Accessible Attractions in Yorkshire

We’ve lived in Lincolnshire for over 40 years and during that time have visited many of the historic properties and attractions in Yorkshire. I jumped at the chance of writing an article about Accessible Attractions for Silver Travel Advisor as it was a good reason to revisit many places we’ve not been to for years.

With increasing age, and creaking joints we now look at them through different eyes. I have been struck by efforts made by so many places to cater for people with disabilities and how customer oriented they are. However many stately homes by their very nature do not have good disabled access as they are often steps to negotiate, uneven floors and narrow corridors.

The websites listed here include further information about accessibility and a phone call to a property before a visit is also a good idea, especially if you are wanting to book wheelchairs.

Brodsworth HallBrodsworth Hall
in South Yorkshire is a 19thC splendid Italianate building constructed for the wealthy Thellusson family of bankers. The ‘grand rooms’ on the ground floor were furnished for display and no expense spared. The last owner fought a losing battle against subsidence, leaking roofs and lack of money for 56 years. English Heritage have kept the house in the state in which they acquired it. It is an excellent example of the decline of a once great house.

There is disabled parking by the hall otherwise there is a golf buggy carrying visitors from the ticket office uphill to the house. They also loan wheelchairs. There is access to all of the ground floor and lift to the first floor although there are a few steps up to the servants quarters. There is ramped access to the shop and restaurant, but the toilets are a short walk from the house. Paths round the grounds are good and suitable for wheelchairs. Assistance dogs are allowed in the house. There is a slight reduction for seniors. Carers are admitted free.

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Beverley MinsterBeverley Minster
is slightly smaller than better known York, but architecturally is as good. It has been described as one of the best Gothic churches in Europe. The staff greeting visitors are friendly and very helpful. There is free parking in the Minster car park across the road and good disabled access with ramps. As well as being free, unlike York, you may have the building to yourselves. Visit on a sunny day when the sun streams in through the windows and the pale limestone glows in the light. It is a jaw dropping experience. There is a good shop, but no cafe. There are however, many eating places in Beverley.

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National Railway MuseumNational Railway Museum
is home to such iconic engines as Mallard, Flying Scotsman, City of Truro and a replica of The Rocket. There is a trainspotter lurking in most of us, especially those of us who have memories of the glory days of steam. Nostalgia rules strong here and there is something for everyone from locos to the Royal trains and even the table ware used. There is free disabled parking outside the main entrance. Wheelchairs are available for visitors and mobility scooters can be hired (advance booking recommended). Assistance dogs are allowed inside the museum. A large print map is available at reception on arrival, but they do not have any information in braille. There is no special provision for hard of hearing. Station Hall has level access with ramps up onto the platforms. However there is a slight step up into carriages and loco footplates. There are steps from reception to the Great Hall with a lift. This is small and there can be waits at busy times. If it is out of action, ask a member of staff to contact security for assistance. Inside the Great Hall there are ramps to the Bullet Train and the Chinese loco. Other locos have steps up to the cab. Information is placed at eye level for wheelchair users. There are lifts to the first floor. There are disabled toilets in all the main areas. There are two cafes and a shop. Entry is free.

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Keighley StationKeighley and Worth Valley Railway
and Oakworth Station are always associated with the 1970s film of the Railway Children. The railway is a delightfully preserved branch line which served the mills and villages of the Worth Valley. It is an attractive run between Keighley and Oxenhope with Howarth and its Bronte connections. As well as having an interesting selection of steam locos and diesel railcars, there is a very good carriage museum at Ingrow. There is car parking at most stations with a drop off facility if needed (except at Keighley). Ramps are available into stations, also on platforms and on the trains. Most steam train services have a coach which is adapted to be wheelchair friendly with wide doors and space for a wheelchair. Ask about this when booking a ticket. There is ramped access in the museum. Refreshments are available at Oxenhope and Keighley and disabled toilets at Oxenhope and Haworth. There is a slight reduction for over 60s and the disabled carer also travels at the concessionary rate.

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RHS Garden Harlow CarrRHS Garden Harlow Carr
near Harrogate is one of the big four gardens run by the Royal Horticultural Society and must be among the best gardens in the area with perennial borders, kitchen garden, stream side garden, display gardens woodland and wildflower meadows. There is disabled parking near the entrance. Manual wheelchairs and electric mobility scooters are available with advance booking recommended. Paths around the gardens are well maintained, although there are some quite steep slopes. There is a large restaurant, shop and plant sales (all accessible) at the entrance as well as a Betty’s cafe in the gardens. There are disabled toilets around the site. There is no reduction for seniors or the disabled, although a carer or companion is admitted free of charge for wheelchair users or visually impaired visitors. Induction loops are available for hearing impaired visitors. Access dogs are allowed in the gardens and all buildings.

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Fountains AbbeyFountains Abbey
is one of the great ruined abbeys of Yorkshire with its massive ruined church with cloisters and undercroft. Set in beautiful countryside on the banks of the River Skell, it is part of the Studley Royal Estate. The grounds were landscaped in the 18thC with ornamental lakes, canals, follies and cascades. Battery operated cars and wheelchairs are available for hire and it is recommended these are booked in advance. Disabled visitors are advised to use the West Car Park as there is level access to the abbey ruins and parkland. The Visitor Centre is at the top of a cliff with 1 in 5 slopes. There is a leaflet giving details of accessible routes. Many paths along the valley are gravelled. There is disabled access to the mill but not Fountains Hall. There are disabled toilets at the Visitor Centre and tea rooms. A mini bus runs a regular service between all three admission points and is able to take wheelchairs. There are no reductions for concessions, although a carer is admitted free. Assistance dogs are welcome.

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Ampleforth AbbeyAmpleforth Abbey
is a working Monastery set in the North York Moors. It is a delightful setting with lakes, woodlands and trails. Visitors can join the monks at prayer as well as visiting the abbey between services. There is a Visitor Centre with information about the abbey and monastic life as well as a shop and excellent tea room. It is wheelchair friendly. There is disabled parking by the entrance to the Visitor Centre. There is good disabled access to the visitor centre, shop and tea room. There is ramped access to the Abbey Church through the door by the small bookshelf in the main corridor. Access to the grounds is either from the car park or down a spiral ramp near the shop. There are paved paths to explore. Disabled toilets are in the main building. Hearing loops are available, Assistance dogs are allowed in the buildings. Entry is free.

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Eden Camp MuseumEden Camp Museum
is based in an old prisoner of war camp just outside Malton. It covers the military and social history of the second world war from the rise of Hitler and he Nazi party to life in a prefab after the war. Allow plenty of time for a visit as there is a lot to see. The site is fully accessible to all visitors and is on one level with no steps, ramps or lifts. Manual wheelchairs can be prebooked and they also have braille sheets and audio guides. Assistance dogs are welcome. The cafe provides hot meals and snacks or there are picnic tables to eat your own food. There is a slight reduction for senior citizens or the disabled.

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Ferens Art GalleryFerens Art Gallery
Hull has been declared City of Culture 2017. Ferens Art Gallery is one of the best small provincial art galleries displaying works from the European Old Masters to the present day, in ten different rooms. It is in the centre of Hull and there is some pay and display parking bays nearby. Access is by a ramp and there is a lift to the first floor. There is plenty of space in the different rooms to manoeuvre a wheelchair and the shop and cafe are accessible. Entrance is free.

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•  Read more about other accessible attractions in Yorkshire
•  Read more about Accessible Attractions in Great Britain

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