The UK is full of many world-famous attractions. But for people with limited mobility or accessibility needs, finding access to ramps, lifts, toilets, and other requirements are areas of huge consideration before taking a trip anywhere.
With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of 11 disability-friendly attractions to visit in the UK where accessibility has been prioritised. Covering castles and gardens, to beaches, theatres, and safari parks, hopefully there’s something to spark everyone’s interest.
1. The Eden Project, Cornwall
Formally a barren landscape, the Eden Project in Cornwall is now the world’s largest indoor rainforest. Here, visitors can experience the rainforest environments found in Southeast Asia, West Africa, and Tropical South America. The Mediterranean Biome is also full of rare and exotic plants, and the Project hosts a range of fun events to get involved with.
Having won multiple awards for its inclusivity and accessibility, The Eden Project offers manual and powered wheelchairs available for free – as well as accessible parking and toilet facilities, and free admission for companions and carers.
Assistance dogs are also welcome at the Eden Project and water is available for them throughout the site. There’s also a hearing loop system, audio tours, and Braille guide books. Wheelchair users can also enjoy the full experience of a tropical climate in the disability-friendly Rainforest Canopy Walk.
For more information about facilities and access, have a read of the Eden Project’s Accessibility Guide.
2. Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh
A trip to the Royal Botanic Garden is a must when visiting Scotland. Here, visitors can discover a collection of breathtaking plants from around the world and learn about history dating back nearly 350 years to the 17th century.
Set amongst 70 acres of beautiful landscape, highlights of the Royal Botanic Garden include the Alpine Houses, the Chinese Hillside, Woodland Garden, and the Scottish Native Plants Collection in the Heath Garden.
Plus, just one mile north of Edinburgh city centre, the Garden also offers impressive views of the capital’s skyline. As you can see from this collection of pictures throughout the seasons on the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh website, it really is breathtaking all year round.
Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Gardens aim to provide the best possible access for all visitors, so that everyone can make the most of their visit. Entry to the garden is free and throughout the site are places to sit down in the shade, as well as water assistance checkpoints for those with guide dogs.
For anyone with mobility issues, there are also scooters and wheelchairs available to borrow for free and accessible toilets are dotted throughout the gardens, visitor centre, and restaurants. The Garden also offers British Sign Language (BSL) seasonal tours.
You can read all about this and more on the access section of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.
3. Life Science Centre, Newcastle
The Life Science Centre in Newcastle is a registered charity centre where work is done to promote the advancement of life sciences. With so much to do, it’s the perfect destination for a fun, yet educational day out for anyone who loves science.
Highlights include live science performances, displays in the North of England’s biggest planetarium, and the ‘Gaia’ – a mesmerising, seven-metre diameter recreation of Planet Earth.
The venue is wheelchair accessible, and the building’s layout and various lifts to different floors make general access simple and easy too. Companions and carers can enter the centre for free, and hearing loops and printed guides are also available for people with visual and hearing disabilities.
For more information regarding accessibility at the centre, you can visit the Life Science Centre website, or have a watch of the video below.
4. The British Museum, London
The British Museum is one of the UK’s top attractions, where visitors can spend an entire day exploring ancient Greece, Egypt, the Americas, the Middle East, and beyond.
The museum has also been made very disability-friendly. The main entrance features a self-operable wheelchair lift. Concessions for paid exhibitions are also available for disabled visitors, and companions and carers can enter the museum for free.
The British Museum hosts handling exhibits and touch tours for those with visual or hearing impairments, as well as large-print guides and magnifying aids. British Sign Language (BSL) guides, audio descriptive guides, and large print guides are also available.
You can find more information about accessibility – including seating, induction loops, and quieter areas within the museum – on the British Museum website.
5. Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
With a long history as a royal home, military stronghold, prison, and fortress, Edinburgh Castle is one of Europe’s oldest fortified sites. Today, the castle is home to the Scottish ‘honours’ – the oldest Royal Regalia in Britain – which were used for the coronations of monarchs including Mary Queen of Scots and her grandson Charles I.
It can be fairly tricky to make such a historically inaccessible building accessible today. But with tactile replicas of the Crown Jewels, large print and audio guides, ramps, and visual stories available for autistic visitors, the staff at Edinburgh Castle have worked hard to make the castle a site for everyone to enjoy.
To read about someone’s first-hand experience, this review was left by a wheelchair user who said that the accessibility at Edinburgh exceeded his expectations. You can also read Edinburgh Castle’s Access Guide for more information.
However, despite the castle access, it should be noted that Edinburgh city is hilly by nature and features various cobblestone streets which may be problematic for some.
If you’d like to visit a different castle, why not consider one of these top six accessible castles in Britain from Euan’s Guide? From Leeds and Hever Castle in Kent, to Alnwick and Urquhart Castle in the North, hopefully there’s something for everyone.
