to sit on any seats that are not marked as fragile.
Exhibitions in the Bishops house are partly reliant on audio visual presentation. Written transcripts of the audio are available in the Bishops House lobby. Most of the objects on display can be handled by visitors and unless signposted otherwise, furniture can be sat on. Visitors are encourage to play in the children's first floor hidden playroom accessed through a wardrobe door.
Some of the portraits in the Great Hall are only accessible to view up close from the symmetrical staircase. There are 18 stairs to the top, and 18 down the other side.
Lighting throughout the building is variable with some rooms being purposely kept darker as part of the immersive interpretation experience. The entrance lobby is lit by natural daylight and overhead lights. Some rooms are lit by ceiling lights and others are well lit by large windows during daylight hours.
The Main Staircase is the main evacuation route in the Bishops House. The platform lift does not function during a fire alarm. There is a level exit through the museum.
An evacuation chair is available for all floors if required.
A number of doorways are fitted with self-closing devices that cause doors to automatically close. The majority of doors in the Bishops House have door knobs. The first floor lift lobby currently has a heavy door that opens into the corridor and can affect wheelchair navigation. Please ask a member of staff if you require assistance.
There are 19 steps to the Mezzanine floor and a further 10 to the first floor. The stairs have thick carpet runners throughout. There are banisters on either side are approximately 20cm wide. The stairs are 28cm deep and 16cm high.
Worcestershire County Museum
Most of the collections are presented so as to be viewable from wheelchair height, however some displays in flat cases may be difficult to view for wheelchair users.
Our exhibitions are fully accessible to wheelchair users. Please ask staff to open the fire door (86cm wide) to provide level access to the two ground floor rooms (Lavish Living in the1950s and The Schoolroom) which are accessed internally by two steps.
Interpretation boards are provided for most exhibits. Interpretation and labelling on all new exhibitions is designed with a minimum of 16 point text and generally uses a clear font such as Arial or Calibri.
We have attempted to include displays which stimulate all senses. For example, the Herb Garden provides a variety of smells and textures, there are a number of boxes in various roms containing replica objects which visitors can touch, use and dressing up.
Flooring surfaces throughout the museum are various including carpets, linoleum, wood floorboards and concrete. Outside you will find paved, grass, tarmac and limestone surfaces. There is a thin floormat to minimise dirt levels at the main entrance to Reception and the Museum building. Other than that there are no rugs or mats throughout the museum.
All bins inside the museum are an accessible height, they operate by lifting a lightweight lid or with a foot pedal action.
A variety of seating is available on all floors of the museum, specifically in the Reception area, picnic benches in the Orchard and long benches and window seats in various exhibitions.
There are two staircases in the Museum connecting three floors. Each staircase has a hand rail and landings between floors. Both staircases are carpeted. Each floor is connected by wooden steps with anti-slip nosings and hand rails.
The red staircase is 120cm wide; each tread is 17.5cm high and 24cm deep with a 90cm hand rail.
The green staircase is 120cm wide; each tread is 15cm high and 26cm deep with a 90cm hand rail.
The buulding is old and the red Museum staircase has uneven surfaces.
Travel & Transport Gallery
There is a small lip on the entrance and exit of the Travel and Transport gallery.
The Cider Mill is a historic exhibit in its own right and we are therefore unable to make adjustments to the flooring. There are small raised areas at the entrance and exit, the flooring inside is rough earth and cobbles. Please take extra care in this building.
Toilets are located on the ground floor of the Reception building. The Reception building houses one male and one female/disabled toilet.
Access to the accessible toilet in Reception is via a single leaf door, which opens outwards and to the left. There is one fixed horizontal grab rail to the left of the toilet and one hinged support rail to the right of the toilet (71cm high when lowered). The sink has a lever operated thermostatic mixer tap. There are vertical grab rails on either side of the sink. There is an emergency pull cord with an audible alarm, there is also a flashing light connected to the fire alarm for individuals with hearing diabilities. There is adequate room for a wheelchair user to be accompanied. There is a coat hook and one wide window sill which can be used as a shelf. Total floor area in the disabled toilet measures 2.6 x 1.76 metres, and the floor is tiled. Wall colour contrasts with floor colour.
