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Great accessible UK weekend breaks: York

18th April 2018

York is a city with Roman roots, a Viking past and unsurprisingly visitors to the city can see the mix of its contemporary shops and its rich history with attractions like its ancient walls.

Despite dating back to Roman times, York is a really accessible city and visitors who suffer from mobility issues and need to use stairlifts don’t need to worry about getting around as there are lots of accessible attractions.

Read on to find out more about the different accessible attractions, restaurants and tours vistitors can enjoy during a weekend breakaway in the city, which is perfectly located in between London and Edinburgh.

Best accessible attractions to visit

There are lots of attractions to visit in York and here are some of the most accessible attractions visitors just can’t miss during a visit to the city.

Jorvik Viking Centre



Having reopened in April 2017 following a multi-million pound renovation, visitors can once again learn about York’s fascinating history and explore the lives of the people who made York their home over 1,000 years ago,

The Jorvik Viking Centre has a new accessible ride experience that allows visitors with mobility issues and wheelchair users to experience the sights, sounds and of course, smells, of the Viking-Age and cutting-edge technology bringing the Viking period to life. The new interactive ride has one capsule that is fitted with a modified space for wheelchair users. Other visitors with mobility problems can use the lift to travel between the museum and the shop, while the toilets are all accessible.

The Jorvik Viking Centre is also able to support visitors with guide and assistance dogs, visitors with autism, visitors who are blind or have visual impairments, visitors who are deaf or have hearing impairments.

Talking about the accessibility of the attraction, a spokesperson for Jorvik Viking Centre, says, “The JORVIK Group’s access mission statement is to deliver a welcoming and enjoyable environment at all of our attractions in order to enhance facilities and information for all visitors and staff through the provision of training, resources and facilities.”

Yorkshire Museum

The Yorkshire Museum was opened in 1830 by the Yorkshire Philosophical Society and was one of the first purpose-built museums in the country.

Today the museum houses five galleries showcasing some of Britain’s finest treasures in exciting displays from Romans to Vikings to the dinosaurs and sea dragons of Jurassic Yorkshire. The museum should be one of the first places to visit as people can get a better understanding of why the city was built and how it became Capital of the North for a thousand years.

The Yorkshire Museum is also really accessible for older people with mobility problems. The museum says, “The museum has a lift to all floors, with just the library not accessible to wheelchairs. A manual wheelchair can be borrowed and mobility scooters and guide dogs are permitted.

“We are a dementia friendly museum, our staff are trained to work with blind and partially sighted people and have attended disability awareness training. Hands On Here stations run by volunteers allow visitors to touch artefacts.

“The museum holds Relaxed Openings, designed for those who would prefer a quieter visit. There is a Visual Story, to allow people to experience the museum before they visit, downloadable from the website.”

Recently Sir David Attenborough opened the museums new exhibition, Yorkshire’s Jurassic World where visitors can journey back through 150 million years of Yorkshire to discover lost giants and the changing worlds they inhabited. People can meet the dinosaurs and sea monsters that once roamed the world.

The National Railway Museum

The National Railway Museum is another must-visit attraction for people on a weekend break in York.

The greatest railway museum in the world is home to more than 300 years of history and over a million railway artefacts such as iconic locomotives.

Some of the popular attractions include the Chinese Locomotive (the largest locomotive in its collection), the only Japanese Bullet Train outside of the country and a collection of Royal trains.

The museum has accessible parking available outside its City Entrance, while wheelchairs are available to use for people with mobility issues. There is also a lift for public use and visitors can access the museum via the lift.

Best restaurants in York

York is a great destination for foodies and those looking for great culinary experiences as there’s lots of great restaurants for people to eat at. People should feast their eyes on some of the best and most accessible eateries in the city.

Cosy Club

From a lazy breakfast to evening cocktails, or a light lunch to a hefty burger, Cosy Club York has all bases covered.

There are plenty of flavours to enjoy at Cosy Club as they serve luxury comfort food, tongue in cheek classics and other favourite dishes from across the globe.

Cosy Club is accessible and a spokesperson for Cosy Club York explains why the popular restaurant is so accessible to those with mobility problems.

“We have a ramp for the entrance step (ask a member of staff on arrival or make arrangements when you book). Our ground floor is then fully accessible, bar and restaurant, all on same level with no steps. We have a ground floor accessible toilet with baby changing facilities and a set of table risers if these are required for wheelchair users, simply ask a manager for use.”

Melton’s Restaurant



Melton's Restaurant is a small restaurant offering fine dining and good wines in an informal atmosphere.

Melton’s serves modern British food and over the years has become one of York’s leading restaurants, winning two “AA” rosettes and has a rating of five in the Good Food Guide.

