Access statement for Floors Castle
Floors Castle welcomes visitors with different access requirements, however, due to the historic nature of the Castle and its grounds, access can be limited in some areas.
Pre –arrival – If you require any further information about specific access or advice on planning your visit outside the contents of this document, please contact 01573 223333 or email [email protected].
How to get to Floors Castle
Location Postcode – TD5 7RL. Floors Castle, Kelso, Scottish Borders, Scotland. Once you are in Kelso, please look for the many brown tourist signs ‘Floors Castle’ that are dotted around the market town and approach roads. Satellite Navigation systems will not always take you to the right place, as it is a large area under a single post-code.
By Road: There are three major trunk roads within the Scottish Borders; the A1 in the East, the A7 and the A68 in the Central Borders.
By Rail: The Scottish Borders is accessible by train on the East Coast mail line between London and Edinburgh stopping at Berwick Upon Tweed which lies approximately half an hour away. Public transport operates from the town. The stunning Borders Railway line stretches for 30 miles and takes just 55 minutes from Edinburgh city centre, through Midlothian to Tweedbank in the Scottish Borders. Public transport again operates from Tweedbank and Floors Castle is approximately 25 minutes drive away. www.bordersrailway.co.uk/explore
Car parking: There are two car parking areas. For the main visitor car park, adjacent to the Castle, please enter by the main gates off Roxburghe Street and follow directions to the woodland car park. Disabled bays are available near the Courtyard entrance which will avoid steps en-route. Visitors requiring a lift to avoid the steps into the castle should make for the gift shop. Please ask the pay hut team on arrival and/or follow the signs.
Car parking for the Terrace Cafe and walled gardens only, are located off the B6397 sign posted Terrace Cafe/Estates Offices. This car park can also be driven to from the main woodland car park.
Surfaces around the Castle and Grounds vary between grass, gravel and tarmac.
A welcome map is given to every visitor on arrival which offers basic layout, showing the locations of the car parks, castle and gardens. Please do ask for additional assistance on or pre-arrival. Staff may not always be aware of disabled persons in the car and do not want to cause offence. We are here to assist in any way.
Coaches are permitted to drop off and collect guests to the front of the Castle and park up in the coach bays near the woodland car park at all other times. Coaches can transport guests from the Castle to the Terrace Café and Walled Gardens as this is a 650m walk from the main Castle. This can be done via the road (this is also the route traffic will take) or a walk through woodland on a flat unpaved track. Car parking for cars and coaches is available at the Terrace Café area.
Visiting the Castle
The main entrance to the Castle has 12 wide stone steps with bannisters on both sides.
- For alternative access, please go directly to the Castle Gift shop (located near the Courtyard Café) where a member of our team will come and meet you and escort you to a lift up to the main entrance hall. The gift shop is a 125m walk from the disabled parking bays at the front of the woodland car park.
- We do have two small and basic wheelchairs available for indoor use only which fit our lift. The lift in the Castle was installed in the late 1960s and is limited in size. The primary limitation is in the width of the entrance, which is a maximum of 69cm. There is also a limitation in the length of chairs or scooters we can accommodate. We will always do our best to facilitate access to the castle for all visitors.
- Due to limited space, only one member of staff, one visitor in a wheelchair/scooter and one other person can fit into the lift at any one time.
- The tour takes you through eleven rooms all on one level before moving to the lower floor where the tour continues. As you explore the rooms, there is limited seating available in most of the spaces. The most plentiful seating is in the Entrance Hall.
- Alternatively, there are portable seats that you can request to take around with you, and hand in to the gift shop as you leave the house.
- Though all of the rooms are accessible to wheelchairs, there are areas where the route becomes thin and may be harder to navigate at busy times when public footfall is high.
- The Gallery area has low levels of artificial lighting.
- Visitors can avoid the steps down to the lower level by taking the lift down to the basement. Access to this will be facilitated by a member of staff from the Gallery.
- Half the displays on the Basement level can be accessed on the flat. There are two small steps up into the sporting display area towards the main exit. An alternative exit is available that avoids the steps, and has a ramp up to a set of exit doors.
Grounds & Gardens
- The area outside the main entrance to the Castle is large stoned gravel (see image below). This can be quite a problematic surface for wheelchairs and scooters due to its depth. If a walking frame or a stick is used, the gravel is passable. Alternative access is available through the lift, accessed via the Gift Shop (see above).
- From the main exit to the Castle, the Walled Gardens are approximately 780m away. Initially, this is over uneven cobbles, then on to large grade gravel, and finally an unpaved flat track through the woods.
- The route to the gardens is signposted, and can be done via the road (this is also the route traffic will take) or a walk through woodland on a flat unpaved track. Car parking for cars is available at the Garden area, so it is possible to travel by car from the woodland car park to the gardens.
- The garden itself is accessed up a ramp through the main gates, and is entirely on the flat. The paths are gravelled, and some visitors may struggle in chairs or on scooters. The gravel is fine grade and shallow, and the majority of visitors can access the paths without difficulty. The image below shows the route from the Millennium Parterre through to the Walled Garden.
- The glasshouses are in some cases accessed up some steps and the width of the internal walkways may make access difficult for some (see image below).
- We offer extensive, way-marked, riverside and woodland walks throughout the grounds so please be mindful of the undulating terrain and length of the routes before embarking, as well as the conditions of the ground due to weather conditions. Maps are handed out to assist you in your planning. Please wear appropriate footwear and be aware that differing weather conditions will affect the ground on sections of the walks.
- The woodland walk is 2.6km/1.6 miles and has two stiles on the route. The riverside walk is 4km/2.5 miles and has four stiles on the route. There are livestock roaming free on the walk routes.
We have three sets of public toilets within the grounds. One by the rear exit of the castle, one adjacent to the Courtyard Café, and also at the Terrace Café by the gardens and all have access facilities and baby changing facilities.
We have the Courtyard Café nearest the Castle and the Terrace Café next to the Walled Garden. The Courtyard Café has a ramp up to the entrance and is fully wheelchair accessible. Those using larger chairs/scooters may find access to the Terrace Café difficult due to a lack of space for turning/manoeuvre. Both catering outlets have vegetarian and gluten-free options available. All allergy information is available.
To call to reserve a table:
Courtyard Café – 01573 227660
Terrace Café – 01573 225714
Our Castle gift shop is located toward the exit of the Castle tour and is fully accessible for wheelchairs. The paths around the gift shop and Courtyard Café are suitable for wheelchairs. The Apple Shed Gift Shop and Deli is located near the Terrace Café adjacent to the Walled Garden. It is in the historic Apple Store and is not accessible to wheelchair users due to two steps at the entrance and exit. Visitors should also be aware that, due to the historic nature of the building, the floor is uneven in parts.
Assistance dogs are welcome in all areas of the Castle, Grounds and Gardens and water bowls can be found at both Café’s.
Staff are trained in emergency procedures and in the event of an alarm, please follow the instructions of the Castle staff.
Sickness or Injury
We have trained First Aiders on site at all times. Please ask the nearest member for staff if help is required. We keep a record of all accidents and injuries.
Should you have any queries, please call:
Alison Barber, Floors Castle, Kelso, Scottish Borders, TD5 7RL, 01573 223 333 or email [email protected]
We are always looking for ways to improve our facilities so please do pass on your comments about your visit to Floors Castle and Gardens by speaking to a member of the castle staff or emailing [email protected]