Access Information for Lulworth Castle & Park
Lulworth Castle, built in the early 17th Century as a hunting lodge, became a country house at the heart of a large rural estate.
The exterior of the Castle changed little over the years but the interior evolved in line with changing fashions until it was gutted by a disastrous fire in 1929. Restoration work on the ruin was completed by English Heritage in 1998.
The attraction includes the Adventure Playground, St Mary’s Chapel and of course the Castle. We aim to give excellent customer service throughout the attraction.
Lulworth Castle & Park
Telephone 01929 400352
The website gives details on travel routes for rail, road, air and sea.
The website has opening times and admission prices including group rates and season tickets.
The Castle and Park open from 10.30am – 5.00pm during the summer and 10.30am – 4.00pm in the winter Sunday to Friday (closed on Saturdays except for special events). Please check the website before your visit as the Castle and/or Park are sometimes closed to the public due to special events.
Dogs on leads are welcome in the park. Only Guide Dogs permitted within the buildings.
Travelling to Lulworth
Travelling by road from Bournemouth take the A35 towards Dorchester, taking the left at the Bakers Arms roundabout towards Wareham. Take the A352 from Wareham to Dorchester, from this road you can follow the brown signs for Lulworth Castle.
Travelling from Dorchester take the A352 sign posted for Wareham and Wool. Then at Wool follow the brown signs for Lulworth Castle.
For visitors using satellite Navigation Systems our postcode is BH20 5QS
Travelling by rail you can arrive at either Wool or Wareham station, where there are ample taxi services available.
Garrison Cars 01929 463395. Mike Taxis 01929 550123
Buses run from Dorchester and Wool to East Lulworth and Lulworth Cove (Service 103). . Please contact Door to Dorset for more information: 0845 602 4547.
Arrival & Car Parking Facilities
At the front gate there is an un-covered cattle grid which is approximately 3 metres wide. There are clear signs at the front gate giving opening times and prices and whether the Castle and Park are currently open to the public (On occasions the Castle and/or Park may be closed due to a special event). The external signs are clear and informative most being white text on blue background.
The front gates remain open during opening hours and at any functions or events.
There is pay and display car parking for up to 750 cars.
Visitors should bear in mind the approach to and from the car park itself is unlit at night. Evening visitors may wish to bring a torch.
There is a drop off point for coaches near the Estate Office car park.
There is one speed bump before the automatic gate although this only affects guests driving to the castle itself (i.e. Wedding Guests)
The paths from the car park to the main entrance are made of chalky gravel and grass areas, and vary in width. These paths lead onto a tarmac drive.
The path from the disabled car park is tarmac but has a slight incline.
The Estate Office reception for business visitors is located approx 20 yards from the Estate Office car park, with one step up through a handled door (door width is approximately 70cm).
The Castle toilets are accessible from the basement of the castle or from the North of the castle outside.
The male toilets are entered through a small lobby with two inward opening doors, 1.1metres and 0.9metres wide. There are 3 urinals at a height of 0.65 metres and one at 0.55 metres and 2 cubicles which are approximately 1 by 2 metres, with pedestals flushed by push down handles. There are 3 sinks (0.8 metres high) each with lever taps and two push operated soap dispensers. There are two automatic hot air hand dryers at a height of 1.1 metres and small push flap bin.
Both the accessible and the female toilets are entered via another lobby through a door 0.9 metres wide.
The door to the accessible toilet is 0.96 metres wide and has a large handle to assist with opening. There is 1 toilet with supporting rails and bars, a push flush and an emergency cord to pull if assistance needed. 1 sink at a height of 0.70 metres with lever taps and a push operated soap dispenser, paper towels and a lift lid bin. Baby changing facilities are located in the accessible toilet, and consist of a pull down changing table at a height of 0.80 metres and a nappy disposal bin.
The female toilets are entered through a door 0.9 metres wide and contain 4 toilet cubicles with lever, 2 measuring 1.4 metres by 1.2 metres and 2 measuring 1.4 metres by 0.90 metres.
