From the iconic Stonehenge to the romantic ruins of Whitby Abbey, the UK is home to an array of incredible heritage sites. Today, many sites have been adapted for mobility scooter users, so there’s no need to miss out on a fascinating day trip at these stately homes, castles and famous ruins.
Accessible UK heritage sites
Blickling Estate, Norfolk
This imposing red-brick mansion can be found in the peaceful Norfolk countryside. Surrounded by magnificent gardens in the Bure meadows, Blickling Estate is a truly spectacular heritage site. Explore the estate’s remarkable history and immerse yourself in the beauty of this historic site. The estate has made a great effort to create accessibility to most of the building and grounds with paths in the garden is mostly gravelled and a new all-weather path around the wider estate which will make it easier to travel around more of the park. There is a ramped entrance to the ground floor of the hall and a lift is available to the first floor. Accessible toilets can be found in the main car park, East Wing and near the plant centre.
Set in tranquil landscaped gardens, Kenwood sits on the edge of Hampstead Heath. Kenwood House was first built in the early 17th century and transformed into a neoclassical villa for William Murray, the first Earl of Mansfield, in the 1770s. With a world-class art collection, a café and impressive interior décor to admire, Kenwood offers a regal day out in London. The house is accessible throughout the ground floor, including the painting collection, and a platform lift provides access to the upper floors and lecture theatre. Seven disabled parking bays are available, as well as accessible toilets, and there is a buggy transfer to the house if needed.
Rievaulx Abbey, Yorkshire
Rising from a beautiful valley in the North York Moors, the ruins of Rievaulx Abbey are truly breath-taking. Once one of England’s most powerful Cistercian monasteries, the abbey offers visitors the chance to explore its fascinating past. There is access to most of the site for mobility scooter users and a lift is available to the upper floor of the museum. There are two disabled bays in the car park and two extra spaces within the site gates for busy days. Accessible toilets are also available on-site.
Pendennis Castle, Cornwall
Overlooking the Cornish coast in Falmouth, Pendennis Castle is one of Henry VIII’s finest fortresses. The castle defended Cornwall against foreign invasion in Tudor times. Pendennis Castle’s captivating exhibition leads you through its history as part of Fortress Falmouth during the First World War. Laura Jarman, property supervisor at Pendennis Castle, said: “We have several disabled access parking spaces on site, so this allows visitors easier access as the main car park is approximately a 5-minute walk and has several steps. The castle buildings, shop, Discovery Centre, Royal Artillery Barracks and toilets all have flat surfaces or ramps at the entrances.”
The Discovery Centre has an interactive interpretation and information about the history of the castle. The barracks house a tearoom and an exhibition on WW1 upstairs, which can be accessed by lift. The main parade ground has flat tarmac paths which are suitable for mobility scooter users.
Laura added: “English Heritage has created an access guide, with the aim of making our properties accessible to all. These guides can be collected from any of our sites and provide information on properties across England.”
Brodsworth Hall and Gardens, Doncaster
Step back in time at Brodsworth House, a magnificent Victorian country home. Built in the 1860s, this grand property and its stunning landscaped gardens was created for the Thellusson family and their servants. The gardens have been lovingly maintained and very few changes have been made to the house itself, making it a truly authentic piece of history. The entire ground floor of Brodsworth Hall is accessible for mobility scooter users and there is lift access via the original Victorian lift to the first-floor family bedrooms. Explore the gardens over tarmac paths to take in the glorious surroundings. There are five disabled parking spaces right outside the hall and accessible toilets on-site.
Whitby Abbey, North Yorkshire
The haunting, romantic ruins of Whitby Abbey were the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s gothic tale, ‘Dracula’. Perched high on a clifftop with panoramic views over North Yorkshire, it’s easy to see why Whitby Abbey attracts so much attention. The site has been made accessible for mobility scooter users with a designated route of the site, however it’s worth noting that the grassy area surrounding the abbey may be inaccessible in wet weather. There is also ramped access to the visitor centre, which offers lift access to the monument and grounds. Two disabled parking bays are available, as well as accessible toilets.
