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Accessible summer days out in the UK

4th May 2018

A British summer can often be short. Lovely while it lasts, it can be hard to know what to do in that time. Especially for those who suffer from limited mobility and don’t want to waste time going to places that aren’t able to cater to their needs.

With as many as 10 million people in the UK struggling with mobility issues, many people require assistance and additional facilities like stairlifts in the UK. Knowing your summer day out is going to be fully accessible is key to having a truly enjoyable day where you can relax and not worry about anything. We have created the infographic below to find the most accessible summer days in out in the UK so you can let your hair down and enjoy the fleeting British summer. 

Accessible Sumemr days out in the UK

Gardens

 

Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh

The Royal Botanic Gardens (RBGE) in Edinburgh were originally opened in 1670 as a physic garden, which is essentially a garden created for developing medicinal herbs. Since then the RBGE has become a world-renowned centre for plant science, horticulture and education. The Royal Botanic Gardens are spread over four separate gardens (Edinburgh, Benmore, Dawyck and Logan) with Edinburgh being the biggest. 

Spread over 70 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds, you can weave through the garden in the summer sun. Take in the plants and bright, fresh colours as you enjoy your time here. The garden is home to the largest collection of wild-origin Chinese plants outside of China, making for a display not commonly seen in the UK.

Disabled Facilities and Access at The Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh

  • Wheelchair and mobility scooter friendly
  • Wheelchair and mobility scooter hire
  • Guide dog friendly
  • Disabled toilets available

Great accessibility feature - The Royal Botanic Gardens have made an extremely thorough access statement which is a comprehensive guide, including photographs, of the parks grounds and accessibility measures. It offers every insight needed to prospective visitors who are concerned about accessibility.

 

Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, London

Kew Royal Botanic Gardens are likely some of the most well known in the country. Just 30 minutes from Central London, Kew takes you from the city into a world of nature and botany you can completely immerse yourself in. 

Head up to the Treetop Walkway a whole 18 metres above the woodland floor and take in the ultimate view of the Gardens. Enter ‘The Hive’ and engage with the multi-sensory exhibit designed to give visitors and insight into the life of bees. With many more interesting exhibits including the Marianne North Gallery and the Prince of Wales Conservatory this short trip from the city will bring you as close to nature as you can possibly get. 

We spoke to the team at Kew, who told us a bit more about the history of the gardens: “Kew is London's largest UNESCO World Heritage site offering unique landscapes, vistas and iconic architecture from every stage of the gardens' history. Our collection of living plants is the largest and most diverse in the world, growing out in the landscape and within our glasshouses and nurseries. The Victorian Palm House is one of Kew’s most recognisable buildings. Inside, the rainforest climate supports a unique collection of palms and other tropical species from some of the most threatened environments on Earth.

“It is so important that the gardens are accessible to all as we want everyone to have an enjoyable time at Kew. As such, we aim to provide the best possible access throughout the Gardens, our glasshouses and galleries.” As well as saying this, the team listed some of their most notable accessibility features:

  •  “The gardens are largely flat, with tarmac paths in most places. All the cafés and shops have level or ramped access.
  • We have wheelchairs and 8 mobility scooters available for visitors to borrow at the gate.
  • We offer a number of tours and walks for visitors with sensory loss or limited mobility such as our Discovery Bus Tour (mini bus tours around the gardens) and Walking Tour for visitors with limited mobility.
  • There are unisex accessible toilets within easy reach of all the main attractions, cafés and gates.”

Disabled Facilities and Access at Kew Gardens, London

  • Wheelchair and mobility scooter friendly
  • Wheelchair and mobility scooter hire
  • Guide dog friendly
  • Disabled toilets available

Great accessibility feature- Kew’s Community and Access Programme means they offer a number of tours and walks for visitors with sensory loss or limited mobility including BSL walking tours, health walks for visitors living with dementia and discovery bus and walking tours. For full details see their Community and Access Programmes.  

Read Kew’s disability and access guide for specific details on community access programmes, mobility scooter hire and getting around the park.

 

National Botanic Garden of Wales, Carmarthenshire

As the most visited garden in Wales, National Botanic Garden of Wales has laid down the groundwork for a fantastic day out and experience for all of its visitors. The large, beautiful garden makes use of the outstanding Welsh countryside, with the recognisable domed greenhouse literally emerging from the hillside. 

As well as over 8,000 different plant varieties the gardens have a vast range of wildlife, including over 100 types of butterflies and moths. There are also frogs, toads, news, common lizards, grass snakes, slow worms and mammals including dormice and otters.  

Disabled Facilities and Access at the National Botanic Garden of Wales, Carmarthenshire

  • Wheelchair and mobility scooter friendly
  • Wheelchair and mobility scooter hire
  • Guide dog friendly
  • Disabled toilets available

Great accessibility feature - There is a regular shuttle buggy service that runs throughout the park able to take you to most parts of the garden and return you to the gatehouse. The buggy drivers are happy to answer any questions you may have about your visit as well.

