Accessible days out across the UK

Accessible, Days out, Activity

Posted by Courtney Kelly on 9th December 2022

Father in a wheelchair with his daughter at a zoo

Planning a holiday full of day trips and activities can be stressful enough without having to find out about an attraction’s accessibility information. The information can often be hard to source and you never know until you arrive, how accurate it is. Our handy guide lists our top tried and tested accessible attractions in the UK where wheelchair access is available, where all-terrain wheelchairs and buggies can be hired, and where disabled toilets and car parking are in place, meaning you can enjoy a relaxing holiday with plenty of days out to suit your accessibility needs.

Our collection of self-catering accessible holiday cottages includes properties located in spectacular coastal and countryside spots throughout the UK. To make sure your property caters to your needs, we have carefully chosen a range of properties that offer increased accessibility features. These include single-storey accommodation, wheelchair ramps, wider doorways and corridors, ground-floor bedrooms and wet rooms. Some of our self-catering cottages are also members of the National Accessibility Scheme.

Click the button below to get browsing or scroll down to find an accessible day out just for you.

Accessible holiday cottages

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Accessible days out in Scotland

Accessible sailing at Castle Semple Visitor Centre

Castle Semple Visitor Centre and Country Park, Renfrewshire

A fully accessible attraction for wheelchair-friendly days out, this centre and park sit on the scenic shores of Castle Semple Loch. The centre has specialist staff to cater for all abilities and in 2012, became Scotland’s first Royal Yachting Association Sailablility ‘Centre of Excellence’. Every year, in May or June, they hold their Wheels to Water event, allowing everyone to try the accessible activities on offer.

For the rest of the year, they have a glut of facilities and equipment, including specially adapted Hansa 303 sailing dinghies and kayaks, Wheelyboats allowing wheelchair users to access the loch, adapted hand bikes and trikes, and hoists to help wheelchair users comfortably access the boats and bikes. All in all, a great disabled-friendly place to visit.

Stay nearby: Belivat Cottage | Sleeps 4

The Royal Yacht BritanniaPhoto credit @yusanang

The Royal Yacht Britannia, East Lothian

This 5-star tourist attraction should be high on the list of anyone looking for places to go with wheelchair access. It has been rated Scotland's Best Visitor Attraction for 12 years running and has been in TripAdvisor's UK Top 10 for the last 5 years. If you like being near the water but you’re not so much into accessible beaches, this could be perfect for you. Queen Elizabeth II's former floating palace makes for a highly accessible day out, with dedicated disabled parking spaces and lifts connecting all five levels.

The wheelchair access is classed as Category 1, the highest available, although wheelchairs should be no wider than 670mm. Assistance dogs are welcomed and accommodation is made for those who are visually impaired, hearing impaired or those who have learning disabilities or dementia. See here for their access statement.

Stay nearby: Ocean Drive | Sleeps 4

Accessible days out in Northern England

The gardens at Belsay HallPhoto credits @xanaduflipper

Belsay Hall, Northumberland

This beautiful English Heritage site is a wonderful choice for a disabled-friendly day out in Northumberland. Take your time wandering the 30 acres of gardens including the Quarry Garden with its exotic plants. You’ll also be able to enjoy the Grecian architecture of the hall and the medieval nature of the castle. Not only can you enjoy free access to a mobility scooter or borrow a wheelchair for the day (pre-booking recommended), but there are also designated disabled parking bays and ramps to help you access the hall. There is also RADAR key access for a level access route to the hall, should you need it.

Assistance dogs are welcome, and the Changing Places WC is extremely comprehensive including a height-adjustable changing bench with a ceiling hoist; a height-adjustable wash basin; a Peninsular WC; a non-slip floor; an emergency alarm; a privacy screen and a colostomy shelf. 

Stay nearby: The Dapple Grey 3 | Sleeps 2 + 1 dog

Luscious greens at Castle Howard in York

Castle Howard, Yorkshire

A wonderful mansion house set in beautiful open grounds, Castle Howard is a fun day out for older children. Almost all of the rooms inside the house are accessible via a lift and in the gardens, all paths are ramped for easy access including the path to the stunning Atlas Fountain. 

