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Visiting Clitheroe Castle

Clitheroe Castle is a medieval ruin that has dominated the skyline in the beautiful town of Clitheroe Lancashire for over 800 years. Built after the Norman Invasion, the Castle was among the smallest forts in England. Today, Clitheroe Castle and Museum are tourist attractions under the care of the Lancashire County Council.


There’s a car park on the Castle grounds. It’s available for blue badge holders and has parking spaces for disabled visitors. The car park also accommodates coaches.

During peak times, the parking areas may be insufficient, and you may consider parking your car in the town of Clitheroe. Other free car parks include the market, Lowergate, Railway View, Whalley Road, and Chester Avenue.



Entry to Clitheroe Castle is free of charge. However, admission prices to the museum are as follows:



Concessions (over 65, people with disabilities, carers, unwaged, and students)


Children (accompanied and 13 to 18 years)



Contact the management






April 3 – November 3

Monday – Sunday

11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

November 4 – February 16

Monday – Tuesday

12 p.m. – 4 p.m.

February 17 – March 31

Monday – Sunday

12 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Location and Access

Clitheroe Castle is on Castle Hill, Clitheroe in Lancashire, England. It sits on a limestone mound overlooking the town of Clitheroe.

You can easily access Clitheroe Castle by road or rail as it’s in the heart of the town of Clitheroe. Northern National Rail provides train services to the town, and the nearest railway station is Clitheroe.

Available bus services include M2 (Burnley - Clitheroe via Read, Whalley), 14 (Accrington – Clitheroe via Clayton Le Moors, Rishton), and 22 (Clitheroe – Shadsworth via Whalley, Langho, Wilpshire).  

Clitheroe Castle and Museum have access to all visitor categories. The Castle grounds have accessible toilets and parking areas for disabled visitors. Persons with special needs can bring along assistance dogs or carers during their visits.

Know Before You Go

  • Early booking is preferable for group visits.
  • There’s a museum beyond the Castle, in the former Stewards House.
  • There’s a drop/pick-up point on-site.

Places To Stay Nearby

The Station Hotel

Distance from Clitheroe Castle: 0.3 km (0.18 mi)

Situated on King Street, Clitheroe, The Station Hotel is a 4-star inn offering exquisite services. It entails a restaurant, a workstation, and eight forms of accommodation.

The Station Hotel is an ideal place to stay when visiting Clitheroe Castle as it has attractive amenities. These include free parking and WiFi, a lobby fireplace, housekeeping, and business services.


Swan and Royal Hotel

Distance from Clitheroe Castle: 0.13 km (0.08 mi)

At the heart of the historic town of Clitheroe is the Swan and Royal Hotel. The former coaching Inn dates back to the 1830s and offers top-notch accommodation services.

Swan and Royal Hotel has well-kept rooms named after famous (and infamous) guests. Attractive amenities include a restaurant, a bar, free parking, breakfast, and WiFi.


The 3 Millstones Inn

Distance from Clitheroe Castle: 2.7 km (1.67 mi)

Located along Waddington Road, Clitheroe, The 3 Milestones Inn is a 3.5-star guesthouse with exceptional services. The inn includes a bar, a restaurant, and ten guest rooms.

Guests enjoy welcoming amenities, including free internet, self-parking, breakfast, and housekeeping services. The facility is also children and pet-friendly.


History of Clitheroe Castle 

Clitheroe Castle has a rich history, having existed for over 800 years. Historians estimate that the castle was built in the twelfth century. Over the years, it’s passed through many hands, beginning with the de Lacy family. Clitheroe Castle has been damaged and repaired many times over hundreds of years. It was restored in 2008.

Time Line


Robert de Lacy most probably founded the Castle following the conflicts in Lancashire in the late 11th century. It rested on a limestone outcrop near River Ribble. It’s believed that a timber fortress preceded the stone structure of Clitheroe Castle.

It was an enclosed castle where the outer walls were the principal defensive structures. The Castle also had a 20-feet (6.09 m) square keep with ten-foot (3.04 m) thick walls for residential purposes. A curtain wall encircled the keep while a bailey sat towards the south.

The Castle was the seat of Honour of Clitheroe. Hence, Clitheroe and Pontefract Castles served as administrative centres (a court and prison) for the de Lacy family.


Robert de Lacy was childless, and his cousin inherited the Castle upon his death. Later, it became the cousin’s grandson (Roger), who changed his surname to de Lacy. Roger was the Constable of Chester, and his descendants became Earls of Lincoln from 1232.