Take a look at the National Botanic Garden of Wales’ accessibility page for more information including contact information.

 

Eden Project, Cornwall

The Eden Project is one of the UK’s most identifiable buildings, and the pride of Cornwall. The perfect place for a summer getaway, and a great place to experience flora and fauna from all over the world in a unique environment. 

The iconic domes are built in a past quarry which makes for a beautiful location, and as you weave through the different zones you experience different climates from around the world, and the plant varieties native to those climates.

Disabled Facilities and Access at The Eden Project, Cornwall

  • Wheelchair and mobility scooter friendly
  • Wheelchair and mobility scooter hire
  • Guide dog friendly
  • Disabled toilets available

Great accessibility feature - The Eden Project offers a scheme for those with mobility or sensory impairments. They have a trained team of volunteers who are happy to assist visitors around the project for no extra cost. If you have your own personal assistant, they can also get in for free.

For full details see their accessibility guide, including the contact information to request an access volunteer.

 

Historic

 

Caernarfon Castle, Wales

Caernarfon Castle in North Wales is a unique medieval castle, and popular spot for history lovers. Surrounded by the beautiful North Wales countryside, the castle overlooks the water and is a stunning feature of Caernarfon. 

Interestingly, Caernarfon is not like other towers. Most castles have circular towers but Caernarfon has polygonal towers, making it unique. This, along with the varying brick work and stunningly preserved interior, make it a great place to explore the warrens of a traditional Edward I castle.

Disabled Facilities and Access at Caernarfon Castle, North Wales

  • Wheelchair and mobility scooter friendly
  • Wheelchair and mobility scooter rental
  • Guide dog friendly

 

Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle looks over the city from the hilltop and is a popular destination for anyone visiting Edinburgh. You can look out over the beautiful city and also experience a lot of the city’s history within the walls. 

You will even be able to experience the Scottish crown jewels, first used together for the coronation of Mary Queen of Scots in 1543. After the treaty of union between England and Scotland they were locked away in 1707, only to be discovered again in 1818, along with a mysterious silver wand. 

We spoke to the team at Edinburgh Castle, who told us a bit more about its history: “Edinburgh Castle’s history goes back 1,000 years. For centuries, Castle Rock - the extinct volcano it sits atop - had been used as a military base and royal residence. It wasn’t until the 12th century that the edifice we now know as Edinburgh Castle began to take shape with the addition of St Margaret’s Chapel - Edinburgh’s oldest building - around 1130.

“The castle has witnessed many of the defining events in Scotland’s history: sieges were fought here (it has been besieged more than any other castle in the UK); royalty lived and died within its walls; and pirates, witches and prisoners of war have all been held captive in the castle’s prison.”

They spoke to us about why it is important to them that the attraction is accessible: “Historic Environment Scotland is committed to developing and promoting inclusive access to our properties, while being sensitive to our special historic environments.

“As one of the top visitor attractions in Scotland, Edinburgh Castle promotes access for all visitors. We are committed to ensuring that people with disabilities or limited mobility are able to enjoy and engage with the services and stories the castle has to offer.”

Finally, the team gave us some detail on the areas of the castle that have been made accessible: “Despite being a historic fort at the top of a steep and cobbled slope, Edinburgh Castle offers good access either by ramp or short flights of steps with handrails to many of its major sights, including:

  • Crown Square - the highest point in the castle which allows ramp access to the Scottish National War Memorial; a short flight of steps to the Great Hall; lift access to view the Crown Jewels and a braille section prior to entering the Jewel Room for the visually impaired.
  • St Margaret's Chapel and viewpoint, with the historic ‘Mons Meg’ cannon within reach.
  • Museums on premises, including: The National War Museum of Scotland; The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Museum; and Museum of The Royal Scots and The Royal Regiment of Scotland.”

Disabled Facilities and Access at Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

  • Wheelchair and mobility scooter friendly
  • Wheelchair rental
  • Guide dog friendly
  • Disabled toilets available

Great accessibility feature - If the steep slopes surrounding the castle are not manageable for you Edinburgh Castle offers a mobility vehicle to take visitors from the castles entrance (the esplanade) to the Castle's highest point (Crown Square.). Check avaliablity before arrival. 

For more information you can visit the access for all page on their website, which includes a full list of the rooms that are accessible. 

 

Buckingham Palace, London

You cannot get closer to royalty than Buckingham Palace. Home of the Queen, and monarchs before her and iconic symbol of Britain, Buckingham Palace is a fantastic day out for anyone interested in learning more about our monarchy.

Journey through The State Rooms and explore the home of royalty. See the throne room, the backdrop for royal wedding photos. Visit the ballroom and see where the Queen entertains her guests.

