Hectic History – York Castle Museum

Next on the museum trail in York was the York Castle Museum which had been recommended by friends and review websites. It has a fantastic accessibility guide, and I was really impressed by the downloadable Visual Story which I haven’t seen in an access section before. It also helps the grown ups get a feel for how the museum looks on the inside!

Thanks to the guide we knew we could park on the road outside the museum for up to 3 hours with a blue badge. When we arrived it was tricky to work out where to park as there is no disabled parking signage, but when I nipped inside I was given information on where to park (it is literally right outside).

There is level access to the museum with automatic doors. Entry is free for a carer with a disabled visitor and children are free so it only cost £10 for the 4 of us. There are really friendly and helpful staff on reception.

The museum is split into 2 halves, and we started off in the section to the left. We knew from the website that there were no lifts on this side and that it was split over 3 levels, and it was also very busy, so Emily needed lots of help with getting around. We had to sit down a few times but there are plenty of seats. The stairs all have handrails so Emily managed by holding one handrail and holding a hand.

The displays, galleries and exhibitions are excellent; and they both enjoyed the Toy Story Galleries.

The best part of this side of the museum is Kirkgate, the recreated Victorian Street. It would be worth a visit for this alone!

Each shop and  business on Kirkgate is named after a real business that operated in Victorian York. It is an amazing experience to be able to walk in and out of the shops, some of which have staff in Victorian costume working in who are answering questions or telling stories. You can also see the school and  police cell; and wander down back lanes complete with recreated (smell and all) toilets.

Emily needed more help on Kirkgate due to it’s cobbles which she stumbled on slightly, and it is also quite dark. There are ramps into all the shops.

The second half of the museum is fully accessible, it is spread over 2 floors and has a lift. At this stage we realised it would have been wise to take in the Maclaren Major as Emily was very tired after using the stairs and walking around so much in the first half. The hunger demons were also kicking in for all 4 of us so we did rush around a bit! Still loads of interesting things to see and learn about.

York Castle Museum is an absolute must, not only is it excellent value for money, there is so much to see and do that it will keep the little and big ones entertained for quite a few hours. Kirkgate is amazing and worth it just to experience reliving Victorian York.

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