Top accessible attractions in the UK
29th September 2014
Our guide to the best accessible attractions in the UK.
The UK is a country steeped in history and, as such, has a great portfolio of attractions for its many residents and visitors. While these are always interesting and make for a great day out with the whole family, they are not always 100 percent accessible, with many failing to provide disabled access for those with reduced mobility.
Fortunately, this is slowly being rectified with many of the UK’s top attractions improving their access to make them accessible to everyone. This guide looks to provide an overview of the UK’s top accessible attractions so that whether you are reliant on a stairlift at home or a wheelchair when you are out and about, you can still enjoy a fantastic cultural day out with your family or friends, wherever you are in the country.
Starting in the capital, it may be unsurprising that a few of the City’s museums have sufficient disabled access and features in place to make access for the elderly and mobility restricted easier, but the sheer number of museums and attractions that boast such qualities is reassuringly positive.
- Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace is considered as the nation’s most significant landmark and as such is one of the most accessible attractions in our list. With Her Royal Majesty the Queen being of a mature age herself, the working headquarters and London residence of the Monarchy stands as one of our country’s best-loved and most accessible attractions. To plan your visit, take a look at their accessibility information on The State Rooms at Buckingham Palace.
- The London Eye
The Natural History Museum has served as a fantastic London attraction for the whole family since its opening over 100 years ago. Today it is far more accessible for the mobility restricted visitor whilst retaining its family-friendly ethos. With further information on access to the museum entrances, getting around the institution and accessible travel on their Access Guide pages, it stands as one of the most accessible museums of its kind, as well as being interesting day out with its many permanent and changing temporary exhibitions.
- The V&A
Rounding off the London accessible attraction offering is the popular Victoria and Albert Museum. The V&A, as it is often known, has a whole range of exhibits, making it of interest for visitors of all ages. It has a variety of facilities that make visits for disabled and mobility restricted guests more enjoyable, find out more here.
For those outside of the capital there is still plenty of choice when it comes to an accessible day out.
- The Roman Baths
The Roman Baths, based in Bath, Somerset are not only a fantastic attraction where visitors can learn all about Roman engineering in complete comfort as they continue to improve access to their site.
‘We currently have wheelchair access to the most significant parts of the site, and 60% of the total. During winter of 2014 – 15 we shall install two further lifts, giving level access to at least 90% of the site by summer 2015.
We have installed handrails throughout the museum and seating in as many places as possible, to assist elderly and less mobile people in their visit.
We also have measures for hearing impaired people, both hearing aid users and British Sign Language users. We have a number of measures for visually impaired people, including tactile displays and audio description.’ – The Roman Baths
- The American Museum
A bit further afield in Wiltshire stands one of the country’s oldest and most mysterious attractions – Stonehenge. Managed by English Heritage, Stonehenge has become hugely successful as a tourist attraction and a popular day out in recent years. They have a fantastic section on their website on Access, with details specifically relevant to older visitors. Additionally, their new visitor centre and newly opened re-created Neolithic houses, which opened to the public in the summer of 2014, act as a great new way of really understanding what it would have been like for the ancient people who built this historic monument.
- Brunel’s ss Great Britain
Rounding off the South West is the fantastic Bristol-based attraction Brunel's ss Great Britain, which also won ‘Best Heritage Venue’ in the 2010 Rough Guide to Accessible Britain awards. Designed by the illustrious engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the site as a popular attraction is now equally well engineered to cater for those with restricted mobility. Visit their Access for All section for all of their disabled access information, which makes visiting this gigantic great ship the ss Great Britain possible for even the most mobility restricted.
- Drayton Manor
While theme parks may not be your first choice when it comes to an accessible day out, Staffordshire’s Drayton Manor makes for a fantastic attraction for the entire family, especially as a place to take the grandchildren with the multi-million Thomas Land attraction. As a member of Tourism for All UK, Drayton Manor theme park boasts some great disabled access facilities; see their Useful Info section for all of their access information.
- The York Dungeon
The York Dungeon is another fantastic attraction to which to take the grandchildren. Offering an 80-minute journey that will take you through 2000 years of York's dark history, it is also guided by a full cast of actors, with sights, smells and sounds to make you really feel a part of the experience.
While it is not one for those who are easily spooked, it is one that is loved by children and teenagers and is also extremely accessible for those not quite able to keep up with the youngsters. For full access information see the Facilities and Accessibility section of their website before your visit.
For those based a bit further north, Scotland also boasts some brilliant attractions that are equally accessible.
- The People’s Palace and Winter Gardens
The People’s Palace and Winter Gardens in Glasgow is just one of many great Glasgow museums, and with free entry on top of fantastic access that includes disabled parking and wheelchair access, it has been popular with the older visitor for quite some time. Visitors can find out more about how Glaswegians lived in the 18th, 19th and 20th century through the museum’s collection of historical artefacts, photographs, prints and film.
- CairnGorm Mountain
Finally, for those who enjoy more of a view, CairnGorm Mountain in Aviemore is not just for the young and active skiers; it also makes for a great day out for the older visitor. Also winning in the 2010 Rough Guide to Accessible Britain awards, in the ‘Best Active Venue’ category, its impressive Funicular Railway has carriages that are easy to navigate with plenty of room, making them rival the comfort of your leather rise and recliner at home! The mountain railway also featured on Disabled Holiday Info.; see their video below for a preview of what’s in store, but bear in mind, it’s not one for those afraid of heights!
Image Credits: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014 Andrew Holt, © Bath & North East Somerset Council, CairnGorm Mountain, © The Trustees of The Natural History Museum, London 2014. All Rights Reserved., Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014 Derry Moore, London Eye, © The Trustees of The Natural History Museum, London 2014. All Rights Reserved, © James Medcraft, © Bath & North East Somerset Council, English Heritage, Brunel’s ss Great Britain – David Norton, Glasgow Museums, CairnGorm Mountain
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