6. The Chill Factore, Manchester
Winter sports like snowboarding and skiing might not sound very accessible, but the Chill Factore in Manchester is set to change that.
Welcoming visitors of all ages and abilities, the Chill Factore works alongside Disability Snowsport UK to open the way for people with disabilities to enjoy the thrill of winter sports.
By using adaptive equipment, and specialist instruction and support, Chill Factore is able to cater to all types of disability – including physical, sensory, learning, and even those with very limited mobility.
For more information on what to expect and how to book, visit the Chill Factore website.
7. Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland
The Giant’s Causeway in Portrush is a collection of 50,000 natural steps that lead to the sea, and is Northern Ireland’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Immersed in myth and legend, Giant’s Causeway was formed between 50 and 60 million years ago in the aftermath of volcanic eruptions as the molten rocks burned and cooled as they reached the sea. Highlights of the site include the Giant’s Boot, Grand Causeway, and the Wishing Chair (a natural throne formed by a perfectly arranged set of columns).
Now part of the National Trust, Giant’s Causeway has been made wheelchair accessible so that more people are able to enjoy the wonders of this natural beauty.
Accessible toilet facilities are available on site, as well as ramps at the visitor centre, and a free shuttle bus service. The visitor centre also has adjustable height showers and sinks, and an overhead hoist. You can find more information about what to expect in the National Trust’s Giant’s Causeway Access Statement.
8. Bournemouth beaches, Hampshire
Bournemouth is a popular seaside destination, and has also become known as one of the top disability-friendly places to visit in the UK.
Adapted beach huts with space for wheelchairs, accessible charging points for electric scooters, and accessible toilets are all available to use so that everyone can enjoy a relaxing day out to the beach. Plus, you can also hire multi-terrain wheelchairs with balloon tyres that make travelling across the beach much easier.
In addition, wheelchair-friendly land trains can take you along the bay between Bournemouth Pier and Boscombe Pie, and cliff lifts are also available to transport you up to enjoy the scenic seaside views above from the hillside.
You can read about all this and much more in the Bournemouth Accessibility Guide.
9. Woburn Safari Park, Bedfordshire
Woburn Safari Park in Bedfordshire has worked hard to ensure that a larger portion of its attractions are accessible to everyone.
Transport around the animal safari reserves is done in your own vehicle, and visitors are free to repeat the Road Safari route as many times as they like during their visit. The Aviary, keeper talks, and animal demonstrations are all accessible by wheelchair, and the majority of walk-through animal exhibits can be accessed too. The Great Woburn Railway also features wheelchair accessible carriages.
You’ll find accessible toilets and parking dotted throughout the park. However, for obvious reasons assistance dogs are only allowed to enter very limited areas.
You can find more details about all of this and more on the Woburn Safari Park website.
10. The Brighton Dome, East Sussex
At the Brighton Dome, the arts are brought to life with a range of exciting performances and events – from concerts and orchestra performances, to comedy shows and workshops.
The Brighton Dome has lifts and audio devices placed throughout the venue and an accessible parking lot for disabled customers. The Dome’s auditorium can accomodate 300-1700 people and offers designated areas for wheelchairs and mobility buggies at the back of the venue, with easy access to toilet facilities and the foyer.
If they’d prefer, wheelchair users can also opt for standard auditorium seating and staff will be free to assist them with transferring into the seat and can store wheelchairs for the duration of shows.
For more information, visit the access section of the Brighton Dome website. Here you’ll also find a list of different performance types offered at the Dome. These include highly visual performance, captioned performances, relaxed and multisensory performances, and British Sign Language (BSL) performances.
11. Chatsworth House, Derbyshire
Chatsworth House is home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, and has been passed down through 16 generations of the Cavendish family. Visitors can discover the house’s art, family, and history by exploring its various rooms including the Painted Hall, State Rooms, and Sculpture Gallery.
The staff at Chatsworth House pride themselves on the welcome they offer to all visitors. Inside the house, there’s a lift which allows those with physical impairments access to the entire visitor route.
And for those with visual and hearing impairments, assistance dogs are welcome in the house, farmyard, garden, playground, and park. In addition, the sensory garden located near the display house has been developed to stimulate various senses, including sound, touch, and smell. Free admission is also offered to carers visiting with the person they care for.
If it’s helpful, you can also download an access map in advance which shows accessible routes to the house, and around the garden, farmyard, and adventure playground. Alternatively, head over to the accessibility information page on the Chatsworth House website.
From World Heritage Sites, castles, and museums, to beautiful gardens, safari parks, and beaches, the UK is full of wonderful attractions.
Having to consider the access requirements of a place that you want to visit can be frustrating and get in the way of a fun day out. But, hopefully this guide has given you a few ideas of the various disability-friendly places that you can enjoy a worry-free visit to.
What are some of your favourite accessible places to visit in the UK? Are you thinking of visiting any of the sites above? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.