As one of the best-known prehistoric monuments in Europe, Stonehenge attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. Visitors relish in the opportunity to explore the ruins of this ancient structure, built in the Neolithic period. Stonehenge now offers an outstanding exhibition and visitor centre displaying 250 ancient objects found on the site. There is ramped access at the entrance and a paved path on one side of the ruins, making the area accessible for mobility scooter users. There are also 22 disabled parking bays available as well as accessible toilets in the visitor centre and an emergency disabled toilet nearer to the stones.
Eastbury Manor House, Essex
Surrounded by tranquil gardens, Eastbury Manor House is a beautiful Tudor gentry house. Built in 1573, little has changed, making this a uniquely original heritage site. Admire early 17th century paintings and the beautiful landscaped grounds. The National Trust has made a considerable effort to make Eastbury Manor House accessible. There is a ramped entrance to the ground floor and a lift is available to other floors of the house. The only area not suitable for mobility scooter users is the top floor of the turret. The grounds are fully accessible and there is an adapted toilet on the first floor. Disabled parking is available.
Tatton Park, Cheshire
Tatton Park is a grand estate set in 1000 acres of deer park. With over 50 acres of landscaped gardens and a stunning neo-classical mansion, there’s plenty to see at Tatton Park. It is one of the most complete historic estates open to visitors today. Mobility scooter users can enjoy access to the mansion’s ground floor as well as the grounds via an accessible route. There are accessible toilets available at the farm, the old hall, Knutsford entrance and near the house and gardens at the stable yard, as well as limited disabled parking spaces.
Beningbrough Hall, Gallery and Gardens, York
Beningbrough Hall is a unique heritage site, built in an Italian-style baroque design in the 18th century. Explore its fascinating history, including stories of its many owners who helped to shape the estate. Part of its history includes a partnership with the National Portrait Gallery, so visitors are invited to admire a collection of 18th century portraits within the house. There is lift access to all floors of the property and the grounds are mostly accessible over flat, paved paths. Disabled parking bays are available in the main car park and there are adapted toilets in the stable block and the first floor of the house. Visitors can borrow electric wheelchairs or push wheelchairs free of charge to help make their day more comfortable but are advised to call ahead to reserve them.
Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire
The atmospheric ruins of Fountains Abbey are nestled in the North Yorkshire countryside. The abbey was established by monks and offers a window into the past. Admire its lush green lawns and look out for deer roaming the grounds. Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden is mostly accessible to mobility scooter users. There is level access into the abbey and mill from the visitor centre and an accessible route map is available for the grounds. Designated parking is available at the visitor centre and West Gate and adapted toilets can be found at the visitor centre, tea room and near Fountains Hall and Studley Royal car park. Mobility scooters are also available on-site if needed.
Osborne House, Isle of Wight
With its ornate façade and opulent interior décor, Osborne House could only be part of the Royal Family. Osborne was Queen Victoria’s regal holiday home. Visit Victoria and Albert’s private apartments via a lift to the first floor and admire the garden terraces overlooking the Solent. Osborne House’s spectacular gardens are accessible with tarmac and impacted gravel paths. There are 12 disabled parking bays and accessible toilets available.
Muchelney Abbey, Somerset
Once a landmark of the Somerset Levels, the walls of Muchelney Abbey hold many stories. It was once a wealthy Benedictine house and the second oldest religious foundation in Somerset. Sadly, as part of the dissolution, the abbey’s main buildings were demolished by Henry VIII in 1538. The 16th century abbots’ house is still intact with grand rooms containing original artefacts found on the site. The whole of the ground floor and the grounds are accessible for mobility scooter users and ramps have been installed where possible. Two designated disabled parking spaces and accessible toilets are available on-site.
Hailes Abbey, Cotswolds
Built in the 13th century by the Earl of Cornwall, Hailes Abbey a delightful setting for a sunny afternoon outdoors. Set in the rolling Cotswold countryside this impressive structure was once the centre of monastic life. Pack a picnic and immerse yourself in the history of this spectacular abbey. The site’s museum is on level ground and easily accessible and there are ramps to the abbey and grounds. It’s easy to venture through the site on gentle grass slopes and there are accessible toilets available, as well as disabled parking.