With the Paralympics in full swing, we thought it would be a good idea at dealchecker to celebrate the UK’s most accessible attractions for those with disabilities. All visitor attractions in London and the whole of the UK should be disabled friendly and more and more attractions are accommodating for the disabled, with many constantly improving their disabled friendly facilities. Below we take a look at those setting the bar for others to aspire to in our top 10 disabled friendly visitor attractions in the UK:
1. The Science Museum, South Kensington, London
This has always been a state of the art venue with modern attractions and features such as the ‘Making the Modern World’ and ‘Who Am I?’ but the Science Museum is also a trendsetter when it comes to its accessibility. Alongside from the obvious lifts and wheelchair ramps, all the interactive exhibits are at the right height for wheelchair users. The museum even holds events for the deaf at regular intervals.
The Science Museum – Image by Matt From London
2. Legoland, Windsor
This family friendly attraction contains many thrilling rides, a modern miniature village made from Lego and a driving school where children can earn their own Legoland driving license. Particularly suitable for young children, Legoland caters for the disabled and staff go out of their way to accommodate their needs. Guests can park in disabled bays which are close to the entrance, you can enter rides via the exit to avoid queues and there are fully accessible toilets. There is also a new hotel at Legoland which includes rooms specifically designed for those with disabilities.
3. The Eden Project, Cornwall
A vast botanical, conservation and architectural attraction, the Eden Project has Blue Badge parking for disabled visitors, wheelchairs available to borrow and buggies to transport people with mobility difficulties to the entrance. Hearing loops are available at the ticket booths and there are plenty of modern accessible toilets. Be sure to pre-book one of the powered wheelchairs to power you round this great family attraction.
The Eden Project – Image by exfordy
4. National Ice Centre, Nottingham
This ice rink has Olympic standard facilities and also plays host to a large number of events, including ice hockey, music and comedy. The centre is also great at catering for the disabled – most of the staff have been trained and there are great changing room and toilet facilities. Ice-adapted zimmer frames are great for those that can be a bit unsteady on their feet, whilst manual wheelchair users are welcome on the ice. The family session on Sundays is particularly aimed at the disabled and there are even push-around penguins that slide on to the ice with young passengers standing on their tail!
5. Thorpe Park, Chertsey, Surrey
This well-known theme park contains rides and attractions both big and small and is suitable for people of all ages – it is also surprisingly disabled friendly. Blue badge holders can park right near the entrance and some ticket booths have induction loops. Wheelchairs can be borrowed and toilets are fully accessible. Some of the rides aren’t suitable for the disabled depending on your condition, especially the bigger ones, but ride access passes are available so that disabled visitors can bypass the long, narrow queues.
Thorpe Park – Image by Roller Coaster Philosophy
6. ZSL London Zoo, Regent’s Park, London
The family-friendly zoo is home to Penguin Beach, England’s biggest penguin pool and Gorilla Kingdom, amongst many other exhibits. Ramps and slopes are incorporated within the zoo for the disabled and both manual and electric wheelchairs are available to borrow. Parking spaces are located right near the entrance and there are accessible toilets around the zoo. The Oasis restaurant offers a range of food in an accessible, spacious environment. Take the opportunity to take a stroll around Regent’s Park while you are there too.
7. Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff
This modern venue for the arts is also an ultra modern facility for those with disabilities. The theatre hosts art events, including ballet, musicals and comedy shows and there are workshops and studio sessions. Also resident is Touch Trust which provides touch-based music, art and dance activities for those with profound disabilities. The main auditorium has plenty of space for wheelchair users and there are assisted performances for those who have visual or hearing impairments.
Wales Millennium Centre – Image by TFDuesing
8. The Imperial War Museum, Duxford, Cambridge
The museum houses an impressive array of aircraft from the 1920s to the present day and is set on an RAF airfield. Aside from the usual disabled parking spaces and toilets, there is a free assistance vehicle which can transport visitors around the site. Wheelchairs and mobility scooters can be rented and visitors with visual impairments can touch the aircraft. Audio-description is available and audio-visual presentations have subtitles and induction loops.
9. Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth
This unmissable attraction in the heart of Portsmouth offers brilliant views from three platforms and boasts the largest glass floor in Europe. For disabled users blue badge car parks are located nearby and the tower has disabled toilets, a hearing loop and a lift. Large print and audio guides are available and there’s a model of the tower for visually impaired visitors to touch to help to get a sense of its structure. On deck two visitors can enjoy a spot of lunch and great views in the aptly named Café in the Clouds.
Spinnaker Tower – Image by david.nikonvscanon
10. SNO!zone at Xscape, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
These indoor 185-yard ski slopes accommodate for people of all ages and disabilities. Sit skis are suitable for those with no lower body mobility. Outrigger skis are available for amputees and walking/zimmer frame style ski poles are available for unsteady visitors. There is also high-visibility clothing for the blind and visually impaired. Be sure to visit the other attractions at Xscape Milton Keynes, such as the Airkix indoor skydiving. There are also other SNO!zone centres across the UK.