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Accessible guide to royal attractions in Scotland

27th October 2019


One of the great things about living in the UK is the incredible amount of top attractions to visit, especially when it comes to locations connected with the Royal Family. While London is often thought of as the premier destination for royal attractions to visit – as showcased in this accessible guide to royal attractions in London – Scotland has a plethora of fascinating locations to visit as well. From royal residences and yachts to ancient castles, it’s all here. When in Scotland, these attractions should certainly be visited but how many of them are accessible to those with limited mobility? Well, this guide highlights some of Scotland’s most majestic royal attractions and also details how accessible they are to those who might rely on stairlifts at home.

Palace of Holyroodhouse


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Accessibility at the Place of Holyroodhouse

  • Largely accessible
  • Concessionary rates for the disabled
  • Carers/companions admitted free of charge
  • Wheelchairs available to borrow for free
  • Mobility scooters allowed
  • Some areas inaccessible to wheelchairs (such as Mary, Queen of Scot’s Chambers)
  • Assistance dogs welcome
  • Accessible toilets
  • Disabled parking just outside the palace

Full information here.

What to expect at the attraction

The Palace of Holyroodhouse is a must-visit royal attraction and acts as Her Majesty The Queen’s home in Edinburgh. Located at the end of the famous Royal Mile, the palace was also once the home to Mary, Queen of Scots. Open throughout the year, there are some wonderful highlights to enjoy, including the State Apartments, Throne Room, Palace Gardens, the Great Gallery – which was used as Bonnie Prince Charlie’s audience chamber – and Holyrood Abbey.

Kirsty, of the travel blog Lost in Landmarks, recommends the palace highly as a visitor attraction: “If you’re at all a fan of the British Royal family, royal history in the UK, Mary, Queen of Scots, or all three of them, then a trip to the Palace of Holyroodhouse is a must.”

Touching on the tour of the palace, Kirsty says: “There’s no rush to go around each room, which I found nice. I could go at my own pace and really take in all there was to see in the rooms.” 

The Royal Yacht Britannia

Accessibility at the Royal Yacht Britannia

  • Accessible toilets
  • Universal access
  • Wheelchair hire
  • On-site disabled parking
  • Free tickets for carers
  • Guide dogs welcome
  • Not suitable for Shopmobility electric wheelchairs
  • Ranked 4th in the most accessible attractions in the UK list.

Full information here.

What to expect at the attraction

One of the most popular attractions in the UK, the Royal Yacht Britannia was the yacht of choice for Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal Family for more than 40 years. This floating palace is berthed in Edinburgh and allows visitors to step aboard the famous ship, following in the footsteps of royalty. With five decks that include the elegant State Apartments, visitors can see where Prince William and Prince Harry spent their summers and where kings and queens dined.  

Braemar Gathering


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Accessibility at Braemar Gathering

  • Accessible toilets
  • Disabled parking in Aberdeen Car park
  • Guide dogs allowed
  • Shuttle bus from the main car park to Auchendryne Square
  • Level access to Games Centre
  • Level access to Princess Royal & Duke of Fife Memorial Park

Full information here.

What to expect at the attraction

Braemar Gathering in Aberdeenshire is a truly special royal attraction in Scotland where people have gathered for 900 years to acclaim their monarch as chieftain. Taking place on the first Saturday of September, Braemar Gathering is held at the Princess Royal and Duke of Fife Memorial Park, showcasing a number of entertaining events such as tug of war, pipe bands, heavy throwing events, and highland dancing. In its present form since 1832, the gathering is attended regularly by the reigning monarch (this includes Elizabeth II) and members of the Royal Family.

Speaking about her experience visiting, Susanne of the Scottish travel blog, Adventures Around Scotland, says: “this patch of greenery in the Scottish Highlands attracts a diverse international assembly, drawn together for a traditional gathering of competing, judging and spectating.”

Offering tips for visitors, Susanne advises: “Although this was my first visit to the Braemar Gathering, I've been to quite a few Highland Games before and find the best thing to do on arrival is to walk around the arena and get a feel for the layout.” 

Balmoral Castle


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Accessibility at Balmoral Castle

  • All facilities suitable for disabled access
  • Disabled parking facilities
  • Wheelchairs available for free
  • Mobility scooters available
  • Accessible toilets

Full information here.

What to expect at the attraction

Balmoral Castle is the official Scottish home of the Royal Family since 1852, when Prince Albert purchased it for Queen Victoria. A beautiful example of Scots Baronial architecture, stopping by for a visit when in Aberdeenshire is certainly a treat. Because the castle is Her Majesty The Queen’s private residence (she is, in fact, the owner), the Ballroom is the only room open to visitors within the castle. However, the lovely grounds, gardens, and exhibitions are available, providing the opportunity to walk in the very places that Her Majesty has been.

Speaking about her visit, Kathi, from the Scotland travel blog Watch Me See, says: “We arrived almost as the castle opened at 10am, which is something I can highly recommend if you wish for photo ops without flocks of tourists standing in your way.

“The estate is massive, and you could spend all day hiking and exploring. The Castle even offers safari tours to introduce you to the local wildlife.”

Summing up the joys of visiting Balmoral, Kathi muses: “No wonder, the Royal Family would still come here every summer!”

Edinburgh Castle


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Accessibility at Edinburgh Castle

  • Majority of buildings accessible for wheelchairs
  • Lift to Crown Jewels
  • Disabled toilets
  • Disabled parking
  • Mobility vehicle to Crown Square
  • Step-free access to the gift shop
  • Access to the Honours of Scotland is via a ramp and then a lift to the first floor
  • The Royal Palace and apartments have no wheelchair access

Full information here.

What to expect at the attraction

While Edinburgh Castle is not a current royal residence, it is still steeped in royal history and truly one of the most remarkable historic sites in Britain. Home to the Scottish Crown Jewels and many other royal artefacts, Edinburgh Castle has been besieged many times through history, acting as a vital stronghold in the Wars of Scottish Independence during the 14th century and the Jacobite Rising of 1745. The National War Museum, Royal Palace, and the Great Hall are just some of many highlights. 

Scotland’s royal attractions


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  • Palace of Holyroodhouse
  • The Royal Yacht Britannia
  • Braemar Gathering
  • Balmoral Castle
  • Edinburgh Castle

As you can see, there are some incredible royal attractions to visit in Scotland and many of them are very accessible for those with limited mobility. Make sure to visit some of the above if you have a love of the Royal Family and royal history.

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