There are three sinks (0.8 metres high) with lever operated taps and two push operated soap dispensers, two automatic hot air hand dryers at a height of 1.1 metres and a lift lid bin.
Access to the main entrance is up a flight of 20 stone steps with a stone handrail on either side. A further 5 stone steps lead up to the Castle’s entrance, These steps have no handrail but have solid walling at either side. Inward-opening double doors 1.7 m wide, are always fixed open during the Castle’s opening hours.
Inside there is a short shallow wooden ramp to outward opening glass double doors again 1.7m wide. Castle staff can assist visitors with these doors.
There is an alternative route to the ground floor avoiding the main 20 steps. Take the path towards the Chapel, which passes at an angle through a gate 1.5 metres wide. Unaccompanied wheelchair users might find opening this gate difficult. Past this gate visitors join a level stone-surfaced footpath linking the Chapel and the Castle, and can turn back towards the Castle terrace and follow it round to the 5 steps (mentioned above) leading into the main entrance. The terrace is uneven in places and slopes gently away from the castle. This can also be slippery when wet. A lift is now installed.
Ground Floor Interior
The interior of the Castle is floored at ground floor and basement levels.
The ground floor is of varnished wood and on two levels linked in three places by stairs each of 6 wooden steps.
1 of the stairs is open; the other 2 have handrails at a height of 1 metre from floor level.
Except for the glass double doors just inside the entrance, there are no doors between any of the rooms on this floor, though there are small, shallow ramps in the 2 archways between 2 adjacent rooms on the lower level.
As well as some occasional pieces of furniture there are information boards which contain a mixture of photographs, plans and text. The top line of text is 1.5 metres from floor level and the lowest line is 0.8 metres from floor level. The text is in three styles; a headline in large (2-3cms high) white text on a coloured background; basic information in medium sized (1-2cms high) white text on a blue background and more detail in small (1-1.5cms high) black text on a white background.
This tower contains a staircase to the roof and can be accessed from either the ground floor (112 steps to the top) or the basement (135 steps to the top).
The open metal staircase is 1 metre wide, with a handrail on each side, and winds up the centre of the tower to a wooden landing at the third floor.
At first and second floor levels the stair landings are extended to create viewing platforms where visitors can rest and look down into the Castle through glazed doors in the original doorways.
Each platform has a display board, fixed to the handrail, 1.17 meters above the platform floor, containing text and pictures.
A straight flight of steps from the third floor landing leads through double doors to the tower top. This doorway has a total width of 1.3 metres and one or both of these doors is always locked open during visiting hours.
Outside a further two wooden steps lead onto the wooden slatted floor of the viewing platform, which can be slippery in wet or frosty weather, and has metal railings with a handrail around it.
This handrail is 1.15 metres high and set back between 0.5 and 1 metre from the tower top battlements, fixed to it are small display panels describing the view.
Two staircases connect the ground floor to the basement. One consists of the lower 23 steps of the metal Southeast tower staircase, described above.
The other is the historically worn, and therefore uneven, flight of 22 stone steps which have a wooden handrail at a height of 1 metre on the open side but no hand rail on the closed side the staircase winds sharply to the right as it reaches the basement floor.
Alternative access for pushchairs and wheelchairs is via the north door in the side wall of the terrace, to the north of the main castle steps. This door is 1.5 metres wide and opens inwards to a stone slope into a lobby between the castle toilets. From there a second door opens inward and leads into the main part of the basement.
Much of the basement has (historic) low headroom and uneven floors.
In most displays significant artifacts are numbered (in dark blue ink on white and very large font) and keyed to descriptions on white laminated sheets (with blue writing in font sizes 16 and above).
There are information boards mostly similar to the ground floor boards. A folder on a lectern standing 0.74 metres high displays A3 laminated photographic copies of the ground floor information boards, and photographs of the room in which they stand. This makes accessible information about the ground floor to visitors e.g. those in wheelchairs who are not able to visit the ground floor.
