Hartlebury Castle – Visiting Summer 2021

Hartlebury Castle was the home of the Bishops of Worcester from 855 to 2007. They have amazing stories to tell and their history and that of Hartlebury Castle is inextricably linked with the history of the nation.

Hartlebury Castle Preservation Trust was formed: To preserve for the benefit of the people of Worcestershire and of the Nation Hartlebury Castle, its gardens, grounds, parkland and historic contents including the Hurd Library. The Castle was purchased in 2014 and opened as a visitor attraction in April 2018. The County Museum has leased part of the site since the 1960s and they work closely together.

Hartlebury Castle consists of The Bishop’s Palace, Worcestershire County museum and grounds (including nature trail). It is a fantastic day out.

Visitor Facilities

  • Old Moat Coppice nature trail & picnic area offer a pleasant place for a stroll (outside museum boundaries, available at all times)
  • The Orchard Picnic Area is inside the museum and can be used for your own picnics
  • Visitor Reception building with a well-stocked gift shop
  • Lift to all floors
  • Museum is pushchair friendly or pushchairs can be left in the museum lobby if you prefer
  • Ample free parking
  • Easy access to the many walks and footpaths on Hartlebury Common, a rare area of upland heath

Opening Times

Tuesday-Friday   10am-5pm

Saturday, Sunday & Bank Holidays 11am-5pm

Last entry 4pm

No booking required.

Covid 19 Information

Planning Your Visit
  • To allow for social distancing, they will be limiting the number of visitors at any one time. They will advise you on arrival if there is a short wait.
  • Please only visit in groups of up to 6 people, or 2 households.
  • Please only visit if you are feeling well.
  • They are not currently operating a booking system or time-slots, but will continually evaluate this and introduce it if needed. Please check before you visit.

On Arrival

  • If queuing to enter reception, please use the markers on the floor.
  • In common with all hospitality venues, Hartlebury Castle is supporting NHS Test and Trace by keeping a temporary register of all visitors. To do this we will need you to complete a very short form on entry to the Castle or scan the QR code with the Track & Trace app. Your data privacy is important to us and full details of its storage and use will be available for you to read.
  • The reception and shop will accept card payments only.
  • To facilitate social distancing, browsing in the shop will be limited to 4 people at a time.
 During Your Visit
  • Please maintain social distancing and keep 2m away from those not in your household.
  • Toilets will be open on site with a ‘one household at a time’ system of use. These will be regularly cleaned. The accessible toilet and baby change will be available on request.
  • We have installed hand sanitiser stations across the site which we encourage you to use.
  • Light refreshments will be available in the Carriage Circle. You are also welcome to bring a picnic to enjoy in our outdoor spaces.
  • Please wear a face covering in the reception & shop building, unless you are exempt under government guidelines.
  • The majority of the site will be operating a one way system. The route will be clearly signed and in any areas where visitors will have to walk in both directions signage will be in place to inform you and advise social distancing.
  • Please wear a face covering in all of the Castle buildings, unless you are exempt under government guidelines.
  • All areas in the County Museum are open though some roomsets in the County Museum will be now only be viewable from the doorway.
  • Due to tightness of spaces, the Prince’s bedroom and upstairs rooms in the Bishop’s Palace will remain closed.
  • For your safety, they have removed temporarily many interactive elements in our exhibitions and displays.

Staff and volunteers will also be implementing the following procedures and have been trained accordingly:

  • Following an increased cleaning schedule, maintaining a high hygiene standard.
  • Maintaining a social distance and keeping 2m away during interactions while still offering a friendly customer service to help you.
  • Wearing appropriate PPE to protect themselves and others.
  • The toilets will be regularly checked and cleaned.
  • They will not be handing out maps, however these and historical information boards will be displayed around the site for you to read.


It is possible that there may be other changes to access arrangements and safety measures as we attempt to find the safest solutions to the current coronavirus guidelines. If you have any particular concerns please call us before visiting to discuss the measures that are in place at that time.

Please keep an eye on their website and social media channels for the latest updates & changes.

Lots of Great Activities in February Half term!

Half Term sees a wide range of activities at Geopark venues with plenty to choose from.

In Worcester it is the Love Worcester Festival. Our Worcester members Worcester Cathedral and Worcestershire Archive & Archaeology Service have a range of events. The Cathedral has Awesome Adventures for families on Monday and Tuesday where you can make a range of crafts, and on the Monday you can have a selfie with the amazing Tudor Legacy Ladies. At The Hive you can go Behind the scenes of the archives and we have hands on History in the children on Thursday where children can be archaeologists and see what they can find in the sandpit. The week ends with an urban pilgrimage from the cathedral to three of the city’s historic churches.

Archaeology fun in The Hive

If you’re looking for craft activities for families then you’re spilt for choice. Bewdley Museum has different crafts Monday – Friday 11am-3pm, £5. Cob House has visitor running different crafts events too such as sand Art and Jumping Clay.

At Wyre Forest you can get out and about and explore the forest, and download a trail linking to the new Shaun the Sheep Movie – Farmageddon.

National Trust properties are running their popular trails – Wassail Trail at Brockhampton near Bromyard and a Tree-mendous trail at Croome. Croome will also be opening their Panorama Tower on Wedneasday where you can get stunning views as well as find out about the landscape from information sheets created by Geologists in the Geopark. At Dudmaston they have their snowdrop walks at weekend.

Panorama Tower – Katherine Alker

Lapworth Museum at Geology at Birmingham University have loads going on in half term. They have all sorts of dinosaur fun on Tuesday and Thursday.

Over at Hartlebury they have a mythical creatures trail and you can also make crafts for £2 (plus admission).

