Family group on a hill enjoying and wheelchair friendly day out
Family days out, Family travel, UK, UK

Accessible and wheelchair friendly days out in the UK

If you are looking for a day out that the whole family can enjoy then accessibility may be on your mind. Whether you are visiting an attraction with a disabled child or relative, finding somewhere that has your family’s needs in mind will make the day even more special. Handily, I’ve got some insights here about the most accessible and wheelchair friendly days out in the UK.

Finding accessible visitor attractions 

In 2019 Revitalise – the national charity that creates holidays for disabled people and their carers – contacted UK visitor attractions to find out how they catered for the UK’s 13.3 million disabled people including 800,000 disabled children under the age of 16.

They then ranked the cultural attractions based on overall accessibility, whether it was free to visit, concessions for disabled people and carers, the number of disabled toilets, the number of disabled parking spaces, how wheelchair accessible the entrance was, and the number of staff with disability awareness training. 

They also looked at whether accessibility information was available on the attractions’ websites, whether they had hoists, or were heritage or historic attractions, making full accessibility difficult.

Find out more about Revitalise.

Inclusive family group

Accessible and wheelchair friendly days out near you

Here’s some of the top accessible and wheelchair friendly family attractions across the UK by area. See the full list of accessible UK days out.

Also take a look at my top Christmas days out around the UK.

Birmingham

Head to the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery for the city’s most accessible day out. Entry is free and overall accessibility in the attraction is excellent. There’s a good number of disabled toilets but, if you are travelling by car, parking is poor.

Bristol

Bristol Zoo Gardens came in at number 28 in the national chart and is the number one accessible attraction in Bristol. It was rated excellent for overall accessibility, has an excellent number of disabled toilets, a hoist and trained staff. Poor disabled parking facilities was the only thing that lets it down.

African penguin in water

Cambridge

The Imperial War Museum Duxford is a heritage site so full accessibility is difficult. However, it still came in at number 40 in the accessible attraction chart. Disabled visitors and their carers can go free, the approach to the entrance is accessible and overall accessibility is excellent. However, the number of disabled toilets and parking spaces could be improved.

Derbyshire

The historic Chatsworth House in Bakewell received praise for its overall accessibility which ranked it as joint number 28 in the Revitalise chart. Disabled visitors and carers get a discount, there are an excellent number of disabled toilets and parking spaces, and staff have had disability awareness training. 

Find out all the things to do at Chatsworth House from Wandermust Family.

Cart and horses outside Chatsworth House

Credit: Wandermust Family

Gloucestershire

Overall Westonbirt, The National Arboritum, was rated as excellent for accessibility with a wheelchair friendly approach to the entrance and a hoist available in a disabled toilet. There is room for improvement on the number of disabled toilets and parking spaces, although these are still rated as good.

Get some tips for visiting Westonbirt The National Arboritum with kids from Travel Loving Family.

Kent

As a historic castle Leeds Castle is always going to have limited accessibility but this UK attraction has been trying to make everyone feel welcome. Disabled visitors and carers can visit for free and staff have been appropriately trained. The number of disabled toilets and parking spaces are fewer than needed for the size of the attraction.

Read Mummytravels’ post about visiting Leeds Castle.

Leeds Castle

Credit: Mummytravels

Lancashire

An area smashing accessible and wheelchair friendly days out is Liverpool in Lancashire. Not only did the Museum of Liverpool top the Revitalise chart of the most accessible visitor attractions in the UK, five other local attractions featured in the top 20. 

The Museum of Liverpool earned the top spot for its excellent performance across all areas of the study, not least ensuring disabled toilets are available to the public and training all staff in disability awareness. You’ll also find hoists available.

The other Liverpool attractions to make the national top 20 accessible attractions were:

These all offer free entry to disabled visitors and their carers, good disabled parking and toilet facilities. 

London

Unsurprisingly London boasts a large number of accessible attractions. The Science Museum came in at number two in the overall chart put together by Revitalise. They found it has made considerable improvements in recent years; training staff and improving their facilities including adding hoists in three of their disabled toilets.