All rooms are lit, however in poor weather and particularly the winter months the basement can be cold and dark.
Cabinets displaying artifacts in the wine cellar have individual lighting, the lower shelves are around 1 metre and the higher shelves around 2 metres from floor level.
An activity room (containing activities and displays of historic toys and artifacts for children) is entered by 2 stone steps at its west end or by a shallow stone slope at its east end.
There is a DVD display in a basement room with seating and room for standing and wheelchairs. The soundtrack is in English on a continuous loop with a run time of 11 minutes 21 seconds.
There is some seating available for visitors on both floors of the Castle.
St Mary’s Chapel
The Chapel is entered up two stone steps, 20cms and 15 cms high, or a wooden ramp 75 cms wide. Outer double doors open over a threshold 5 cms high inwards to a lobby then inner glazed double doors (also inwards opening) lead into the main building. All doors are usually closed, on each door one leaf is latch operated and the other bolted. Staff from the Castle will open or unbolt these doors on request.
Visitors can circulate as far as a rope barrier along the back row of pews in an area containing seats, a candle stand, a lectern and a small table with information boards.
Candles, stored on a shelf on the stand, can be lit and placed on its top, 0.83 high. Matches and prayer boards are kept on an adjacent window sill 1.19 metres high.
On the lectern, at a height of 0.7 metres, is a folder of laminated sheets reproducing the information to be found in the gallery.
A winding stair of 20 wooden steps, with a handrail 0.9 metres high on its outer side, leads up to the gallery which contains seating, display cabinets and information panels, set 0.76 metres high.
The chapel is well lit and a recording of the organ plays continuously, at medium volume.
Grounds and Gardens
From the Courtyard large wooden double doors open out to a gravel picnic area with picnic tables.
All footpaths within the grounds are slightly uneven, approximately 3 metres wide and can be steeply sloped in places.
Fencing 1.1 metres high is in place around the park separating the fields.
St Andrew’s Church
Within the park is St Andrew’s Church which is open to the general public from an uneven stone track outside the ticketed area, leading to double gates 1.4 metres wide. An inclined gravel path leads from these gates to the Church.
Lulworth castle visitors can access the church via either of two single gates.
One gate, from the rose garden, is latch operated and 1.15 meters wide. The other gate, through the east wall of the churchyard, is latch operated and 0.9 metres wide. Gravel footpaths lead from each gate to a wooden ramp to the porch door, 1.18 metres wide. Inside the porch there is a single stone step 15 cms high leading to heavy double swing doors, total width 1.04 metres, into the nave.
The nave aisle is 1.3 metres wide and leads eastwards to a 15 cms high step up to the chancel. To the west the aisle leads to the font and the base of the tower which houses an exhibition with display boards 2 metres high containing text and pictures. The gap between the font and the rear pews, which it is necessary to pass through to reach the tower, is 40cms wide.
Ample natural light in the summer months can be supplemented by artificial lighting on the darker winter days.
Escape routes are clearly marked with overhead green exit signs in all buildings. Staff will assist evacuation in the event of fire in a building.
A number of staff across the Castle & Park have completed the Welcome Host/Host Plus/All/International/Line courses.
There are designated First Aiders in the Castle.
Smoking is prohibited within any building in the grounds. But there are cigarette extinguishers provided in the Courtyard and at the Front and back doors to the Castle.
Mobile phone network is limited in this rural location but staff can assist with calls in an emergency.
There will usually be gun and/or tank fire heard within the Lulworth grounds, this can be very loud and disturbing for some visitors and dogs within the grounds.
The Estate Office
Telephone: 01929 400352
Fax: 01929 400563
Hours of operation: Castle & Park
Summer April – September 10:30 – 5pm
Winter October – March 10:30 – 4pm
Local accessible taxi numbers:
Garrison Cars 01929 463395.
Mike Taxis 01929 550123.
Silver Cars – 01929 400409