Our museum is in an historic building and this could make access difficult for some of our visitors. The details below should be helpful in planning your visit.
Help and Assistance
Our Visitor Experience Team are there to help all of our visitors at any point during a visit. They can help you find your way around the museum and answer any questions you may have.
We are working towards being a dementia friendly museum and many of our staff have also attended training to become autism inclusive.
Free and reduced-price admission is available – please click here for more information.
We do not currently operate a fast-track entry system for visitors with additional needs, but if you need assistance when queuing please ask a member of staff.
Cars with a disabled parking permit can park for up to three hours on the road outside the main entrance to the museum.
The nearest car park is the Castle car park, next to Clifford’s Tower. This car park is off Clifford Street, off the inner ring road, most easily reached from the A19 to the south of the city or the A1036 to the south west. For further car parking information please click here.
There are two accessible toilets in the museum, one on each side of the building. Both are gender neutral toilets.
The museum is split into two halves, with both sides covering three floors, linked by several staircases. There are handrails on all the stairs and seats are available throughout the museum.
The upper floors on one side of the museum are only accessible via stairs. This area includes: The Period Rooms, the Toy Stories gallery, the Shaping the Body exhibition, and some of the Chocolate: York’s Sweet Past displays.
Kirkgate, the museum’s recreated Victorian Street, is on the ground floor. The street does have a cobbled floor, but there is a smoother path around the edge.
The Sixties gallery and the Prison Exhibition are on the ground floor; however, some of the original doorways in the Prison Exhibition are very narrow.
A lift provides access to the upper floors on the right-hand side of the building, which includes the 1914: When the World Changed Forever exhibition. Please note that due to fire evacuation requirements, the exhibition can only allow access to two wheelchair users at a time.
We have walking sticks and a manual wheelchair that visitors are welcome to borrow on a first-come, first-served basis. Please ask a member of our Welcome Team on arrival.
Mobility scooters are permitted. We ask that drivers take care when driving through the gallery spaces.
Those visitors unable to access the upper floors are eligible for an access ticket at a reduced cost.
Pushchairs cannot be taken into the galleries. A buggy park and a choice of baby carriers are available to borrow free of charge.
We ask that pushchairs are folded in order to allow more space for other visitors’ pushchairs. Bags and coats should not be left with pushchairs.
Assistance dogs are welcome and water can be provided.
We can get very busy at times with school groups and with families in the school holidays. We suggest that if you would prefer to visit at a quieter time, weekdays after 3pm, during term time or when we open on Sundays tend to be less busy, although we cannot guarantee it.
As we get busy, some of the areas are quite noisy including reception. We do not have a hearing loop fitted in the building, but staff are available to help.
Light levels are low to help in the conservation of our objects. There is always a lighter area nearby, but if you do require assistance, please ask one of our guides.
The lights on Kirkgate, the museum’s recreated Victorian Street, change between a daytime and night-time setting. A guide can help you until the settings best suit your needs.
Signage and Display Information
All of our signage and display information uses a clear font and is at least 16pt.
80% of our visual interactives have subtitles.
Hands on Here
We often have volunteers who enable visitors to touch objects from the collection on our ‘Hands on Here’ tables, which can be placed in different areas around the museum.
York Castle Museum works on a self-led basis and we do not have an audio guide to the museum. However, our guides on Kirkgate give talks at 11.45am and 3pm.
You can also book a guided tour of Kirkgate or the Prison exhibition for groups of 10+, which may help to enhance your visit. You can even book a Victorian Lesson with one of our school teachers! For further information please click here.
NEW – We now also have an offer for booked groups of adults including those with visual impairments. Please click here for more information.
The main shop is fully accessible; although it can be quite narrow around some displays. Please ask any staff member if you need help.
The cafe in the museum is fully accessible and has free-standing chairs, but please ask any staff member if you need help. Please note that the cafe closes at 4.30pm.
There is always a trained first aider on duty. First Aid kits are available for trained staff to use and a defibrillator is available. Please ask for help if required.
We have a sensory basket to use on Kirkgate available for visitors to borrow on a first-come, first-served basis. This is particularly suitable for visitors with visual impairments or autism, but anyone is welcome to use it.
Please ask a member of staff during your visit if you would like to use the basket.
Please click here to download a pre-visit guide to help before and during your visit.
A more detailed guide can be downloaded by clicking here.
These guides are designed for visitors with sensory difficulties but may also be helpful for those visiting with young children.
Click the logos below for more information on external websites.
York Castle Museum is a member of the Dementia Action Alliance and the York Dementia Friendly Community. A dementia-friendly community is a city, town or village where people with dementia are understood, respected and supported and confident they can contribute to community life.
Click here to view our upcoming events and select the ‘Accessible’ category to filter them.
Most of our events are fully accessible to those with additional needs unless otherwise stated. If you need further information, please contact us ahead of the event and we will be happy to help.
Our Relaxed Openings are designed for visitors who would prefer a quieter visit to our museum.
During the event, we will put our lights on full and turn off all the sound effects so it’s a less overwhelming environment. You’ll still be able to visit all the galleries, but there will be no dark areas and no sudden sounds. We will still have guides on Kirkgate in Victorian costume and we will still put on the films in the prison gallery, but we can tell you beforehand of what to expect.
There is seating provided around the museum, and a quiet space will be available should you need it. Our trained guides will be happy to provide guidance during your visit, or please contact us ahead should you have any questions.
Events are free for visitors with autism, dementia, visual impairments or similar issues. Carers and children under 16 will also be admitted for free. Accompanying members of a group will be admitted for £5, and standard admission is £10. There is no need to book ahead. This year’s Relaxed Openings are:
- 20 May 2018, 9.30am – 11.30am
- 19 August 2018, 9.30am – 11.30am
- 18 November 2018, 9.30am – 11.30am
If you need any more information please call us on 01904 687687 or email firstname.lastname@example.org (9am-5pm, Monday-Friday).
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