Check out this review of The Science Museum and Natural History Museum by Travel Mad Mum.

Other accessible and wheelchair friendly attractions in London to be highlighted by Revitalise include: 

Read Suitcase & Sandcastles’ blog post about art workshops at The National Gallery and Tate Modern, as well as at other London galleries.

Read Mummytravels’ blog post about visiting the British Museum in London.

British Museum London

Credit: Mummytravels

Northern Ireland

The Ulster Museum is Northern Ireland’s most accessible and wheelchair friendly day out and ranks at number 5 overall in the UK. Here you can expect free entrance for disabled people and their carers an excellent number of disabled toilets and parking spaces, and well trained staff. At least one toilet also has a hoist.

Also check out Titanic Belfast. It is joint number 45 in the chart. Overall accessibility is excellent at this Northern Ireland day out. Bear in mind that disabled people and their carers must pay for entry and disabled parking is poor.

Find out more from The Family Adventure Project about visiting Titanic Belfast, or The Berg as it’s known locally. 

Oxfordshire

The Ashmolean Museum of art and archeology in Oxfordshire is this county’s best attraction for disabled visitors and has made considerable improvements in recent years. It has 13 disabled parking spaces, offers disabled people and carers free entry, and is ranked as excellent for overall accessibility. 

Scotland

Coming in at number six in the national chart, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern One) in Edinburgh is the top accessible attraction in Scotland. Visitors with disabilities can get free entry along with their carers, there’s excellent disabled parking and good toilet facilities including a hoist. Staff have also been given awareness training.

At joint 11th place in the national chart is the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh, which is also rated excellent for overall accessibility, free access and disabled parking.

Riverside Museum in Glasgow also made the national top 20 in 18th place. It offers free access for disabled visitors and their carers, excellent disabled toilets with a hoist, good parking and staff who have been trained.

For more information about Riverside Museum and other Glasgow attractions read this round up of places to visit with kids in Central Scotland by Monkey & Mousey

Shropshire

RAF Museum Cosford is Shropshire’s top accessible day out in the chart and comes in at joint 41st overall. Disabled visitors and their carers can go free, attraction staff have been given excellent awareness training and both disabled toilets and parking are good.

Exhibition at RAF Cosford

Credit: RAF Cosford

Wiltshire

The iconic world heritage site of Stonehenge is joint 49th in the national chart and the number on place to visit in Wiltshire. Overall accessibility came out as excellent and staff are well trained. Be aware that disabled people and their carers do need to pay for entry, and disabled toilets and parking are rated as poor.

Read about a family day out at Stonehenge written by Otis & Us.

Stonehenge - legendary places to visit in England with kids

Yorkshire

Yorkshire’s most accessible day out is the National Science & Media Museum in Bradford. This ranked at number 19 in the chart. It offers disabled visitors and their carers free entry, plus excellent parking, well-trained staff and a good number of disabled toilets.

Read about a visit to the National Science & Media Museum by Kids Days Out Reviews.

The National Railway Museum in York also did well in the chart coming in at number 36. It ranked well for free entrance for disabled visits and their carers, excellent accessibility, and well-trained staff. The number of disabled toilets and disabled parking spaces was good.

Find out more about events and family activities at the National Railway Museum from Kids Days Out Reviews.

More accessible and wheelchair friendly days out in the UK

Age UK have put together another useful resource for finding accessible days out in the UK, which also includes whether guide dogs are welcome.

Also check out accessible days out in Devon

Friday the Turtle in the Atlantic Ocean tank at the National Marine Aquarium

In Devon, the National Marine Aquarium has been recognised as an accessible family attraction. It’s a day out in Plymouth that we can personally recommend.

Here are some more of the top days out in Devon with kids.

If you’re a family that enjoys meeting marine life, Age UK can recommend other accessible aquariums in the UK.

Do you have accessible or wheelchair friendly days out near you? I’d love to hear about them.

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