The UK's Top Ten Accessible Attractions

Everyone loves a great day out, but for people with access requirements it can be more difficult to find a place to visit that is easy to get around, or really goes above and beyond to make ALL guests feel welcome.  We asked Carrie-Ann Lightley from Tourism for All UK to list her top 10 attractions around the country that go the extra mile to accommodate disabled visitors.

1.     Eden Project

The Eden Project has won awards for its accessibility, and it’s a wonderful, year-round facility that’s packed with things to do and learn.  The project prides itself on providing a great experience for all ages, abilities and backgrounds.  There is also a volunteer scheme to assist those who need a little help, and a creative approach to accessibility throughout.

2.     Edinburgh Castle

Although the abundance of cobbles can make things uncomfortable for wheelchairs, it’s worth it., plus they are are re-pointing all of the cobbled areas to make them more accessible – a huge job!  A mobility vehicle takes disabled visitors to the highest point, allowing a gradual descent around the grounds. 

3.     Chatsworth House

Chatsworth House is a dream for someone who uses a wheelchair, as everywhere is accessible From the moment you arrive to the moment you leave, you feel you have experienced all that the house has to offer the visitor.  With the use of a lift, you are able to see al of the rooms, and once you're done you can use the toilets, peruse the gift shop and have a drink and something to eat.

4.     SS Great Britain

The forerunner of modern cruise liners, the ss Great Britain was the largest vessel of its day, and carried thousands of passengers to Australia at the time of the gold rush. Lovingly restored, it sits in a glass ‘sea’, under which visitors can walk and view the hull but which protects the ship from further erosion. The site has been made more accessible, and the large funnel has ingeniously deployed as a lift, so that wheelchair users can reach a passenger deck which is full of fascinating detail of the lives led by crew and passengers.

5.     National Railway Museum

The National Railway Museum in York tells the story of rail transport in Britain and its impact on society. It has won many awards, including the European Museum of the Year Award and is the home of the national collection of historically significant railway vehicles, as well as a collection of other artefacts and written and pictorial records. There areover 100 locomotives and nearly 200 other items of rolling stock on display, all easily seen by wheelchairs that are available free of charge at both entrances. They also have wheelchair-accessible toilets.

6.     Sandcastle Waterpark

The UK's Largest Indoor Waterpark with over 18 slides and attractions in an 84-degree tropical climate. They will do everything they can to assist disabled visitors, and their accessible services and facilities vary from induction loops, wide-access gangways, accessible toilets and changing rooms, poolside wet room facilities, support rails, access statements, an accessible video guide and a dedicated pool safety hotline for guests to discuss requirements prior to their arrival. There's also accommodation for access dogs and much more.

7.     Cadbury World

Cadbury World is the only purpose-built visitor centre in the UK devoted entirely to chocolate.  A large-print access for all guide is available, and concessionary pricing is offered to visitors with disabilities.  Visually impaired visitors have an opportunity to touch and feel key props at various stages of the exhibition, and the “Cadabra” ride has a specially adapted mobile car which will carry one wheelchair user and companion.

8.     Science Museum

Welcoming over 2.9 million visitors a year, the Museum aims to make sense of the science that shapes our lives, inspiring visitors with iconic objects, award-winning exhibitions and incredible stories of scientific achievement.  Examples of access include a large-print accessibility map, Braille resources, events for deaf audiences, including deaf-led tours of galleries, and SIGNtific family events and audio-described events for partially sighted or blind visitors. They also use Makaton resources and have trained staff members.

9.     Discovery Point

Discovery Point tells the story of the RSS Discovery from her beginnings in Dundee and Captain Scott's remarkable Antarctic expedition over a hundred years ago, through her long ocean-going career until her final journey home. There is a large visitor centre where a number of interesting displays include a 'touch, feel and smell' section, with samples such as gunpowder, fur, carpet and fish – fantastic for those with sensory disabilities.  It's a historic ship, so full disabled access is not possible, but there is a ramp that can be placed at the top of the gangway to provide access to the main deck, and on the quayside you can view a filmed tour of the ship. 

10.  Colston Hall

Built in 1867, Colston Hall is the Southwest’s biggest concert hall, situated in Bristol’s city centre.  In September 2009 it opened a £20million new foyer, which includes fully accessible bars and restaurants, but the big news is that anyone who requires assistance to attend an event at Colston Hall is entitled to a companion ticket free of charge.  Colston Hall can also provide an assistant for those wanting to attend a concert alone.  Registered assistance dogs are admitted and can be looked after during shows if required.

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