Bishops Palace Toilets
Toilets in the Bishops Palace are located between the entrance lobby and the Georgian Saloon. The Bishops Palace has female toilets with three cubicles, male toilets with one cubicle and three urinals and one accessible toilet.
Access to the accessible toilet in the Bishops Palace is via a single leaf door which opens outwards and to the left. There are fixed horizontal and vertical grab rails to the left and right of the toilet and one hinged support rail to the right of the toilet. There is also a vertical grab rail to the left of the sink. It has a lever operated thermostatic mixer tap. There is an emergency pull cord with an audible alarm. There is adequate room for a wheelchair user to be accompanied. The floor area measures 1.47 x 2.22 metres. Flooring is vinyl and the wall colour contrasts with the floor colour.
Museum Courtyard Toilets
Toilets at the Museum are located in a separate outside toilet block, opposite the main museum entrance and adjacent to the Forge. The toilet block consists of three separate areas - male, female and accessible facilities.
Access to the accessible toilet by the main museum is via a single leaf door, which opens outwards to the left with a 82cm high horizontal grab rail on the inside. There are fixed horizontal and vertical grab rails to the left and rear of the toilet and one hinged support rail to the right of the toilet. There is also a grab rail to the left of the sink. There is a coat hook but no shelves. There is adequate room for a wheelchair user to be accompanied. The floor area measures 2 x 1.76 metres. The floor is vinyl and the wall colour contrasts with the floor colour.
Hayley's Cafe Toilets
The toilets in the Cafe are located in a corridor off the main dining area. There are male, female and accessible facilities located here.
Access to the accessible WC in the Cafe is via a single leaf door, which opens outwards and to the right. There are fixed horizontal and vertical grab rails to the left and right of the toilet and one hingeds support rail to the left of the toilet. The sink has a lever operated thermostatic mixer tap. There is an emergency pull cord with an audible alarm. There is adequate room for a wheelchair user to be accompanied. The floor area measures 1.47 x 2.22 metres. The floor is vinyl and the wall colour contrasts with the floor colour.
Hartlebury Castle Shop
The shop desk is 90cm high with a lower level area 74cm high.
The PDQ/Chip & Pin terminal is mobile and can be moved to suit the customer.
The display shelves are at a variety of heights from ground level upwards. Some shelves are lit with spotlights, the room also has large windows and lots of natural light.
Price labels are printed, but not in large print.
Staff are happy to assist with price enquiries, or to carry or move stock around for you.
The till display is visible to the customer. The floor is limestone slabs and is level throughout.
When stock is displayed in baskets on the floor we ensure there is always adequate access for wheelchairs.
Place to eat and drink
The dining room is uniformly lit by large ceiling lights. There is adequate clearance around the tables to accommodate a wheelchair. Tables are moveable and measure between 75-79cm high. The tables have legs at each corner, with a minimum of 61cm gap between legs. The chairs in the cafe have no arms. The menu is only available on a large chalkboard by the counter. Service is available from the counter, but table service is available if required.
For Sugar free options, we can adapt items on the menu to suit, but not sweet options. The Cafe can adapt items on the menu to suit customers who require no gastric content.
The Cafe would need advanced notice to cater for customers who require high fibre and to cater for halal meat, however there are already other options on our menu.
Tickenhill Room (indoor picnic space/meeting room)
The Tickenhill Room is located next to reception toilets (including accessible toilet). This space can be hired or reserved for a quiet space if available.
Orchard Rooms are used for School and group visits as a lunch room. Orchard Rooms can be requested for a quiet space if available. Craft activities are sometimes held within these rooms during School holidays. Double doors can be opened to allow wider access to both Orchard Rooms.
The Old Kitchen (Activity Space)
The Old Kitchen (Activity Space) has original tiled flooring, making it naturally uneven in parts. It is a large space which can be hired or reserved for a quiet space. The Old Kitchen is also used for craft activities during School holidays. Various workshops and courses are also regularly held in here.
Getting around outside
The Carriage Circle is located at the front of the castle. It is accessed via the main entrance and through the gatehouses. There is a large tarmaced circular driveway throughout the Carriage Circle, and it is even throughout.
