How accessible are England’s top sights?
Read on for useful information about accessibility at favourite attractions in England from Stonehenge to Bath’s Roman baths.
The true meaning of this ancient stone circle and World Heritage Site is unknown, which makes a visit all the more special. The current site is accessible by wheelchair via a tarmac and grass path around the outer circle, and there is disabled parking. Assistance dogs are welcome and there are signs in Braille, as well as models of the stones for visually impaired visitors. A new visitor centre will be open in 2013, with new exhibition spaces, and plans state that all design elements will be considered in terms of access for all.
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If you’re a Harry Potter fan don’t miss a trip to the Warner Bros Studio Tour, to go behind the scenes of the films, see some of the costumes and elaborate sets, and marvel at a scale-model of Hogwarts that was built by the Art Department for the first Potter film. Where disabled visitors require assistance, carers enter for free, and assistance dogs are welcome.
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The Eden Project brings the world’s plant life together in one place, under two ‘biomes’ – enormous glasshouses – that showcase an enormous diversity of plant species. The Eden Project has very good access and was awarded the Readers Choice award in the Rough Guide to Accessible Britain awards in 2010. Friendly, well-trained staff can help with parking, information and access requirements and there are volunteers on hand to assist visitors around the project for free. There is a land train that avoids the need for walking and powered wheelchairs are available for hire (bookable two weeks in advance). Guide dogs are welcome.
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It can be hard to get tickets to see Manchester United play during the Premier League season, but one good way to get close to the action is through a stadium tour and visit to the museum. See the players’ dressing rooms, go through the tunnel onto the pitch itself and take in the Hall of Fame of the club’s most recognised players. The stadium has excellent facilities and is accessible throughout. A Disabled Supporters’ Booklet is available. There are plenty of spaces for wheelchair users plus companions, some of which have their own sockets for live commentary. It is best to call the stadium to book the tour, explaining any access needs.
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The Roman Baths in Bath offer the chance to follow in the footsteps of the ancients and learn about how they lived, worked and relaxed at some of the most impressive Roman remains in Britain. The baths are six metres below street level so the attraction isn’t entirely step free but staff can assist with the most accessible route through the site. The attraction recently won an Access For All award and has two new lifts, new tactile exhibits for visually impaired visitors, a British Sign Language audio guide and an inclusive guide in eight languages.
Read more about accessiblity at the Roman Baths