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Accessible gardens to visit in the UK

22nd June 2015

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

The UK is renowned for being home to a wide variety of spectacular gardens, which offer a fantastic day out for all ages. From acres and acres of wide open spaces to intricate flower beds in neat and pretty gardens, they’re a great way to appreciate both the green-fingered skills of those behind them, as well as the beauty of nature.

However, gardens can often have restricted accessibility due to their design, especially those in stately homes that were built many years ago. So, in order to help, we’ve put together a guide to showcase a selection of gardens which should be more accessible for stairlift users.

Trentham Estate and Gardens

Described by gardening guru Alan Titchmarsh as ‘one of the UK’s must-see gardens’, you can rest assured that a visit to the Trentham Estate will be a true highlight for those with a passion for horticulture. Boasting gardens that look stunning at any time of year, and with an impressive level of accessibility, those with mobility issues will no doubt enjoy exploring all there is to see.

“We welcome thousands of visitors of all abilities and levels of mobility every year. Trentham is really accessible because everything is on one level and we have low ramped access to most facilities and wide doorways.

“Wheelchairs with tough terrain tyres are available from the Gardens Entrance and can be used over the whole estate. Visitors with limited mobility often comment on the smooth terrain and the fact that we have plenty of benches.

“We also have regular visits from Bench-2-Bench, a group of walkers who are recovering from strokes. When they last came, they commented on what a lovely place Trentham is to visit and how much they look forward to seeing the gardens in the different seasons.” – Michael Walker, Head of Garden and Estate

Kew Gardens

Renowned for being one of the most impressive botanic gardens in the world, anyone finding themselves near London is highly recommended to visit Kew Gardens. Boasting breathtaking landscapes, iconic glasshouses and a range of colourful and fascinating plants, it is a pleasure for the senses, and one that can be enjoyed by everyone thanks to Discovery Bus & Walking Tours. Specially trained Kew Gardens volunteers lead the tours, catering for people with limited mobility, additional needs and sensory loss. In addition wheelchairs are available to borrow and mobility scooters can be booked in advance by calling 020 8332 5121.

Sezincote House & Garden

Set in the heart of the Cotswold countryside, Sezincote House & Garden is not what you’d expect to find in amongst the quintessential golden-coloured cottages that the area is renowned for. A 200-year-old Indian palace sits in a landscape of temples, grottoes and waterfalls, similar to that of the Taj Mahal. Although the gardens were neglected throughout the Second World War, they have since been restored, and a selection of these are able to be viewed by those in wheelchairs.

“Most of the garden can be viewed looking uphill and downhill from the Indian Bridge, just inside the garden entrance. The rest of the garden (except the Orangery, which cannot be entered without negotiating steps) can be seen by continuing up the drive past the house. The assistance of a strong companion or carer will greatly increase the enjoyment of the wheelchair bound.” - Sezincote

Savill Garden

Discover the plant world when perusing the thirty-five acres of world class ornamental gardens, flowering woodland and National Plant Collections at Savill Garden. Highlights include the Rose Garden, the herbaceous borders echoing times gone by and the Dry Garden, which showcases plants from the USA and Mediterranean.

“The Savill Garden provides good accessibility for less able visitors, providing access for wheelchair users along all-weather paths. Non-motorised wheelchairs are available on a first come, first served basis and Carers accompanying disabled visitors enjoy free entry into The Savill Garden. There are some slight inclines and dips, therefore there may be some sections of the Garden that may require an able-bodied carer to assist when using a non-motorised wheelchair. Assistance dogs are welcome to all parts of The Savill Garden, restaurant and shop.” – Savill Garden

Stourhead

When Stourhead first opened in the 1740s, a magazine described it as ‘a living work of art’, and since then it has only gone from strength to strength. The world-famous landscape garden has at its centrepiece a magnificent lake reflecting classical temples, mystical grottoes, and rare and exotic trees, and offers a day of fresh air and discovery.

“Whilst there are steps and some steep sections of the garden, we have ensured that those with mobility difficulties are still able to do a full circuit of the lake by taking a different path.

We have complimentary wheelchairs available for our visitors to use as well as a volunteer driven buggy service that offers those less mobile a guided tour around the garden.

There is level access to our shop and restaurant and we have disabled toilets on the property. More information about our access can be found on the homepage of our website (downloadable access guide).” – Stourhead

Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo is a fully accessible park, which is made up of eight glorious award-winning feature gardens, and is also named as one of Cheshire’s Gardens of Distinction. This places it alongside other Cheshire gems, such as the gardens of romantic castles and hidden arboretums that can also be found in the county. Chester Zoo offers a range of services and facilities which make the attraction as accessible as possible for everyone, such as wheelchair lifts in the Red Ape enclosure, and exhibits designed with glass panels.

Image Credit: Trentham Estate, Trentham Estate, Kew Gardens, Sezincote, Stourhead, Chester Zoo

This content was written by Emily Bray. Please feel free to visit my Google + profile to read more stories.