Accessibility features at South West attractions

Accessibility features at 5 South West attractions

To help make your day out just that little bit easier, we’ve written about the accessibility features available at some of our favourite attractions in the South West.

1. RHS Garden Rosemoor

Are you into gardening or do you just enjoy being surrounded by nature?

The RHS Garden Rosemoor, located in North Devon, boasts several themed gardens that highlight specific plant groups or horticultural styles. There’s a hot garden, rose gardens, model garden, cool garden, winter garden, and much more!

Visitors to RHS Garden Rosemoor can enjoy a range of amenities, including a well-equipped visitor center, a gift shop, and two cafes offering locally sourced food.

There are 22 accessible parking bays available from between 50m and 15m from the admission desk. There’s also a drop-off zone at the garden entrance and no curbs for ease. The doors are manual but are generally propped up during opening hours.

When entering the gardens, there are smooth access paths provided, and the visitor centre, garden centre, and restaurant are all on one level.

The gardens are accessible by hard-standing tarmac or bonded pea-gravel path, all of which are accessible by wheelchair. There’s also around 80 wooden benches across the whole site, perfect if you need to stop for a break. The woodland path isn’t suitable for wheelchair users, unless you have an all-terrain mobility scooter (a Tramper).

There are toilets available by the entrance, at The Garden Room, at the picnic kiosk in the car park, and at Rosemoor House.

There are hearing loops installed at the entrance, Lecture Hall and Peter Buckley Learning Centre for those with impaired hearing. There are also larger print maps for those with impaired vision.

2. Babbacombe Model Village

A visit to Babbacombe Model village involves viewing miniature exhibits from a pathway. It is self-guided and typically takes around two hours. There are a few indoor displays but most are outside.

The village is about four acres so it’s a lot bigger than people expect. The actual path around the outdoor gardens is about three quarters of a mile. But there’s plenty of seating areas at intervals in case you need a little break.

There are two disabled parking bays right outside the Model Village entrance which is part of a pay & display car park that serves all other amenities in the area. You can either pay at the machine or use the RingGo app – just make sure you stop it when you leave or you’ll be charged for the whole day!

Assistance dogs are also welcome throughout the park.

There are a few slopes around the garden which can be seen from the viewing terrace, so if you’re unsure or not confident that you’ll be able to make it around the park, you are able to request a refund within 10 minutes of admission.

Adults cost £13.50, Seniors cost £12.50 and Children cost £11.50.

Accessibility features at South West

3. Powderham Castle

Powderham castle is a manor house located in Kenton, Devon, about 6 miles south of Exeter.

You can explore the castle and the grounds. You can join one of the guided tours to hear all about the history of Powderham and the Courtenays that lived there. There’s a Secret Garden filled with animals like ponies and alpacas. They even offer goat walks which costs £10 for two people.

Powderham castle isn’t very accessible for a manual wheelchair, you may have trouble pushing one around at certain parts.

However, as part of ongoing work to make Powderham more accessible, they offer a Tramper for hire by all visitors. This is through a partnership with the award-winning Countryside Mobility initiative that has a network of 50 hire locations at natural attractions around the South West.

You can book a Tramper in advance by calling 01626 890 243 or by emailing to avoid disappointment. It’ll cost you £3 for a single use, or you can pay £5 for 2 weeks or £15 for a year. This allows you to use the Trampers from any of their other locations too.

Powderham castle also offers a quiet hour on Thursdays and Sundays between 2pm and 3pm. This is for visitors who would prefer to visit in a calmer environment.

There’s disabled parking for blue badge holders in the car parking fields closest to the castle. You can also be dropped off near the ticket gate and then park normally.

Accessibility features at South West

4. House of Marbles

From marbles, to classic toys, games, gifts and lot of books, the House of Marbles is a must-visit for everyone. There are marble runs all over the shop which are really fun to stare at. Their biggest marble run is actually located on the wall of the upstairs shop but can be viewed from downstairs if needed.

There’s plenty of mini museums to take a look at including a games museum, pottery museum, and of course a marble museum.

There’s also a glass studio which allows you to watch molten glass be shaped, blown, moulded, pinched, and cut into stunning pieces of glass.

In terms of accessibility features, there is reserved disabled parking right at the front of the building by the main entrance. There’s also additional disabled parking by the second entrance and a coach passenger drop-off point at the side of the building.

All areas on the ground floor are accessible by wheelchair, but the upstairs shop isn’t accessible by wheelchair users. Though most of the action happens on the ground floor anyway!

You’ll be able to visit the restaurant, the glass works, the toilets, the shop, and the museums.

House of Marbles is in partnership with Devon Carers which is an NHS service that helps support unpaid carers in Devon. They offer 10% off cake and coffee in their restaurant with a valid Devon Carer’s ID Card.

Assistance dogs are also welcome at House of Marbles, or if you’re bringing a non-assistance dog, they’re welcome too except in the main restaurant. There is also a games garden outside with dog water bowls if you’d like to enjoy food and drink with your furry friends.

5. Seaton Tramway

Have you ever ridden a tram before?

You need to visit the Seaton Tramway – it’s a great day out like no other!

The three-mile journey runs through East Devon’s Axe Valley, ending at the ancient town of Colyton, and takes about half an hour from end to end. It’s important to note that you must alight from the train on arrival but may return on any tram thereafter.

There’s wheelchair access on selected trams so you’ll need to call ahead of your visit and find out the accessible departure times.

There’s parking on site which is within about 50 metres of the attraction, or there’s also a drop-off point immediately outside the main entrance for easy access. Follow the signs if you require an access ramp.

And for access to toilets, the gift shop, information point, or any dining areas, there’s either level access, access by a ramp or lift.

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