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  • Self-assessed Accessibility Information


Appleby Castle

Appleby Castle


Appleby Castle is one of the few Norman castles to have been occupied continuously since its building. The deep ditches of the first earthwork, dug in around 1095, still remain. The lower part of the stone Keep may date from around 1110 – when the first powerful local Norman lord, Ranulf le Meschin, founded ‘new Appleby’ on the slopes between the castle and the River Eden.

Since then the Castle has been strengthened by many of its owners. It needed to be because the Eden Valley was the scene of repeated conflicts between English and Scots. In 1174 the King of Scotland captured Appleby: following its recapture the Keep was raised higher and a stone curtain wall replaced the wooden palisades of the first Castle. A gateway in this wall, guarded by a portcullis, stood near the stone Great Hall and may still be seen, as may a Round Tower built in around 1250 and overlooking the approach from the town. In the 1450s the eastern range of buildings was extended again, and much of this work, too, remains.

Several Kings were also Lords of Appleby – Henry II, Richard I, John, and Edward IV among them. King Richard III, when Duke of Gloucester, held the whole Lordship of Westmorland in the 1470s. Other Lords of the Castle also featured in English history. Hugh de Morville was one of the four assassins of Archbishop Thomas Becket in 1170. Robert, first Lord Clifford and former Earl Marshal and Lord High Admiral, was one of the English leaders who fell at Bannockburn. Many other Cliffords achieved fame during the four hundred years for which they were Lords of Appleby and hereditary High Sheriffs of Westmorland.

Perhaps the most remarkable of them was Lady Anne Clifford, born in 1590 and only surviving child of George Clifford, third Earl of Cumberland, sea captain and Champion to Queen Elizabeth I. Passed over as inheritor of the family estates, she challenged her father’s Will, defying King James I to his face. When Appleby and the other Clifford castles eventually came to her, she challenged Cromwell to stop her rebuilding them. For nearly thirty years she dominated the Westmorland scene, restoring churches and castles and deciding who would be Member of Parliament and Mayor for Appleby!

Lady Anne’s grandson, Thomas, sixth Earl of Thanet, was the last major builder at Appleby Castle, creating a fine Palladian mansion in 1686-1690. This house, with its Great Hall, staircase, dining room, state bedroom and other fine rooms, remains to this day.

Coach parties acceptedFacilities for groupsFacilities for educational visitsOn-site light refreshmentsPublic toiletsAccepts groupsFacilities for conferencingFacilities for corporate hospitality

Children welcomeDogs acceptedGuided tours for groupsGuided tours mandatorySmoking not allowedWedding receptions


Guided tours - fee charged.


Appleby in Westmorland,
CA16 6XH



Plan route to Appleby Castle using Google mapsPlan route using Google maps

Map reference: NY 684200  Lat: 54.57432 Long: -2.48923

Parking: free


  • Coach parties acceptedCoach parties accepted
  • Facilities for groupsFacilities for groups
  • Facilities for educational visitsFacilities for educational visits
  • On-site light refreshmentsOn-site light refreshments
  • Public toiletsPublic toilets
  • Accepts groupsAccepts groups
  • Facilities for conferencingFacilities for conferencing
  • Facilities for corporate hospitalityFacilities for corporate hospitality
  • Children welcomeChildren welcome
  • Dogs acceptedDogs accepted
  • Guided tours for groupsGuided tours for groups
  • Guided tours mandatoryGuided tours mandatory
  • Smoking not allowedSmoking not allowed
  • Wedding receptionsWedding receptions

Self-Assessed Accessibility Details


  • The surface of the car park and pathway leading to entrance:
    • Yesis solid
  • YesDrop-off point for guests outside entrance
  • The route from the parking area to the entrance:
    • YesIs flat (i.e. without steps)

Public Areas

  • Level access (no steps/thresholds) or access by ramp or lift:
    • YesFrom the entrance to reception / ticket area
  • YesGood contrast between the floor and walls
  • YesVisitor information available in large print (14pt and over)
  • YesVisitor information available in audio format


  • YesSeating available for visitors with limited mobility
  • YesClear signage
  • YesEffective lighting for visually impaired visitors
  • YesDisplays at suitable height for wheelchair users / children
  • YesAudible alarm system


  • YesSteps to the main entrance
    • 10
      Number of steps to entrance
    • YesHandrail by steps
  • YesEntrance is well lit


  • YesGood contrast between the floor and walls
  • Restaurant / cafe provide meals for visitors with special dietary requirements:
    • YesGluten free (coeliacs)
  • YesSeating suitable for wheelchair users, ie moveable and good height for person sitting in a wheelchair


  • Unfortunately Appleby Castle is a Grade I listed building and the keep is an ancient monument. For this reason we are unable to erect wheel chair access ramps, although we are looking into a removable ramp. We are unable to offer disabled access throughout the castle.

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