The Castle was also a garrison during the rebellion of John, King Richard I’s brother during the 1190s.

-Early 1300s

Henry de Lacy, the third Earl of Lincoln, constructed a new gate on the Castle grounds and rebuilt some buildings. He died in 1311.


After Henry de Lacy’s death, Thomas, the second Earl of Lancaster, inherited Clitheroe Castle. Thomas had married Alice de Lacy, the daughter, and heiress of Henry de Lacy. 


The Castle was one of the victims of weapon raids during a rebellion by Adam Banastre against the Earl. Thomas of Lancaster lost his title, and his properties were transferred to the crown after his death in 1322.

Henry, the brother of Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, was granted the Castle. Eventually, the Castle fell under the Duchy of Lancaster.


Queen Isabella, the wife of Edward II, acquired Clitheroe Castle. She had some of the buildings within the Castle repaired. Also, there was a construction of a new gatehouse.


Additional repairs and upgrades occurred at Clitheroe Castle. A new chamber was also built during the period. Further repairs took place during the Wars of Roses in the mid-15th century under the orders of Edward IV.


Clitheroe Castle was facing disrepair, and a survey revealed that the Castle was ruinous and on the verge of falling. Another survey in 1608 showed that some parts of the Castle buildings had started collapsing.


Prince Rupert had a garrison stay at Clitheroe Castle during the Civil War. They stocked the Castle with provisions and reconstructed the gateway. However, when the royalists lost at the Battle of Marston Moor, the garrison abandoned the Castle.


After the execution of Charles I, the Lancashire militia occupied Clitheroe Castle after disobeying disbandment orders. However, Parliament ordered slighting of the Castle to prevent further use as a fortress. The keep faced immense damage during this period.


The first Duke of Albemarle received Clitheroe Castle and its honour as a reward from Charles II. The Duke has assisted the King to attain the crown after the death of Charles I.

-1700s to 1800s

Clitheroe Castle fell under the ownership of the Dukes of Buccleuch family. During their ownership, the family might have had a new house built on the site. However, records show that the Castle’s existing buildings were in ill states. For instance, the curtain wall was demolished.

Clitheroe Castle remained an administrative centre for Blackburnshire until 1822, after the construction of the town hall on Church Street.


The keep was almost falling, and some repairs were done. The re-construction also included repairing the staircase tower, the eastern corner, and the wall buttresses (southeast and southwest).

-1878 to 1918

Dixon Robinson, the Steward of Honour of Clitheroe, lived in the Castle.


The Castle became public property after purchasing it through subscription. The borough council from Lord Montagu of Beaulieu later bought the Castle to establish a memorial for the town’s soldiers who’d died during the First World War.


As part of preservation, the southeast keep was elevated.


The Clitheroe Castle Museum was redeveloped, and the Castle’s keep was restored after the first archaeological excavation.

Clitheroe Castle Occupants

During its age-long existence, Clitheroe Castle has been the residence of notable occupants.

They include:

  • Robert de Lacy, the presumed founder of Clitheroe Castle.
  • Roger de Lacy, the grandson of Robert de Lacy’s cousin.
  • Henry de Lacy, the third Earl of Lincoln.
  • Thomas, the second Earl of Lancaster.
  • The first duke of Albemarle.

The Dukes of Buccleuch.

Images of Clitheroe Castle

Clitheroe Castle Clitheroe Castle Clitheroe Castle
Clitheroe Castle Clitheroe Castle

Images Supplied and licensed from Shutterstock Standard Licence Package

Clitheroe Castle Facts

Clitheroe Castle is a Grade I building and a scheduled monument protected by the law. The castle has the second smallest Norman keep in England. It’s under the management of the Lancashire County Council’s museum service.

The Castle provides splendid views of the Ribble Valley and the neighbouring historic landscape. The grounds also host the Clitheroe Castle Museum, which has over 350 million years of history.

Clitheroe Castle Museum contains galleries containing information about the Castle and the surrounding area. There are also exhibits for local folklore and legends, animations, and sound points to bring a live experience of the area’s history.

