Photo: Tom Richardson

A medieval castle with an intriguing history, Lancaster Castle sits high up overlooking the city centre on a site that has seen three successive Roman forts. Made up of a group of historic structures compromising the 12th century keep, 14th century Witches’ Tower and the 15th century Gatehouse, parts of the castle are still in use as a court and a prison.

Explore the impressive medieval gatehouse, with its two semi-octagonal towers soaring 20 metres up above their sloping plinths, as well as its ferocious battlements and portcullis. It is possibly the finest gatehouse of its type in England.

Dare to enter the Well Tower, also known as the Witches’ Tower, built in 1325. It contains two wells and three vaulted underground dungeons which are said to have housed the Lancashire Witches prior to their infamous trial in 1612.

Relics can be seen throughout the castle, revealing the vast number of people that came through the doors accused of varying crimes which, until the close of the 1820s were punishable by execution. See the branding iron and holdfast in the dock and learn about tread wheels were used in the prison to generate energy for the castle.

Lancaster Castle is still used today as a Crown Court, dealing with trials of more serious criminal offences, not straying far off the path of what it has been used for in its history.


Castle Parade, Lancaster, LA1 1YJ
Tel: 01524 64998
Times: Daily, 10:00am – 5:00pm