In 2014, a survey revealed – rather shockingly – that nearly two-thirds of popular attractions in the UK weren’t accessible by wheelchair. Luckily, in the past three years more and more museums, theatres, theme parks, and other popular attractions have started making themselves accessible to all, rather than just the able-bodied. Since there are over 11 million people in the UK alone that have a disability, this gradual change is extremely welcome.
So, which attractions are the best for accommodating people with a disability, while also providing a fun or informative day out? Here are five of our top picks…
National Space Centre, Leicester
The National Space Centre details its accessibility policies on its website. Virtually all of the building is wheelchair accessible, and wheelchairs are loaned out free of charge. Its star attraction, the Planetarium, has seating for six wheelchairs and is fitted with an induction loop. There are a few attractions inside the Space Centre – the spaceflight simulator for example – which may not be accessible, depending on your needs. However, staff are on hand to provide advice and alternatives.
The centre also offers touch tours for the visually impaired, although they must be booked in advance.
Manchester’s ice venue, The Chill Factor, offers something fantastic – it’s the home of Disability Snowsport UK, a registered charity which provides snow sport experiences to people of almost all abilities. They state that their aim is to “provide adaptive skiing for individuals with any disability, including physical, sensory and learning difficulties.” That makes it an excellent choice of day out for anybody looking to try out a new sport.
British Museum, London
The British Museum is one of the most famous museums in the world, attracting millions of visitors each year, so they’ve worked hard to make it as accessible as possible. Carers have free entry, induction loops are placed inside the building, and large-print guides for the visually impaired are available on request. Many of the talks held at the museum are also BSL-signed.
Their website also provides a full, detailed guide as to what disabled guests can expect when they visit.
Caernarfon Castle, North Wales
One type of attraction that’s sadly often cut off for wheelchair users is castles: most of them were for obvious reasons designed to be difficult to access. It’s hard to make them accessible while maintaining their history – but it can be done. Caernarfon Castle, with help from an access group, has built ramps into the castle to allow disabled visitors access. Though unfortunately the higher towers still aren’t accessible, the castle has one other thing which makes it attractive to disabled visitors – access for wheelchair users and their carers is free.
Cadbury World – a celebration of chocolate! – provides a lot of assistance so that people of all abilities can enjoy their attractions. It may be one of the best attractions in the UK for children with a disability, as its playgrounds and eating areas, as well as its exhibits, were designed with wheelchairs in mind. The whole experience is described on the company website as “multi-sensory”, meaning kids with learning difficulties may find it a comforting and easy-to-navigate place. Plus, of course, there’s plenty of chocolate on hand!