The Carriage Circle has level access leading from reception with a circular tarmac path. There are 9 steps, with no handrail, down from the Carriage Circle to the Queen Elizabeth Walk.
Steps lead to the Bishops House front door next to the Chapel.
One step leads on the right of the Carriage Circle to the Museum Courtyard and Orchard.
The Castle Terrace is surfaced with tarmac leading from the museum courtyard to the balcony overlooking the moat. The surface then changes to gravel further along the terrace leading to the gravel Queen Elizabeth walk.
The Castle Terrace and Queen Elizabeth Walk have access passed the Museum glass entrance. There is a sweeping slop outside the Museum entrance. There is a drainage dip at the beginning of the walk. There are two benches available, one on the Castle Terace overlooking the moat, and one on the Chapel lath. There are low walls along the Castle Terrace, and metal handrails on the corner and a steep sloped sided drop to the side of the path by the Chapel leading to the Queen Elizabeth Walk.
Designated Walking Trail
The Perimeter Walk includes steps and uneven surfaces, therefore is not suitable for wheelchairs or buggies.
Information sign posts and a nature trail are located on the Perimeter Walk exploring local wildlife, including animal cut out shapes, a wormery and covered bird hide with seating.
The moat walk is half a mile and will take approximately 30 minutes to walk. It is accessed from the Castle Terrace via 20 steps. The steps have handrails. The steps are part of the historic landscape and are steep and uneven in places.
The route continues left across the lawn of the sunken garden. To access the Orchard Terrace, there are 6 steep and uneven stone steps without a handrail at the far end of the sunken garden. These are followed by a woodchip path. There are a further 10 log steps up to the Orchard Terrace. From this point, the walk continues without steps. There are steep, sloping paths and the route is either woodchipped or boardwalk.
The boardwalk is made of wood with anti-slip grooves in each plank. While every effort is made to keep paths clear of weeds and plant life, visitors are reminded that it is a and trip hazards may occur.
The walk exits into a coppice via a one-way, self closing door. The return route to the Reception building is via the tarmac car-park, following a woodchip slope and 8 uneven stone steps.
The moat and other water-logged areas are not fenced off and can be deep in places. Deep-water signs are in place in these areas.
Orchard Picnic Area
The grass in the museum Orchard area is cut regularly, however the surface of this area is uneven. All outside paths are swept daily and checked regularly.
There are 2 dustbins in the Orchard.
There are picnic benches and tables & chairs located around the Carriage Circle. There is adequate space surrounding these tables should a wheelchair be required here.
The Carriage Circle surface is level throughout.
Car Park - bench under Lime tree
The designated smoking area is located in the car park, at the circular bench under the lime tree. Smoking is not permitted elsewhere on the site.
Children's Play Area (in Cafe)
There is an outdoor play area in the Cafe outside seating area.
Customer care support
We are able to provide a large print map of the site upon request.
We have two wheelchairs which can be borrowed from Reception for the duration of your visit. Wheelchairs can also be pre-booked by calling 01299 250416.
Emergency evacuation procedures
An alarm will sound in the event of an emergency evacuation. The glass museum lift is fire safe and can be used for the safe evacuation of the museum if required. The fire assembly point is located near the main reception, under the large tree at the car park entrance.
All routes throughout the building are kept clear and free of obstacles.
Fire exits are clearly signposted.
Customer care support
If any of our guets have any additional requirements, we offer a free familiarisation visit so please contact us if you wish to arrange a pre-visit. Otherwise, feel free to contact us and our staff will do their best to accommodate any additional requirements needed.
The museum continually monitors, reviews and improves our accessibility.
The majority of our staff are trained first-aiders. There will be at least one trained first-aider on duty at any time.
Hartlebury Castle is open from February 1st to December 23rd.
The Castle is closed on Mondays. The Castle is then open Tuesday to Friday 10am-5pm and Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays 11am-5pm.
The Hayley's Cafe is open Tuesday-Sunday and Bank Holidays 9am-4pm.
To fully appreciate this historic site, we reccomend allowing 3 hours for your visit.
Please be aware that on certain dates, access will be to the County Museum ONLY with revised ticket costs.
If you are planning a special visit to Hartlebury Castle, please check the website or call us before travelling to avoid disappointment.