If you prefer, you can hire land transport instead of using your wheelchair, plus there are manual wheelchairs to hire also. Carers of disabled visitors are invited to the castle free of charge and you will find the designated parking clearly marked in the car park.

Stay nearby: Honeysuckle Retreat | Sleeps 6 + 1 dog

Accessible days out in Central England

Golden grasslands at Brixworth Country Park in Northamptonshire

Brixworth Country Park, Northamptonshire

Brixworth Country Park is one of the best examples of accessible countryside in the UK. The area that the park covers isn’t huge but there’s plenty to do. Walking or pushing through the beautiful mix of woodland, meadow and countryside offers undeniably pretty views across the reservoir. There are named and signposted circular walks around the park, with accessible hides where you can catch a glimpse of the wildlife such as foxes, squirrels and birds. There is also a longer walk, of over 7 miles, that you can take along the reservoir route. 

Specialised bikes are available for hire, as are mobility scooters. There are bikes with wheelchairs attached, bikes where both parties can pedal or two-person single-pedal bikes at your disposal. Allocated parking is very close to the park and there is a nearby cafe selling hot food, cooked breakfasts and hearty lunches.

Stay nearby: Duck Pond Barn | Sleeps 2

The open land and rides at Alton Towers

Alton Towers, Staffordshire

This UK theme park caters incredibly well for visitors in a wheelchair and children who are in need of a carer. At Alton Towers, special discounts are available for your child and up to two carers, and booking in advance means you can get priority access without having to queue. However, you will still have to join the queues for individual rides, although there are exceptions. 

For children who may be agitated or get distressed from having to be in a queue or for children who cannot understand the concept of queuing, and for wheelchair users who may be uncomfortable queuing, a Ride Access Pass can be obtained which acts as a ‘queue jump’ service to make the day a much more enjoyable experience for child and carer.

Stay nearby: The Tea House | Sleeps 4 + 2 dogs

Accessible days out in Wales

Animals and rides await at Folly FarmPhoto credits: @daytrippingfamily (left and middle); @rhianhughesmorgan (right)

Folly Farm, Pembrokeshire

This part of Wales is well known for its accessible coastal walks, but if you’re looking for accessible places to visit with a bit more stimulation and variety, look no further than Folly Farm. This attraction has won awards for the experience offered to visitors with accessibility needs, and rightly so. They have a wide range of accessible attractions; both the Big Wheel and Land Train have carriages that can accommodate a wheelchair; all but one of the animal experiences are wheelchair friendly, and the majority of the fairground rides are accessible too. 

You can hire electric scooters and regular wheelchairs for a reasonable fee and as much of the park as possible has been landscaped into smooth paths and ramps. There are dedicated disabled parking bays near the entrance and carers/personal assistants are welcome free of charge. Finally, there are three accessible WCs and a Changing Places WC with a height-adjustable changing bench with a hoist.

Stay nearby: Vicarage Farm Cottage | Sleeps 2 + 1 dog

National Botanic Garden of Wales

National Botanic Garden of Wales, Carmarthenshire

Disabled-access days out don’t come much more fragrant than a trip to the National Botanic Garden of Wales. There are many options available to those with mobility issues who still want to explore the vast array of colourful and interesting formal gardens. Much of the site has paths that are wide, flat and hard, and you can borrow wheelchairs for free or hire mobility scooters for a small fee (plus a refundable deposit).

For the areas that are a little more rugged, including the restored parkland, there is a shuttle buggy service that will take you around the gardens and return you to the Norman Foster Glasshouse. Assistance dogs are welcome, carers/personal assistants can enter for free and there is a Changing Places WC near the Gatehouse, where you hire mobility scooters.

Stay nearby: Cliftonville Cottage | Sleeps 4 + 1 dog

Picton CastlePhoto credit @arlanfor

Picton Castle, Pembrokeshire

Another of Pembrokeshire’s wheelchair-accessible places, Picton Castle is a great day out for less-abled visitors. According to the castle’s facilitators, the grounds are 70% accessible to wheelchairs, which includes the galleries and the all-important gift shop and restaurant! The pathways to the courtyard and Walled Garden are level and flat, and the tours of the castle fully accommodate wheelchair users and less able visitors, making it one of the most wheelchair-friendly places in the region.

