Our guide to wheelchair friendly places to visit in the UK
For many, planning a day out with accessible venues can prove a challenge – especially when using powered wheelchairs. Does the venue boast disable toilets? Does the building have a ramp to actually enter, along with wheelchair accessible routes? Preparation for the trip is almost an adventure in itself. However, we are scouring the UK for wheelchair friendly places to visit for all ages. While the list may not be exhaustive and there are sure to be more venues to include; you have more than enough information to begin prepping your accessible day out.
Our capital boasts many accessible venues and wheelchair friendly places to visit; from wheelchair accessible tube stations to restaurants to shopping centres and more. Perhaps, surprisingly, the Tower Bridge provides a memorable and accessible day out for those in powered wheelchairs. Tower Bridge, built in 1984, is an iconic part of our capital and certainly offers one of the greatest views of London. There are lifts to all levels of the two towers, accessible for those users in powered wheelchairs. Similarly, there is an accessible route for powered wheelchair users visiting the below-ground engine room on the south side of the building.
The British Museum, another iconic attraction in London, is one of our choices for accessible holidays in the capital. The museum is wheelchair-friendly, with level access at the Montague Place entrance. Similarly, there is powered wheelchairs access throughout most of the building via the lifts, as well as boasting accessible toilets, sign language guides and audio descriptive guides.
When it comes to accessible holidays for those in powered wheelchairs and manual chairs, you can’t do much better than visiting the home of chocolate. Cadbury World tells the story of the famous chocolate factory through exhibits, demonstrations and even 4D cinema experiences. Extensive parking is provided near the entrance, with low-level exhibits and receptions for those in wheelchairs. There are also ramp adaptations throughout, lifts available and two wheelchair spaces in the 4D adventure cinema experience.
The Birmingham Hippodrome is another one of our wheelchair friendly places to visit, enabling those in powered wheelchairs to take in a show after a day of adventures. There are lifts available in the building, with wheelchair positions in the main auditorium and Patrick studio. The building also boasts low-level counter service, disabled toilets on each level and an accessible restaurant and car park.
Manchester is one of the UK’s trendiest cities, and those in wheelchairs can visit the Northern Quarter. This area encompassing cool bars, restaurants and stores is a sight to behold, and you can experience it within your powered wheelchair. There are also wheelchair friendly places to visit in the area, including cocktail bars and live music venues.
Perhaps, surprisingly, the Chill Factor has also made its way into our list of accessible holidays. The home of Disability Snowsport UK offers a range of adaptive skiing for anyone with physical, sensory or learning disabilities. There are lifts to the various levels and wheelchair access to the restaurant, with low-level counter service also available. Similarly, they do also have wheelchairs for hire if you pre-book in advance.
The Mersey Ferry is iconic, allowing you to see the fantastic Liverpool skyline; all from a boat. The main dock of the ferry is accessible for manual and powered wheelchairs users, with a disabled toilet. Similarly, the ferry terminals also boast accessible toilets, with staff also available to help those with poor mobility embark, and disembark, from the ferry.
The Cavern Club and Live Lounge – where it all began for The Beatles – is also wheelchair accessible. For visitors that are unable to take the 33 steps to the Cavern Club, there is a ramp to the lower level, which you can take to the club with assistance. Similarly, the toilets are also accessible for those in powered wheelchairs. However, the Cavern Pub and Magical Mystery Tour are not yet friendly for those in wheelchairs.
Leeds Kirkgate Market is another for the accessible holidays checklist. The market, one of the largest in Europe, boasting more than 400 indoor stalls and 200 outdoor, is an excellent option to try new food and, of course, spend. Access is not a problem for powered wheelchair users, and the market is entirely on one level, with wide aisles between the stalls.
The Emmerdale Experience in Leeds is a rite of passage for all visitors. While the Emmerdale Studio Experience cannot permit mobility vehicles or electric scooters wider than 80cm, they do allow manual wheelchairs for those that do have assistance. The Emmerdale Village Tour, on the other hand, allows mobility vehicles, powered wheelchairs and electric scooters, as long as they can handle driving on grass, gravel and fitting through standard doors.
The Centre for Life is a fantastic wheelchair friendly place to visit in the North East for all of the family. The interactive exhibitions are only the start of your adventure… There is level access with lifts to all floors and onsite parking for those with blue badges. Similarly, there are wheelchair spaces available in the planetarium and Science Theatre.
The Alnwick Garden is eye-catching and breathtaking – especially if you catch it in good weather. There is plenty to enjoy in the gardens, with considerations for disabled visitors a priority. Disabled parking is close to the main buildings and garden features, with smooth, solid surfaces for those in powered wheelchairs. However, be aware that there are some small gradients to travel over, but you can hire free mobility scooters for three hours at a time.
You would think Edinburgh Castle, built in the 12th century, would not be one of the more wheelchair friendly places to visit. However, if you can manage the cobbled areas in your powered wheelchair, the castle is accessible for many. There are some areas within that only include steps, but they do offer a mobility vehicle for those that cannot manage the castle’s highest points and steep slopes.
When in Edinburgh, try some whisky (and that’s without the ‘e’). The Scotch Whisky Experience is one of the most accessible attractions in the city, with many great reviews on the wheelchair friendly venue. Those in powered wheelchairs can use their chair throughout the building, with lift access. However, they do not have a point where you can charge your chair, so ensure it is at full power before visiting.
This post was written by Karma Mobility