Accessible attractions and days out in the UK

By: Helen West,

Accessible attractions and days out in the UK

Travelling and visiting new places can be great fun. It's a chance to broaden your horizons and enjoy quality time with your friends and family.

But if you use a mobility scooter or wheelchair, organising a day out can be time consuming - especially if it's somewhere you haven't been before.

There are lots of things to consider. Will there be accessible toilets you can use? What about lifts and ramps? And can you take your mobility scooter with you?

To help you plan your next trip, we've put together our pick of accessible, wheelchair-friendly days out around the UK. If you've been to any of the attractions we've listed, leave us a comment and let us know what you thought!

Bristol: Aerospace Bristol

Aeroplanes and accessibility don’t always go hand in hand, but Aerospace Bristol is a fantastic place to visit for those with access needs. It's built on the former Filton Airfield in Bristol and is home to Concorde Alpha Foxtrot, the final Concorde to be built and the last to fly back in 2003. Don't miss your chance to climb aboard, view the cockpit, and see what it was like to travel in this historic aircraft.

Concorde at the Bristol Aerospace Museum.

Take a look inside the very last Concorde ever to be built at the Bristol Aerospace Museum. Image: Bristol Aerospace.

The museum is fully accessible for visitors with limited mobility. The hangars, including the purpose-build Concorde hangar, have dedicated wheelchair accessible lifts and there is level access to all areas of the site for assistance dogs, wheelchairs, and mobility scooters. There’s also disabled parking and three wheelchairs that can be used by visitors. You can pre-book yours by calling 01179 315 315 or emailing info@aerospacebristol.org.

Bristol: Brunel’s SS Great Britain

The SS Great Britain is one of the most important historic ships in the world. Designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and once called 'the greatest experiment since creation', she has been lovingly restored to her former glory and is now located on Bristol’s iconic waterfront.

 Brunel's SS Great Britain in Bristol

Brunel's SS Great Britain is fully accessible for wheelchair and scooter users. Image: Visit Bristol.

The SS Great Britain is fully accessible. There are lifts located throughout the museum, including on board the ship. Some of the cabins are too narrow for standard wheelchairs, but the museum offers specially designed wheelchairs free of charge. The attraction has even been awarded the Rough Guide to Accessible Britain award for ‘Best Heritage Venue’.

Bath: The Roman Baths

The Roman Baths are one of the most popular tourist attractions in the UK. You can visit the pump room, admire intricate mosaics, and even taste the natural spring water that flows through this incredible historic site.

The Roman Baths

The Roman Baths have received a Gold Award for Access and Inclusivity. Image: The Roman Baths.

90% of the site is accessible thanks to three enclosed lifts and one platform lift, and there are handrails in many places. The museum has three wheelchairs available for visitors to use and a mobility scooter you can borrow if your own is too heavy for the lifts (which have a maximum weight limit of 300kg). The Roman Baths have also won the Gold Award for Access and Inclusivity several years in a row.

Oxford: Blenheim Palace

Located just a short drive from Oxford, Blenheim Palace is a national treasure. It's the principle home of the Duke of Marlborough and the house itself is an architectural masterpiece. It stands in beautiful grounds and gardens, which were created by the famous landscape gardener ‘Capability’ Brown.

You can hire wheelchairs at Blenheim Palace. Image: Experience Oxfordshire

Wheelchairs and mobility scooters are available for hire at Blenheim Palace. Image: Experience Oxfordshire.

The Palace is also easy to get around for anyone with access needs. Disabled parking is available and there a number of wheelchair and buggy access points. Wheelchairs and mobility scooters can access the State Rooms via a platform lift, which has a maximum weight limit of 350kg. There are 9 manual wheelchairs and 6 electric scooters available for visitors to borrow and disabled toilets are located throughout the site.

Cardiff: St Fagans National Museum of History

St Fagans is an open-air museum located in the grounds of St Fagans Castle, a late 16th century manor house. Explore the beautiful gardens and discover over forty original buildings from various historical periods in Wales, including a church dating back to 1100 and ironworkers' houses from the different stages of the industrial revolution.