The main car park has disabled parking bays and there are three wheelchairs available to use, free of charge (just ask at the ticket office when you arrive). Lastly, there are two disabled WCs on-site, so you won’t get caught short when admiring the splendid Georgian interior.

Stay nearby: The Shippon At Brynbanc | Sleeps 4 + 2 dogs

Accessible days out in the South West

The Eden Project, St Austell, Cornwall

The Eden Project, Cornwall

The Eden Project provides a fantastic day out and a wonderful experience for all abilities. For visitors with mobility or sensory impairments, the Eden Project has a team of volunteers on hand to help you around the park and ensure that you get the best experience. This service is free of charge but you must make sure to book at least a fortnight in advance to ensure that a volunteer is free. 

If you are a carer or your child has a carer, you can enter the park free of charge. Assistance dogs are also welcome all around the site and water bowls are provided, as it can get very hot inside the biomes! There are routes around the site that have been specifically designed with wheelchairs in mind, and the entire exhibit is a sensory wonderland.

Stay nearby: Braeburn Cottage | Sleeps 2

The animals of Newquay ZooPoto credit @lancaster1941 (left)

Newquay Zoo

Newquay Zoo is a really beautiful locale set in 13 acres of glorious sub-tropical gardens, free from barriers and obstacles to create a vivid sensory experience. The paths around the zoo are fairly wheelchair friendly, although in some areas the gradient is quite hard going in a manual wheelchair. Assistance dogs are welcome and a reduced price is available for disabled visitors and their carers.

Stay nearby: Pentire View – Newquay | Sleeps 4 + 1 dog

A view of Bristol over the water

We The Curious, Bristol

This charity-funded science exhibition is a fantastic day out with the kids and the big kid inside you. We The Curious has plenty of different exhibitions and activities to entertain children of all ages and abilities. The planetarium puts on a range of five different shows giving stunning views of the night sky, teaching you how to spot different constellations. Other highlights include 'Project What If' where art and science collide to answer the quirkiest of questions. 

Alternatively, just explore Level 0 where all manner of hands-on experiences and activities are always in full flow. All the exhibitions are on level floors with lift access and wheelchair spaces can be booked in advance in the planetarium. Wheelchairs and mobility scooters are available for hire and carers are admitted free of charge.

Stay nearby: Twinway Farm - The Old Cow House | Sleeps 4

Donkeys and more at The Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth

The Donkey Sanctuary, Devon

This is a wonderful experience for the kids if you’re on holiday in Devon. Set in a large area of idyllic countryside and farmland, the Donkey Sanctuary is a working farm so there are plenty of opportunities for kids to get hands-on with the tasks and caring for the Sanctuary’s 500 donkeys. 

There are designated walks around the grounds that are suitable for wheelchairs and the other walks are fairly level which you can attempt, depending on your ability. Wheelchairs are also available to borrow from the visitor centre.

Stay nearby: The Lambing Shed | Sleeps 4

Smooth trails at Haldon Forest Park in Kennford

Haldon Forest Park, Devon

There are miles of pretty woodland walks to explore in Haldon Forest and many opportunities to spot the wildlife that lives in the forest, including birds of prey and deer. There are two specially designated 1.5-mile walks for wheelchairs and visitors with decreased mobility, but even then, most of the other trails are fairly level. 

If you’re worried about the terrain of the non-designated paths you can hire specially designed ‘Trampers’ which are all-terrain powered scooters (training is needed if you haven’t used one before so we’d recommend calling ahead). A great experience for kids is the Mamhead Sensory Trail, sensory way-markers punctuate the trail and there are tactile interpretation boards to stimulate the senses.

Stay nearby: Highfield Topsham | Sleeps 6 + 1 dog

Stay at an accessible holiday cottage

We have lots of lovely cottages throughout the UK, many within driving distance of the nation's top visitor attractions. Why not visit our collection for inspiration?

Accessible holiday cottages

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.