Walmer Castle is located in Deal in Kent and is a fascinating place to visit and is steeped in history. Many famous historical figures have stayed there over the years, plus it is a beautiful place not just in the gardens but in the grandly decorated rooms of the Castle itself. In this post, I discuss the accessibility of Walmer Castle and its gardens plus some more general information about the place.
Walmer Castle was an artillery Fort built by Henry VIII between 1539 and 1540. It served as a defence against the threat of invasion by France and the Holy Roman Empire. Other castles nearby were also constructed at Deal and Sandown to provide additional defences.
In the 18th century, the Castle was converted into a private residence for the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports. The Cinque Ports were a group of 5 towns on the south-east coast of England whose job was originally to provide ships for the Crown as there was no Navy at the time.
Many famous historical figures have been Lord wardens of the Cinque ports over the years. These include William Pitt the Younger, the Duke of Wellington, Winston Churchill, and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, amongst others.
Accessibility of the Castle
Only the ground floor of Walmer Castle is accessible for wheelchair users as there is no lift to the upper floors. There is an audio guide available which gives you interesting facts about all the rooms in the Castle which I enjoyed listening to. Even though I have a hearing loss, I was able to understand most of what the disembodied voice was saying on the guide, which was a pleasant surprise.
Unfortunately due to Covid, the interior of the Castle is now closed to the public. But you can still go around the mostly accessible gardens. I visited the interior of the Castle a couple of years ago before all the virus madness began.
Accessibility of Walmer Castle Gardens
Parking was near to the entrance to the gardens. They had set up a desk outside with tables to separate the staff from the visitors. You have to book online to get into the gardens. They won’t let you in without booking a time slot due to Covid.
The gardens of Walmer Castle cover 8 acres, and most of it is accessible with relatively good paths throughout. Some paths are covered in gravel like in the Broadwalk, and some parts are covered in small wood chippings or grass. Others are tarmac or concrete paths that run through the wood. Overall I found it reasonably easy to drive around in my powerchair.
The kitchen garden area has lots of vegetables and fruits growing, with paths around it.
One area that is not accessible is The Glen. This is an old quarry which was converted into a garden which is only accessible by stairs. There is, however, an area overlooking it where wheelchair users can look down into it.
The Queen Mother’s garden is lovely, which contains a large pond with fish and plants in it. Dragonflies buzz around the surface.
Smooth grass runs along the side of the pond, and there is a stone pavilion at the end, but I didn’t go in there because I think there was a step to get into it.
There are some large grassy areas near to the café which are smooth. There are some steps to get onto the grassy area, but I managed to get onto it by finding a gently sloped bit next to the path.
The café is accessible with a good amount of room to manoeuvre inside. I went in the summer, so they kept the doors open for ventilation, and you had to wear a mask inside. They sell home-made cakes and scones, with sandwiches also available.
I was also able to get down into the moat that surrounds the castle. The most is accessible by a smooth stone ramp. The surface of the moat is smooth glass so it is quite easy to drive around.
Walmer Castle itself has limited accessibility. The interior of the Castle is nice to look at, but only the ground floor is accessible to wheelchair users. Either way, you can’t get in there while Covid is here. The gardens, however, are pleasant to wander around, are well kept, and are largely accessible so I think it’s worth a visit.