The scale of Kielder Forest is enough to take your breath away! At 250 square miles it is England’s largest forest. Kielder Castle is the focal point for visitors to the forest. Built in 1775 as a hunting lodge for the Duke of Northumberland, the Castle hosts a small exhibition, information point, cafe and toilets. The Castle grounds include picnic sites, children's play area and the start of the Duke and Duchess Walking Trail.
A visit to Kielder will uncover many surprises such as the Minotaur Maze and Skyspace, one of England's largest mountain bike trail network and home to Northumberland's only breeding osprey population.
There is level access from the main entrance to:Kielder Castle exhibitionInformation PointKielder Castle toiletsKielder Castle CafeKielder Castle Cycle CentreDuchess TrailMinotaur Maze
There is level access from the car park to:Kielder Castle Grounds
Travel by public transport
There is no public transport service to Kielder Castle
Blue badge priority car parking is available directly outside the Castle on a tarmac surface. All other vehicles use the main car park which is located 200 metres from the Castle entrance. Access from the main car park is via a tarmac path on an incline that falls outside the recommended maximum gradient for wheelchairs and buggies.
All cars (including blue badge holders) are charged for parking. Payment can be made at the car park toll machine outside the castle gates at the start of the Forest Drive (no change given). This machine is located 30m from the castle gates on the roadside and can be accessed by car. There is no charge for visitors on foot.
Path to main entrance
Access to the café, classroom and exhibition is through a paved courtyard (with a cobbled entrance under the archway) and through an 800mm wide door. The door is normally open, but in cold or wet weather it may be closed and requires manual opening (push).
Getting around inside
Visual Impairment - General Information
Ticket/ information desk
The information point is accessed through a separate non-powered 750mm wide door to the side of the main archway. It is manned at busy weekends and is unmanned at other times (open daily 9am-5pm). The information point does not currently have an induction loop.
Kielder Castle exhibition
The exhibition is accessed via an 800 mm wide door from the cafe (not power assisted). The exhibition is on one floor and is spread between five rooms. There are no internal doors or thresholds.
Kielder Castle toilets
There are two sets of public toilets at Kielder Castle. The first is located outside the Castle boundary on route to the main car park. These toilets are open 24 hours a day and include a fully accessible disabled toilet with baby change facilities. Drop kerbs are provided on the route to and from the Castle. The second set of toilets is located within the Castle courtyard and is only accessible when either the Castle or Duke’s Pantry tearoom is open. A fully accessible disabled toilet with baby-changing facilities is provided.
Place to eat and drink
Kielder Castle Cafe
The cafe is located at the rear of the Castle. Access is through two 800mm wide doors (non-powered). Chairs are wooden backed with no arms. Menu details are written on a blackboard at the serving counter and on table menus. Waitress service is available if requested. The nearest fully accessible toilet is in the Castle courtyard and is accessed through a 760mm wide door. T: 01434 250100
Kielder Castle Cycle Centre
Access to the cycle centre is from the tarmac path connecting the Castle to the main car park, across a rough stone courtyard to the entrance to the building. The front entrance has two steps to a timber deck leading to the door. Wheelchair access is through a side door with ramp. There are currently no wheelchair compatible bikes for hire. T: 01434 250457.
Getting around outside
Designated Walking Trail
The trail starts at the front of Kielder Castle on a tarmac surfaced path for 250m (initially with a moderate gradient). The trail continues up a 'zig-zag' path to the squirrel hide on an incline with a handrail in places. This section a compacted stone surface suitable for wheelchair users with assistance. The path is suitable for assisted wheelchair users for the first 1/2 mile. A return can be made where the trail crosses the top of the main car park. The remainder of the trail is stone surfaced on a mixture of narrow tracks and forest road. There are moderate inclines and a series of staggered steps on the final descent on the trail.
Kielder Castle Grounds
The Duchess Trail is on both surfaced and unsurfaced forest paths. Before the old packhorse bridge (narrow ‘humpback’ bridge), the trail passes through two ‘kissing’ gates. After the bridge are moderate inclines as well as two sets of steps (with handrail) to take visitors to the top of Jamie’s Crags viewpoint.
The maze is accessed via either a flight of gravel backfilled steps (with handrail) or a tarmac path with moderate initial gradient and width varying from 800mm to 2500mm. The entrance to the maze is 800mm wide and surfaced with compacted fine gravel.
Customer care support
Customer care support