Some of the main meals that diners can enjoy include guinea fowl breast with hazelnut and truffle pesto, rare breed beef rump and short rib as well as tarragon gnocchi.

Talking about the accessibility of the restaurant, a spokesperson for Melton’s Restaurant, adds, “Melton's has one step up from the pavement but toilets are downstairs or upstairs. We get a lot of older customers and our lunch and early dinner sittings usually suit them.”

No. 88 Walmgate Restaurant

The No. 88 Walmgate Restaurant at Indigo York Hotel offers a tasty selection of dishes that all come served with a dash of warm Yorkshire hospitality.

All the food is made using fresh local ingredients so foodies can tuck into their fish, meat or veggie dishes safe in the knowledge that the produce has been sourced in Yorkshire.

On the menu there is Cajun chicken and Harrogate Blue burger or tasty Herb Gnocchi, while fish lovers can enjoy the 88 Walmgate Fish and Chips.

The restaurant is easily accessible for older people with mobility problems as the restaurant is flat and spacious allowing diners with sticks and in wheelchairs lots of room to manoeuvre.

Best accessible tours to go on

Getting around York to see all the sights as part of a tour is easier than many people think as there are lots of accessible tours available in York and here are some of the best ones on offer to visitors.

City Cruises York

A unique way to see the city of York is to go on an excursion with City Cruises York, who offer sightseeing tours along the River Ouse.

The sightseeing company is Yorkshire’s largest river cruise operator and they have a range of trips to suit everyone, including daytime sightseeing cruises, evening cruises and package cruises to name a few.

The passenger's vessels are most suitable for wheelchair users and those with restricted mobility. The ships boast heated saloons on the lower deck and an open upper deck where furniture on both decks can be rearranged to accommodate people with mobility issues. The River Duchess vessel also has accessible toilets.

The cruises are informative and entertaining as visitors can escape the city rush and enjoy York from a unique perspective. The 45-minute cruises will usually operate a route heading upstream to Clifton Bridge on the northern outskirts of the city and then downstream as far as the Millennium Bridge.

Cruisers can see lots of York’s iconic attractions and those who want to go on a cruise around York, the departure points in the city are King's Staith Landing and Lendal Bridge Landing. Kings Staith landing is considered the best landing for those with reduced mobility.

City Sightseeing York

Another really accessible tour that those with mobility problems can enjoy is the City Sightseeing hop-on, hop-off bus.

By choosing to go on this tour visitors can pick from 20 of the finest attractions and decide which ones they would like to spend some time at, whilst also learning about the English heritage in more depth via audio commentary.

City Sightseeing allows visitors to create their own itinerary to explore York as there is no limit on the number of times people can hop on or off the bus.

It makes it a lot easier for those with mobility problems to get around and see all the different attractions that the ancient city has to offer.

York Walk

Older people with mobility problems can still enjoy a walking tour with York Walk as the tour company welcomes people with disabilities on all walks.

A lot of the walks that are available are also fully wheelchair accessible and the ones that those with mobility problems may struggle with can be adapted to suit a customer’s needs.

The Essential York walk is an introduction to the city and it will take visitors to the best historic streets and ‘Snickelways’ as well as the city walks, which boast some of the best views over the city.

Another walk that is really suitable for those with mobility problems is Secret York and during this tour, people can discover another side of York as the guide takes people to hidden ancient building that people would otherwise not discover.

Other activities

Head to one of the world’s most magnificent cathedrals

York Minster is one of the world’s most impressive cathedrals and it boasts a masterpiece in stained glass and stone architecture.

Visitors can discover over 2,000 years of history by going on tours of the minster and seeing historic artefacts.

Despite the age of the minster it is accessible with ramped access or stepped access with handrails leading to the entrance, while the main features of the minster can be accessed via ramps or lifts. The Tower, however, is not accessible.

All the staff and volunteers at York Minster have received disability access awareness training, which has equipped them to support blind and visually impaired visitors, deaf and hearing impaired visitors, people living with dementia and, in partnership with Autism Plus, people on the autistic spectrum. They can also help people with mobility problems get around.

Explore Castle Howard

Castle Howard is one of the UK’s finest houses and gardens and its 18th-century residence and 1,000 acres of ground are certainly worth a visit.

World-class works of art, stunning architecture and beautiful grounds that include lakes, fountains, temples and woodland.

The castle is accessible to everyone as free parking is available to all visitors and Blue Badge holders can park at the front of the car park.

The house has a stairlift so visitors with mobility problems can access the main floor and the majority of the rooms and the Kelley Car Land Train allows visitors who are unable to walk long distances the chance to see some of the castle grounds.

Image Credit: Anthony Chappel Ross, Tony Worrall Photography, Moomusician.

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