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Why ‘Newcastle Castle’?
The Castle Keep and Black Gate reopened in March 2015 as ‘Newcastle Castle’. The name reflects the fact that a joint ticket now provides entry to both.
Newly installed interpretation boards contextualise other extant elements of the castle precinct; namely the remaining fragments of the Castle walls, and the Heron Pit – one of the Castle’s 13th century prisons.
So, was there an old castle?
The Castle is the third fortification to stand on the present site; the first being the Roman fort Pons Aelius, built in around 122AD, about the same time as Hadrian’s Wall. The first ‘New Castle’ was the wooden motte and bailey castle built by Robert Curthose in 1080AD, in response to a series of raids by the Scots.
The Castle was rebuilt in stone between 1168 and 1178 at the orders of King Henry II, and further additions were made during the reign of King John (1207 – 1216). The final addition to the Castle’s fortified defences was the gatehouse or barbican, now known as the Black Gate (built 1248-1250).
How big did the Castle used to be?
In its 13th century heyday, the Castle stretched from the Black Gate (the medieval gatehouse) all the way to Castle Stairs, leading up from the Quayside. In fact, large fragments can still be found in the beer garden of the Bridge Hotel pub!
The area within the Castle walls is, to this day, referred to as ‘Castle Garth’ (garth being an archaic term for the word ‘yard’).
How do Newcastle’s Town Walls tie in with the castle?
Newcastle’s Town Walls are erroneously believed by some people as having formed part of the Castle. Sections of the wall still exist; the longest of which runs along the back of Stowell Street, and can be found in the Chinatown area of the city.
Now a Scheduled Ancient Monument, the medieval defence was built during the 13th and 14th centuries, to fend off armies during the border wars between England and Scotland. Its construction put an end to the Castle’s function as a vital form of defence, and the fortress became used largely for non-military purposes thereafter.
Where can I buy my tickets from?
Tickets for Newcastle Castle can be purchased on the day of your visit, from the Black Gate: the medieval gatehouse of the Castle. The Black Gate houses an admissions area, gift shop, exhibition space and accessible toilets.
Please note that tickets can no longer be purchased from the Castle Keep.
Are there toilet facilities?
Yes. The Castle has two toilets (one unisex and one disabled unisex), located on the first floor of the Black Gate. You must be a paying customer, or have made a purchase in our gift shop, to be allowed to use these facilities
Toilets are not available within the Keep, due to the building’s status as a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
Is there anywhere that I can store luggage/pushchairs?
Bags, luggage and pushchairs may be stored – at a staff members’ discretion – in the reception of the Black Gate. This area is staffed at all times; however, Newcastle Castle may not be held responsible for any indirect losses or damages.
What is your photography policy?
Photography is allowed throughout the Castle (and of the exterior). We actively encourage visitors to share photographs with us via Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Newcastle Castle boasts an extraordinary view from the rooftop and offers a plethora of evocative medieval spaces. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in using the Castle as a location for commercial photo shoots, or to take photographs after-hours.
Are dogs allowed inside the Castle?
Only guide dogs are permitted inside the Keep and Black Gate.
Is Newcastle Castle accessible for disabled visitors?
The Black Gate has a lift and is fully accessible to wheelchair users. The gatehouse has two disabled toilet facilities, including one in the Harbottle learning room, which is often used for school visits.
Due to the Castle’s historic nature, disabled access inside the Keep is limited. However, on the ground floor, visitors can watch 15-minute video tour, which provides an accessible alternative for those physically unable to access the rest of the Keep.
I would like to hold an event at Newcastle Castle. How do I go about doing this?
Venue hire enquiries should be made via our dedicated email address. The Castle is open daily, 10am-5pm, so any after-hour hires will incur a by-the-hour cost.
We have a limited numbers of days each year in which we may close the Castle for private bookings. These must be booked several months in advance and will incur a considerable extra charge.
Can I take a guided tour?
Guided tours of the Castle generally only take place during school holidays, and as part of special events such as The Late Shows and Heritage Open Days.
There is no designated route to take around the Castle, and visitors may explore at their leisure. Guide books are available from the admissions desk for only £3.
I hear you do ghost hunts. How do I take part in one?
Newcastle Castle Keep is a popular location amongst many ghost-hunting groups. Whilst we do not host any events of this nature ourselves, several teams carry out their own paranormal investigations, which they ticket themselves.
Details of upcoming investigations can be found via the What’s On page of our website.
Can I buy food and drink?
Confectionery and soft drinks are available from our gift shop, which is situated alongside the admissions desk in the Black Gate. Hot drinks and snacks are not available; however, these may be purchased from the Lantern Café in the nearby St Nicholas Cathedral.