We spoke to the team at The Royal Collection Trust, who told us a bit more about the history of the Staterooms at Buckingham Palace: “The history of the site where Buckingham Palace stands can be traced back to the reign of James I in the early 17th century. George III acquired the site in 1761 as a private residence for his wife Queen Charlotte. When George III’s son, George IV acceded to the throne in 1820, he wanted Buckingham House to be transformed into a palace. Queen Victoria was the first Sovereign to live in the Palace, when she moved in 1837. Today Buckingham Palace is the working headquarters of the Monarchy where the Queen carries out her official and ceremonial duties as Head of State of the United Kingdom and Head of the Commonwealth.”

They also told us why it is so important to them that the Staterooms are as accessible as possible: “Royal Collection Trust welcomes visitors with different access requirements and our charitable aims dictate that the Royal Collection is presented and interpreted so as to enhance public appreciation and understanding; and access to the Royal Collection is broadened and increased (subject to capacity constraints) to ensure that as many people as possible are able to view the collection.”

Disabled Facilities and Access at The Staterooms, Buckingham Palace, London

  • Wheelchair and mobility scooter friendly
  • Wheelchair and rollator rental
  • Guide dog friendly
  • Disabled toilets available

Great accessibility feature - As well as being able to use your own wheelchair or mobility scooter and hire a wheelchair you can also borrow a rollator to help you get around. The wheeled walkers are free to borrow and have to be pre-booked.

For more detailed mobility access you can read their mobility access guide, they also have a deaf or hard of hearing guide, blind or partially sighted guide and visitors on the autism spectrum guide.

 

Stonehenge, Somerset

As one of the most historic places in Britain, many people make the pilgrimage to Stonehenge to experience the unexplained and fantastic. The unusual stone circle defies all odds, and to this day no one knowns how it was built. 

As one of the wonders of the world and the best known-prehistoric monument in Europe Stonehenge is a must see for anyone. Learn about prehistoric man here and the Neolithic period, as well as exploring the visitor centre with 250 ancient artefacts.

Disabled Facilities and Access at Stonehenge, Somerset

  • Wheelchair and mobility scooter friendly
  • Wheelchair rental
  • Guide dog friendly
  • Disabled toilets available

Great accessibility feature - The team at English Heritage have created a disabled visitors video, showing you what you can expect and experience before visiting if you have limited mobility. A great way to put cautious minds at ease before you even arrive. Read more detailed information on their access page.

 

Seaside

 

Brighton Palace Pier, Brighton

As one of Britain’s’ most iconic beach destinations, Brighton Palace Pier is on many people’s holiday wish lists. The attractions and arcades along the pier can keep you entertained for days, or you can sit back and enjoy the tourists revelling in this beautiful British seaside city.

Filled from end to end with rides, attractions stores and traditional seaside food all of your senses will be engaged. Have some fresh doughnuts, go to the palace of fun and play on the arcade games or have a drink at one of the bars. 

We spoke to the team at Brighton Palace Pier, who told us a bit more about the history of the pier: “Brighton Marine Palace & pier opened in 1899 and on opening night 3,000 light bulbs illuminated the pier. We’ve always had exciting rides on the pier, since 1932. There are now over 60,000 light bulbs (don’t worry, they are energy saving!) illuminating Brighton Palace Pier each night.”

The team told us why it is important to them that the pier is as accessible as possible: “It is really important that our attraction is accessible to everyone so that all of the public can enjoy the great benefits and fun of Brighton Palace Pier. We take responsibility to all of our customers extremely seriously.”

They also told us some of the measures they have take to make sure it is accessible for those with limited mobility and special needs: “The decking on the walkway has been specially augmented for wheelchair access, all facilities are on one level and all staff are trained on disability awareness. The arcades, restaurants and bars are all wheelchair accessible. We have disabled toilets on both ends on the pier that are also wheelchair accessible.”

Disabled Facilities and Access at Brighton Palace Pier, Brighton

  • Wheelchair and mobility scooter friendly
  • Guide dog friendly
  • Disabled toilets available

 

Blackpool Tower, Blackpool

For the traditional northerner’s seaside retreat, you need look no further than Blackpool. Especially, the Blackpool Tower. Full of great attractions for all of the family, and one of the best views in Britain, the Blackpool Tower is a must see for anyone seeking some seaside fun. 

Go in to the gruesome Blackpool Tower Dungeon, watch a show in the Blackpool Tower Ballroom and experience the glass bottomed Blackpool Tower Eye. You can spend your whole holiday just exploring the many attractions in the tower!

Disabled Facilities and Access at Blackpool Tower, Blackpool

  • Wheelchair friendly
  • Wheelchair rental
  • Guide dog friendly
  • Disabled toilets available

For more information you can look at the Blackpool Tower accessibility statement.