Severn Valley Country Park has lots on too, in addition to being a great place to get out and about. From 15th to 23rd they have Brilliant Birds free craft drop in. On the Friday there is also a free Woodland Mini Beast Hunt.

You’ll be spoilt for choice!

As usual it’s best to double check details before travelling. especially if bad weather.

Worcestershire County Museum at Hartlebury Castle


Hartlebury Museum Aug 2015 (7)



From costume to caravans, travel to toys there really is something for everyone at Worcestershire County Museum. Learn more about this fascinating county, explore the past through room sets and real historical objects and discover just what life was like for our ancestors. Whether you are looking for a trip down memory lane, a chance to learn something new, a peaceful stroll through nature or just a nice cup of tea and a cake, Worcestershire County Museum has it all. The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions and exciting events throughout the year. Admission to Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum is FREE

Worcestershire County Museum is housed in the servants quarters of Hartlebury Castle, home to the Bishop of Worcester since the 16th century. The site has been owned by the Church since 850AD and a manor house was built here as early as the 13th century.  The museum exhibits a nationally important collection of colourful Gypsy caravans, beautiful costume, social history, archaeology, travel & transport,  examples from ‘The Bromsgrove Guild’, toys through time and galleries which explore the intriguing story of Worcestershire’s past. Visitors can also see room sets such as the schoolroom and scullery, which are regularly brought to life by visiting schoolchildren and period rooms that focus on the Victorian and Civil War eras.

Geology and landscape

Diagram of the Worcester Basin

Diagram of the Worcester Basin

Hartlebury Museum and much of Hartlebruy parish sits upon Triassic- aged sandstone, specifically the unit of rock known as the Bromsgrove Sandstone Formation which is approximately 237 to 251 million years old.

If it were possible to travel back in to the Triassic perioid both the landscape and environment would be differ greatly to that of today.  During the preceding geological period, the Permian (299-251 million years ago), a great rift valley formed due to movement along two almost parallel fault line; the East Malvern Fault and the Inkberrow Fault. A flat-topped prism of rock was created between the two faults which slowly fell by about 300om to form a rift valley, the Worcester Basin.  During the Permian and Triassic times the basin began to fill with erosion products.

Triassic sandstone used as a building stone in Hartlebury Museum

Triassic sandstone used as a building stone in Hartlebury Museum

The distinctly red coloured Bromsgrove Sandstone of Hartlebury formed from rivers flowing through the Worcester Basin depositing mainly sand and gravel material in channels to form river terrace deposits.


Explore the Geology and Landscape of Worcestershire County Museum at Hartlebury Castle

  • The Geopark Way long distance walking trail passes close to the museum. through Severn Valley Country Park. Section 5 of the trail guide Bewdley to Larford Lake. Why not combine a walk along the trail with a visit to the museum. Trail guide available from the Vmuseum shop.
  • Section 5 of the Geopark Way also available as an App. The app has a map of the section overlain on an interactive geology map. Using GPS you get your position and a feed of data about the geology and other information as you walk. Other information’ includes photos of the walk with directional guidance, 3D cross-sections, and interpretations of past environments.Created by BrooksDesigns

Explore the bedrock and superficial geology of the Severn Valley Country Park area on the British Geological Surveys ‘Geology of Britain Viewer’click here to be directed to their webpage

Facilities & attractions

  • Travel and Transport exhibition
  • Springs, Spas and Holidays exhibition
  • Civil War gallery
  • From Plough to Plate – Worcestershire’s rich agricultural history
  • Childhood Treasures galleries
  • Victorian social history galleries including cchoolroom, nursery  & scullery
  • Craft work by the Bromsgrove Guild
  • Forge and wheelwrights
  • Cider Mill
  • Rocks and Landscape of Worcestershire gallery
  • The State Rooms – The Castle’s magnificent Georgian Saloon and the Medieval Great Hall are also open to the public during normal museum hours from 1 April – 30 September
  • Temporary exhibitions
  • Events and activities held throughout the year
  • School holiday childrens and famaily activities
  • Learn & Lunch – A series of fascinating talks & tours
  • Behind the Scenes Tours
  • An education service where pupils can enjoy creative on and off site cross-curricula linked sessions for Key Stages 1, 2 and beyond
  • Resources for teachers
  • Object loan service for schools
  • Museum on the Move
  • Gift shop
  • Café
  • Picnic areas
  • Toilets
  • Nature reserve
  • Ample Free Parking
  • Museum is pushchair friendly or pushchairs can be left in the Museum lobby if you prefer
  • Lift to all floors
  • The shop, cafe and Orchard picnic area are all wheelchair accessible
  • Dedicated car parking spaces and toilet facilities are available
  • Hearing Loops are provided in Shop, Reception and Video Introduction

Opening times & admission charges

Opening Times 2018

Hartlebury Castle is open from 1 February until 23 December 2018.

  • Mondays (except Bank Holidays) and Good Friday: CLOSED
  • Tuesday-Friday: 10.00am-5.00pm
  • Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays: 11.00am – 5.oopm

 Admission charges  for whole site ( the Bishops House, County Museum & Grounds) 2018

  • Adult:  £9.00
  • Seniors (60+):  £8.00
  • Children (5-16 years):  £5
  • Family (2 adults & 2 children):  £25.00

Visit as many times as you like in a year with a great value Annual Pass

·         Family Annual Pass: £45

·         Individual Pass: £22

·         Grounds Only Pass: £20

·         Grounds Only Individual Pass: £10

On occasion we do have to close the Bishops House so if access to these rooms is an important part of your visit please call in advance to check that the rooms are open.

Worcestershire County Museum photo gallery

Contact information