We are delighted that we are now able to open the castle and welcome our visitors back.
As in most places things are a little bit different as we have been busy putting in place measures to ensure the safety of our visitors and staff. This page will offer you all of the information you will need to know before you visit us.
The safety of our visitors and staff will be our number one priority and we have put in place a robust cleaning schedule in all areas, there are protective screens on all of our retail counters and numerous hand sanitising stations around the site. You will also notice that we have extra staff on the grounds to be there for visitors who need directions or advice.
You must pre-book your visit
To ensure that our visitors are able to obey social distancing rules we have had to reduce the amount of visitors coming to us at any one time, and stagger the arrival time of all visitors.
You must now pre-book your visit though our website. You will be asked to select your arrival date and time, and we ask that you arrive no earlier than 5 minutes before the time that you have selected. You will need to pay using a credit or debit card and once you have paid you will be sent a confirmation email as your proof of purchase.
You will need to either print off this email or present it to our staff on your smartphone or tablet when you arrive. When you do arrive you will be met by a member of staff at the entry point who will check your proof of purchase and then direct you to the admissions desk where you can check in and collect your entry tickets.
There will be no limit on how long you can stay with us, a visit will normally take between 2-3 hours. However, our opening times are still 09:30am - 17:30pm so if you book the last time slot (which is 16:45pm) your visit will only be 45 minutes.
Annual Pass Holders
Any Annual Pass that has expired since the 19th March 2020 will be extended by 17 weeks from its expiry date. This is the length of time that we have been closed for. Annual Pass Holders must also pre-book through our ticket system on our website and select the date and time of your visit.
If you are an Annual Pass Holder, you will not be charged an entry fee, as you have already purchased your pass. However, you must bring with you your confirmation email and also the Annual Pass Card that you were issued. Without these you will be refused admission.
It is also very important that you only book a time-slot if you definitely intend on visiting, as taking a timeslot without visiting will reduce our capacity for taking visitors.
What you need to know before you arrive
There are a few things to be mindful of when preparing for your visit.
Don’t visit with symptoms
Most importantly, please don’t visit us if you have symptoms of coronavirus including a persistent new cough, temperature or sudden loss of taste or smell. If you are in a shielded group, are self-isolating or have been in contact with anyone with symptoms then you also must not visit to keep yourself and others safe.
Prepare for the weather
It is more important than ever to come prepared for the weather conditions. We have had to close various indoor areas of the castle, so it may be difficult at times to escape any wet or hot weather conditions, particularly whilst maintaining social distancing.
Bring a picnic
It is also worth keeping in mind that our catering options on-site will be greatly reduced because we are now having to operate a takeaway service from our tea-tent, the main cafe will be closed for the time being.
Use cards, not cash
We will only be accepting contactless payment so please bring cards, not cash.
How has the experience changed?
As with all tourist attractions we have had to adapt our site to offer our visitors the ability to socially distance and stay safe. We’ve signed up to Visit Britain’s “Good to Go” UK-wide industry standard and consumer mark to reassure you that we’re following Welsh Government and Public Health Wales guidance.
Keep your distance
Please follow our on-site instructions and maintain the recommended 2m distance from other households. You will see plenty of distance markers and also arrows directing you on our one-way systems. The outside areas are very spacious but you will need to be particularly alert to social distancing when following our indoor routes around the exhibition rooms.
Our one-way systems
There is a one way system in place on entry and exit and also throughout the indoor areas that we have been able to open such as the exhibition rooms. It is very important that all of our visitors obey the one way systems and are thoughtful of others whilst enjoying the castle.
Please sanitise your hands
It is important that our visitors sanitise their hands regularly. It is very likely that you will need to hold onto handrail when accessing certain areas, and because of this we have installed many hand sanitising stations for you to use in areas where you are most likely to need to use the handrail.
What areas are closed?
We have, unfortunately, had to close any indoor areas where creating a one way system is not possible. The main areas that are closed right now are Wogan Cavern, The Great Keep, Monkton Tower, Dungeon Tower the introductory video room and the five Earl video rooms.
What areas are open?
We are, though, pleased to be able to offer visitors access through the main exhibition room, Henry VII exhibition, Pembroke Yeomanry exhibition, the civil war exhibition, and the medieval feast exhibition. You will also be able to get access to Westgate Tower, Barbican Tower and Northgate Towers as well as the long curtain walls that stretch bewteen these towers and offer great views and photo opportunities. For these areas there will be a strict one-way system in place.
Unfortunately we are not able to offer our free guided tours to visitors at this time as they often attract a large crowd and social distancing will not be possible. However, our guide book will be available to purchase on-entry and contains a self-guided tour which all visitors can use.
Because of social distancing regulations we will also be unable to offer our visitors any form of added entertainment such as falconry displays, knight school or dragon days.
The Gift Shop
You can still visit our gift shop but only as you exit the castle. However, we will have some items on-sale inside the castle from the Cafe Tea Tent such as swords and shields that we know families enjoy using during their visit. There will be only four people allowed into the Gift Shop at any time and you must use the hand sanitizer provided at the entry doorway before going into the shop.
Unfortunately we are unable to open the indoor cafe at this time. However, we will be offering a takeaway service from the Cafe Tea Tent in the Outer Ward. There will be a selection of hot and cold drinks, snacks and ice cream on offer. You can use the picnic tables and our staff will be clearing and disinfecting the tables after each use.
Our toilets will be open to all visitors and access will be only through the cafe entrance doorway. We have a wheelchair accessible toilet and a family baby changing room available. The number of visitors entering the toilet will be controlled by a member of staff, so we ask that you have patience when queuing for the toilets. A member of staff will also be disinfecting the toilets every hour throughout the day.
Finally we would respectfully ask all of our visitors to have patience during their time with us. The changes are new for all of us and your patience and good manners with our staff will be much appreciated as this is a difficult period for them as they adapt to the new working conditions.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read all of this. We will be updating this information as and when restrictions change so we recommend that you come back and take a look at the information on this page just before you visit.
In advance of your visit we would like to thank you for supporting us at this time.