Additional attractive components of the Clitheroe Castle grounds include:


  • The War Memorial
  • The Castle Keep
  • The Skate Park
  • Bowling Green
  • Bandstand
  • Labyrinth
  • Children’s playground

Clitheroe Castle Q&A

  • Are pets allowed at Clitheroe Castle? You can bring your dog to the Castle grounds. The Castle’s management also allows guide dogs. However, dogs aren’t allowed into the museum.
  • Is Clitheroe Castle baby-friendly? The Castle grounds are perfect for family activities. Also, there are baby-changing facilities on-site.
  • Can I bring a picnic at the Castle? Though the Castle’s management hasn’t provided information about allowing food from outside, the grounds are ideal for picnics. However, there’s a café on-site where visitors can buy snacks, drinks, and meals.

Location of Clitheroe Castle

Clitheroe Castle is located in the picturesque town of Clitheroe. Clitheroe is a historic town and civil parish in the Borough of Ribble Valley. It’s approximately 55 km (34.17 mi) northwest of Manchester, Lancashire. The town has also preserved most of its customs and ancient character.

Clitheroe Castle is on the main street of the town of Clitheroe and is a key tourist attraction in the area.

The Castle’s mailing address is Castle Hill, Clitheroe, Lancashire, BB7 1BA.

Other Places To Visit Near Clitheroe Castle

Apart from Clitheroe Castle and Museum, the town of Clitheroe is home to numerous tourist attractions.

Here’s a list of other places you might consider visiting near Clitheroe Castle:

Whalley Abbey

Whalley Abbey should be on your bucket list if you love visiting ancient buildings. The former Cistercian abbey, located in Whalley, Clitheroe, is a hidden gem. It’s currently a scheduled monument and a listed Grade I building.

After the dissolution of monasteries in England, Whalley Abbey was also demolished and became a ruin. However, a country house was constructed on the site and upgraded into a Retreat Centre of the Diocese of Blackburn in the 20th century.

Visitors to the site enjoy spectacular views of the ruins and gardens and enjoy sumptuous meals at the café.

The Grand at Clitheroe

Situated on 18 York Street, Clitheroe, The Grand is the top entertainment and event destination in Clitheroe. The auditorium offers state-of-the-art live performances, contemporary dance rehearsals, and cinema halls.

The Grand also hosts a professional music recording studio and a laid-back café/bistro. Hence, you can either decide to enjoy the entertainment or the catering side of The Grand, Clitheroe.

You’ll be spoiled for events on the Grand’s calendar. For instance, you can choose jazz, rock, or folk music or participate in the Cloudspotting Music and Arts Festival.

Longitude Art Gallery

Does art intrigue you? Longitude Art Gallery is the place to stop by on your visit to Clitheroe. The independently owned art gallery is located in Castlegate Lee Carter House, Clitheroe. It’s the home to exquisite art pieces from local talent.

The gallery also stages new exhibitions every two months. Hence, you might be lucky to witness one during your visit. The gallery’s interior and lighting offer an intriguing atmosphere for art lovers.

The gallery’s newest collections include “A Day Set Fair,” “A Memory of Water: Pellucid,” “Crowded Hillside,” “Ebb Side, Arnside,” and “Nature’s Wide and Common Sky.”

Bowland Wild Boar Park

Situated in Chipping, Preston, Bowland Wild Boar Park is a perfect place for family visits. The park offers a relaxing environment where visitors can behold wild boars roaming in the wooded countryside.

Bowland Wild Boar Park is also home to other animals, including meerkats and sheep. Your children will enjoy stroking, bottle-feeding, and holding the lambs.

The park is a hub of countryside adventure. Thus, you can also take a walk along the riverside, camp in a camping pod, or indulge in home-cooked food at the café. The admission fee is £7.50 for all visitors above two years. The family package (2 adults & 2 kids) is £25.00.

Pendle Hill

Are you a hiking fan? Pendle Hill is a welcoming and challenging landscape that attracts walkers and countryside enthusiasts. It’s famous for being the site of 17th-century witch trials. Hence, it imposes over the historic hunting ground.

Today, the area around Pendle Hill is composed of small farms and hamlets. However, it has remained significantly untamed due to its infamous association with witch-hunting and execution in 1612.

You can participate in long-distance walks, such as the 42-mile (67.59 km) Pendle Way. The surrounding farmhouses and inns will provide the needed refreshment and accommodation after a long day of trekking.

Thornton Hall Country Park

Located in Thornton-in-Craven, Thornton Hall Country Park is the perfect family getaway. The traditional working farm offers a wide array of fun activities and animal encounters.

Fun-filled activities at Thornton Hall Country Park include a safari ride, the Deer Park tour, and playing at the Barn. Top events at the park involve the “Quadtrex,” “Slime Live,” “Princess Pirates.”