Here we are going to take a look at some of the most popular mobility scooter accessible attractions in Leeds. Leeds is a bustling and prosperous city with a great deal to offer the visitor in terms of shopping, culture, nightlife, activities, gardens and more. We’ll give you an idea how to reach each attraction from Leeds station, bear in mind that some prior planning may be required for mobility scooters users on public transport. Lastly, there is some guidance about mobility scooter access issues at each attraction. While there are legal obligations for businesses and public places to have an access plan in place, occasionally there are limitations due to the nature of the building or grounds that make full access more difficult.
Here are the Top 10 Mobility scooter accessible Leeds attractions
Royal Armouries Museum
Situated close to the River Aire, by the docks right in the city centre, it is less than a mile from Leeds station and although there are numerous bus routes available none go direct all the way. If you are using a mobility scooter you are better off riding. The ‘walking’ time is much the same as the various public transport options (15-20 minutes). The museum is ranged over five floors with lift access to all floors and sloped access at the entrance. The only area which is not fully mobility scooter accessible is the “Tilt Yard” where displays such as jousting take place. The museum houses over 70,000 items from Britain and around the world with a busy programme of events.
They offer a discount for those who travel by bus (T&Cs apply). To get there walk/scoot (10-15 mins) along Briggate to New Briggate and take the 36 bus (every 10 mins at peak times) to Harewood village. The house is a grade 1 listed building built in the 18th century with many fine paintings, sitting in 1,000 acres of grounds laid out by “Capability” Brown. There are provisions to accommodate wheelchair and scooter users, however, there are some limitations. The grounds are naturally sloping so, although all paths are tarmac, manual wheelchair users will need a strong pusher. There are wheelchair lifts for access to the house; these cannot take powered wheelchairs or scooters, but they can supply you with a regular wheelchair during your visit.
This is among Europe’s largest city parks, at over 700 acres. It is owned and managed by Leeds City Council and receives nearly a million annual visitors. The numbers 2 & 12 run at up to ten-minute intervals from New Briggate, a 10-minute walk/scoot from Leeds Station. Tropical World (entry fees apply) houses the 2nd largest collection of tropical plants after Kew Gardens, there are formal gardens; Friends of Roundhay, Canal, Monet, woodland areas, two lakes, a castle folly and the mansion house. Much of the park was improved to make it wheelchair and mobility scooter accessible thanks to a heritage grant, so you will find tarmac paths and manageable gradients. Visitors to Tropical World can borrow wheelchairs and indeed, wheelchair users can hire a mobility scooter to use in the park.
Kirkstall Abbey is a Grade I listed ruined Cistercian monastery set in public parkland. Founded in the 12th century and disestablished under Henry VIII, it has recently had a £5.5 million facelift including a new visitor centre. Getting there is easy; take the 33, 33a or 757 bus from Wellington Street by Leeds station, direct to Kirkstall Abbey, journey time around 20 minutes. Entry to the abbey is free and there is plenty to see as well as the 60-acre grounds. There is a charge for the nearby abbey museum, housed in the gatehouse. Access is generally good with most outdoor paths being wheelchair accessible and all areas of the abbey on the ground floor, although there are some cobbled areas. Wheelchairs are available for visitors to borrow.
RHS Garden Harlow Carr
The Royal Horticultural Society operates gardens in various parts of the country and you can always expect to find a wide variety of plants and landscapes. The alpine house, winter walk, streamside and the hedgehog-friendly garden are among the attractions of this 60-acre garden. Harlow Carr is located just outside Harrogate, so a mainline train from Leeds will take you to Harrogate station where you can take the 6 or X6 bus. Most of the garden is mobility scooter accessible with mainly tarmac paths and alternative ramps, but a few areas may be off limits to wheeled vehicles.
This former textile mill built by Sir Titus Salt in 1853 was once the largest industrial building in the world. The grade II listed building is now an art gallery, shopping centre and restaurant complex. Among the many highlights and attractions are paintings by local artist David Hockney. Getting there from Leeds station is easy, with main-line trains running every 30 minutes to Saltaire. The building ranges over several floors with lifts available, with full mobility scooter and wheelchair access.
Leeds and Liverpool Canal
You probably won’t be surprised to learn this is a canal which connects Leeds with Liverpool, over 127 miles and through 91 locks across the Pennines. It starts right beside Leeds station where it connects with the River Aire and then runs parallel to the river in a broadly westerly direction past the previously mentioned Kirkdale Abbey and Salts Mill and well beyond. The old towpath offers opportunities for miles of pleasant walking/scooting in and beyond the city centre, enjoying the tranquillity of the water. Access is generally good with mostly tarmac towpaths and sloped entry points. Locks inevitably involve some quite steep gradients.
Leeds Kirkgate Market
Kirkgate market is one of the largest covered markets in Europe with some 400 indoor and 200 outdoor stalls attracting over 100,000 visitors a week. With plenty of unique traders as well as familiar names and every conceivable kind of food on offer this is a shopper’s paradise and being right in the heart of the city it is less than half a mile along Boar Lane, Duncan Street and Call Lane, past many more shops. Access is not a problem with the market is entirely on one level and wide aisles between stalls.
Leeds City Museum
Although originally opened to the public in 1821 the museum was effectively closed in 1965 and it is only thanks to lottery grants that it finally reopened in 2008 and is housed in the former Leeds Mechanics’ Institute building. It is arranged in several galleries; Life on Earth, Ancient Worlds, World View and Leeds Story. The most famous exhibit is an oversized tiger which says more about our Victorian heritage than it does about tigers. The easiest way to get here from Leeds Station is to walk/scoot just under half a mile north along Park Row. The entire museum is fully accessible with lifts to all floors and alternative ramps where there are steps. Lifts can accommodate up to two wheelchairs which may, in practice, mean only one mobility scooter.
The Emmerdale Studio Experience
Fans of the long-running ITV soap, Emmerdale will not want to miss out on the chance to look round the sets of the former ITV studios in Burley Road. There is also an outdoor tour of the village location set which is actually on the previously mentioned Harewood estate. Getting to the studios is fairly easy with numerous bus routes from Leeds station, including the 19 and 757. The studio tour is mobility scooter accessible for scooters up to 80cm in width. Wheelchairs have full access to all parts, but they can normally only accommodate one wheelchair per tour. For those visiting the outdoor set at Harewood, there are no restrictions but there is some rough terrain, e.g. grassed areas and gradients to negotiate so scooters with pneumatic tyres and suspension will fare better. Wheelchair users would need a physically fit assistant.