 

Bournemouth Beach, Bournemouth

The gorgeous Bournemouth coastline may have you thinking you have left the country thanks to having some to the UK’s nicest weather. Always brimming with frenetic energy, this city is filled with families, students and holiday makers who all love Bournemouth. 

After a day on the sand, you can eat out at one of the seafront restaurants and take in the views over the beautiful beach whilst the sun sets. A lovely placed for a relaxed day trip, or a dreamy getaway in the sun.

Disabled Facilities and Access at Bournemouth Beach, Bournemouth

  • Wheelchair and mobility scooter friendly
  • Sand chair rental
  • Guide dog friendly
  • Disabled toilets available

Great accessibility feature - Sand chairs are available to rent at Bournemouth Beach. These wheelchairs have large balloon like wheels which make them easier to push on the soft sand.

For full accessibility details for all of Bournemouth you can have a look at the Bournemouth accessibility guide.

 

Great Yarmouth, Norfolk

The 15 miles of sandy beaches that stretch along the Great Yarmouth coastline are an ideal place to soak up some sunshine. On the most easterly point of the country, these beach is the perfect resort town, with ample attractions and amusements. 

As well as the soft sand, the Wellington Pier is open all year round with amusements, arcades and bowling at the end of the pier. A lovely place to enjoy some nostalgia by the seaside. 

Disabled Facilities and Accessibility at Greater Yarmouth, Norfolk

  • Wheelchair and mobility scooter friendly
  • Sand chair rental
  • Guide dog friendly
  • Disabled toilets available

Great accessibility feature - Sand chairs are available to rent at Great Yarmouth These wheelchairs have large balloon like wheels which make them easier to push on the soft sand.

 

Nature & Wildlife

 

Paradise Wildlife Park, Hertfordshire

Paradise Wildlife Park is a great place to head to the zoo for the day if you have limited mobility. The park is set in a landscaped garden with tarmacked walkways, perfect for wheelchairs. 

The park is a great family day out, and even have one of the world’s biggest dinosaur exhibits, with over 30 moving dinosaurs, perfect for the Indiana Jones in your life! As well as that the park is home to many brilliant animals, and if you are a big cat lover your appetite will be sufficed with tigers, snow leopards, jaguars, white lions, cheetahs, ocelots and white tigers!

Disabled Facilities and Access at Paradise Wildlife Park, Hertfordshire

  • Wheelchair and mobility scooter friendly
  • Wheelchair and rental
  • Disabled toilets available

Great accessibility feature - Many of the experiences you can buy at the park are wheelchair accessible. So, if it is your dream to feed a lemur, Paradise Wildlife Park is the perfect place for you.

 

Severn Valley Railway, Kidderminster

The Severn Valley Railway glides through the Midlands, and some of the UK’s best scenery. Enjoy the rolling hills and winding rivers from the comfort of your carriage as you journey through the country. 

Coast through the countryside on this steam engine powered train and keep an eye out for wildlife on the way. Not only is this a lovely way to travel from place to place, it is an activity all of its own for travel and train lovers!

Disabled Facilities and Access at Severn Valley Railway, Kidderminster

  • Wheelchair and mobility scooter friendly
  • Guide dog friendly
  • Disabled toilets available

For more detailed information you can visit their access page, including detailed access statements for all of the stations along the route. 

 

Voyages of Discovery, St. Davids

Often, taking to the seas when you struggle from poor mobility can be a hassle. Especially those looking to journey on smaller sailing boats to experience wildlife close up. Voyages of Discovery have overcome this with their wheelchair friendly boat, allowing visitors with limited mobility to be able to experience some of the best sea life around Britain’s coast. 

Journey out around Ramsey Island and you can see whales, dolphins, seabirds and puffins, all from the safety of the boat. The team at Voyages of Discovery are proud of their custom-built vessel, and the one and a half hour trip is perfect for anyone who loves sea life.

Disabled Facilities and Access at Voyages of Discovery, St. Davids

  • Wheelchair friendly

Great accessibility feature - Their one-of-a-kind vessel has been created for them, so they can run their own wheelchair friendly tours. Read more about their custom-built vessel on their disabled access page.

 

National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth

If staying on dry land is more your thing, but you are interested in under water creatures you can go to the UK’s largest aquarium in Plymouth. The National Marine Aquarium is home to everything from octopi to sharks. 

The large aquarium is a great place for a family day out, and fully equipped for people with mobility issues. It’s also a great place to learn more about what lives in our oceans.

Disabled Facilities and Access at the National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth

  • Wheelchair and mobility scooter friendly
  • Wheelchair hire
  • Guide dog friendly
  • Disabled toilets available

To find out more you can read the National Marine Aquariums accessibility statement.

 

Image credits: Royal Collection Trust/ © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018, RBG Kew, Hugo Michiels, © HES.

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