There is a lift to the first floor near the exit to the Great Fountain Gardens to the east of the palace. Please ask a State Apartment Warder for directions. A warder need to accompany all visitors using the lift.
Last admission to the first floor for visitors using the lift: 17.15 in summer and 15.45 in winter.
Distance from the West Gate (main entrance) to the lift: 160 metres
Distance from the lift to the Great Hall: 110 metres
Total distance travelled on the first floor following this route: 740 metres
Henry VIII’s Apartments
A warder will guide you from the lift to the Great Hall and the start of Henry VIII’s Apartments. After visiting the Horn Room, Great Watching Chamber, Pages’ Chamber, Council Chamber, Royal Pew (for Henry's Crown) and Haunted Gallery you will be at the top of the Queen’s Staircase.
Continue along the Communication Gallery ahead of you and go round the corner to the Cartoon Gallery. Then go through to the first floor of William III's Apartments – please ask a warder for assistance.
This is the route you find yourself in when you come up in the lift. Make your way to the Queen's Guard Chamber and then follow the route all the way round until you get to the Queen's Oratory. The warder there will help you through a door that takes you directly to the landing where the lift is.
William III’s Apartments – first floor and ground floor
You enter William III's Apartments on the first floor in the King’s Eating Room. Turn right for the start of this route – the King’s Staircase landing. Once you have visited all the rooms on the first floor go back to the Eating Room where a warder will let you back into the Communication Gallery.
Make your way back to the lift and down to the ground floor. Head towards William III's Apartments and enter the ground floor via the colonnade in Clock Court. Pass through the doors, turn to your right into Stone Passageway and enter the King’s Private Apartments through the door on the left. You will enter in the final room so please go through all the rooms to get to the start.
Young Henry VIII exhibition
Access is from the King’s Guard Chamber. There are four steps at the entrance – three steps, a metre-long landing and a further very narrow single step. Ask the warder in the King’s Guard Chamber for assistance if you would like to visit the Young Henry VIII exhibition. You will enter in the final room of the exhibition so please go to the start. The exit is also via the King’s Guard Chamber.
For visitors unable to manage these four steps, there is a virtual tour of the Young Henry VIII exhibition in the Information Centre off Base Court.
There are ramps throughout the Tudor Kitchens but you can only visit the Wine Cellar via a staircase. Visitors could go to the Information Centre, exit via the back into the shop and through there into the Wine Cellar but there are still some steps albeit fewer. The Wine Cellar can be viewed from the North Cloister corridor.
In the Boiling House there are some door frames of less than a metre wide leading into Fish Court. Visitors may find it easier to backtrack after going round the Boiling House and head towards the North Cloister. The door on the left labelled PRIVATE (at the end of a short passage) leads into Fish Court.
The Chapel Royal, Mantegna’s Triumphs of Caesar exhibition, the Baroque Story film and the Great Vine viewing area.
All these are on the ground floor and have level access so should not present problems for visitors with mobility difficulties. Some of the entrances may be narrow though.
The Little Banqueting House and the Royal Tennis Court
Both of these have steps at the entrance and are closed during the winter.
The Little Banqueting House is often used for functions and/or civil wedding ceremonies so is rarely open to visitors but as it is raised above the garden level the steps are steep and too short for ramps.
At the entrance to the Royal Tennis Court there is a gentle slope and then an uneven step. The spectator viewing area is at court level and wheelchair users may therefore find that they can't see the play. It is a private members' club so the spectators area is not open to visitors during the winter months. The Tennis Court is closed from 7th April to 28th Augsut 2015 for major building works.