St Fagans Museum in Cardiff

There are over forty historic buildings in the grounds of St Fagans Castle. Image: Visit Cardiff.

The museum has dedicated parking spaces for disabled visitors and wheelchairs are available on request. There are a few steps due to the historic nature of some of the buildings, but ramps are provided and the majority of the site is accessible to wheelchair users. There’s even a motorised Disabled Tour Vehicle to transport visitors around the site. The service is free but you need to book two weeks in advance by calling (029) 2057 3500.

Cardiff: Cardiff Castle

When you think of castles, you probably imagine narrow steps, steep hills, and treacherous stones – none of which are practical if you’re a wheelchair or scooter user. But Cardiff Castle surprisingly accessible. Located in the heart of the Welsh capital, it's one of the nation's leading heritage attractions.

Cardiff Castle

Cardiff Castle is surprisingly accessible for wheelchair and scooter users.

There are some steps throughout the site and the Castle Apartments are not accessible by wheelchair. However, the grounds are mostly flat and the Interpretation Centre, which includes the Firing Line exhibition, film presentation, café, and shop, is fully accessible. Disabled toilets are also available.

Swansea: National Waterfront Museum

Swansea's National Waterfront Museum tells the story of 300 years of industry and innovation. Find out how the industrial revolution affected Welsh communities, get involved with interactive displays, and delve into the area's fascinating social history.

Swansea National Waterfront Museum

Swansea's National Waterfront Museum offers fun for all the family. Image: Grace's Guide to British Industrial History.

The museum is fully wheelchair accessible and has dedicated disabled parking. A number of wheelchairs are available for visitor use and mobility scooters are welcome, although you are asked to contact the museum on (029) 2057 3600 prior to your visit as only a limited number of scooters can be accommodated at any one time.

Newport: Newport Wetlands National Nature Reserve

The Newport Wetlands National Nature Reserve offers the chance to spot wild birds, explore saline lagoons, and hear rare birdsong.

Newport Wetlands

The Newport Wetlands Reserve lies between the Severn Estuary and the River Usk. Image: Newport Wetlands National Nature Reserve.

The paths are all wheelchair accessible and the reserve has ample disabled parking. You can hire a mobility scooter for your visit by contacting the RSPB on 01633 636363 to book, and there are even viewing screens and a hide with wheelchair spaces, so you won't miss a thing.

Shropshire: Telford Steam Railway

The Telford Steam Railway is a fascinating preserved steam railway for train enthusiasts of all ages. Take a ride on the ‘Rocket’ steam train and experience the wonderful sights and sounds of a real locomotive. There’s also a model railway, a tearoom, and a well-stocked gift shop selling everything from collectors’ railway souvenirs to Thomas the Tank Engine merchandise.

Telford Steam Railway in Shropshire

Enjoy a ride on a steam train at the Telford Steam Railway. Image: Telford Steam Railway.

The museum offers easy disabled access to their trains and disabled toilets are available. The main station, tearoom, and gift shop are all wheelchair accessible and there's disabled parking a short distance (100 yards) from the main car park.

The Wye Valley: Easy Access Walks

 A beautiful walk through the Wye Valley may not sound like your ideal day out if you use a wheelchair or mobility scooter. But there are a number of easy access walks that can be enjoyed by everyone. They include the Ross-on-Wye town and riverside easy walk which takes in the riverside and town centre. The entire route is barrier free and uses tarmac paths which can be navigated easily by wheelchair and scooter users.

The Wye Valley

Explore the beautiful Wye Valley with an easy access walk. Image: Visit Monmouthshire.

The Wye Valley Walk website offers detailed descriptions of all the easy access walks in the area, along with the location of facilities like disabled toilets, parking, and cafes.

For more information about accessible days out, the Motability Rough Guide to Accessible Britain is a really useful tool and includes information for people with a huge range of disabilities. 

You can also browse Euan's Guide, where individuals with disabilities leave reviews on everything from wheelchair access to disabled facilities at restaurants, tourist attractions, cinemas and more.

Do you have any tips on how to plan an accessible day out? Leave a comment and let us know!

Read more: Britain's best accessible beaches

Read more: Holiday ideas for wheelchair and scooter users


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