The most accessible cities in the UK
14th April 2023
The accessibility of the UK’s various cities can always be improved. An estimated 14.6 million people in the UK have a disability, which is about 22% of the entire population, according to the latest data on the UK Parliament website. So, making sure that those with disabilities are respected, included, and catered for should be a high priority.
To determine which city is doing the most for those with access needs like stair lift users, this study has compared all of the UK’s cities, ranking them based on different accessibility factors. From London to St Davids, discover the most accessible cities in the UK.
- Wells is the most accessible city in the UK
- Bradford is the least accessible city in the UK
- England has seven of the 10 most accessible cities, Scotland has two, and Northern Ireland has one
- London is in the bottom five least accessible cities in the UK
Which UK city is the most accessible?
The sheer number of accessible hotels, attractions, and restaurants in massive cities like London looks excellent on paper; however, when you compare these numbers to the size of a city’s population, they’re not as impressive as what far smaller cities manage to achieve. Take a closer look at the top five accessible cities below.
Wells is a Cathedral city located on the southern edge of the Mendip Hills, and it has been crowned the most accessible city in the UK. Despite being one of the UK’s smallest cities, Wells gained the top spot as it boasts one of the best proportions of accessible attractions (32 in total) and accessible parking locations (four in total) compared to the size of its population. There are also 19 accessible restaurants and three accessible hotels in the city – making it a great destination for visitors who struggle with mobility.
Chichester in West Sussex has claimed the title of the second most accessible city in the UK. With 92 accessible restaurants, nine accessible hotels, and 13 disabled public toilets, Chichester does a lot for its small population. Chichester only missed out on the top spot by one point, with Wells claiming the title because it has a better proportion of accessible attractions and parking spots compared to the size of its population.
Ely is one of the smaller cities in the UK, and although it is home to many historic attractions and monastic buildings that you might think are not suited to those with mobility problems, it is in the top three most accessible UK cities. Ely has 12 accessible parking locations, which is the best proportion of parking locations based on percentage of population, while it also finished in the top five cities in the UK for the proportion of accessible toilets and accessible attractions/activities. Ely missed out on the top prize as Wells and Chichester offer more accessible restaurants and hotels compared to the size of their populations.
The Cornish city of Truro does its county proud, finishing as the fourth most accessible city in the UK. Its most impressive categories were accessible hotels and accessible toilets, boasting top-five finishes in both. Truro’s proportion of disabled parking locations compared to the size of its population was the main reason that Ely pipped it to third place. While every city can do more for its disabled population, Truro is doing better than most for 18,000 plus inhabitants.
Bath is a UNESCO World Heritage site with roots that date back to Roman times, but despite its age, it is the second city in Somerset to feature in the top five most accessible cities in the UK. With a population of more than 80,000, it is the largest city to feature in the top five and its most impressive categories for accessibility were the number of accessible toilets, accessible parking locations, and the accessible accommodation available.
Which country in the UK has the most accessible cities?
When looking at the average accessibility score for each country in the UK, Northern Ireland comes out on top and can claim to have cities which are more accessible than England, Scotland, and Wales on average.
You can see the full breakdown by country below (the higher the accessibility score, the better).
England’s average accessibility score: 185
England’s most accessible city: Wells
Scotland’s average accessibility score: 211
Scotland’s most accessible city: Stirling
Wales average accessibility score: 164
Wales’s most accessible city: St Davids
Northern Ireland’s average accessibility score: 223
Northern Ireland’s most accessible city: Bangor
Which UK cities are the least accessible?
Bradford was ranked the least accessible city in the UK as it has the fewest number of accessible restaurants and parking locations as a proportion of its population in the entire study. Sunderland in the North East of England ranked as the second least accessible city in the UK, performing poorly for accessible accommodation and accessible parking locations.
Wakefield in West Yorkshire came in the bottom three for accessible restaurants, accommodation, and parking locations, which made it rank in the bottom three overall. The two largest cities in the UK (London and Birmingham) were ranked in the bottom five for accessibility in the UK. Birmingham ranked poorly for its proportion of accessible attractions/activities and restaurants. London came in the bottom five least accessible cities in the UK as it ranked the worst for the number of accessible attractions and activities in the UK based on a percentage relative to its population.
To determine the rankings, points were awarded to every city in the UK (including London as one city) depending on where they ranked within various accessibility metrics. An overall score was then created to determine the most accessible city. The categories the study looked at were:
- Number of accessible restaurants (source)
- Number of accessible hotels (source)
- Number of accessible attractions/activities (source)
- Number of accessible parking locations (source)
- Number of accessible toilets (source)
For all the individual data points, we ranked the cities based on a percentage of their population*. For example, Manchester has a population of 503,127 and 505 accessible restaurants; therefore, it has 0.10037% accessible restaurants as a proportion of its population.
Points were given for each ranking factor, allowing the cities to be ranked from 1st to 75th.
*This decision was made because while massive cities like London have a lot of hotels, restaurants, attractions etc., what matters is how well these offerings cater to the size of a city’s population.
You can see the complete rankings of each city below and access the full raw working data here.
This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.