The UK, at this present moment, has 69 different cities, some more popular than others. London has a population of approximately seven million, whereas the UK’s smallest city, St Davids, in South-West Wales, plays home to a mere 1600 people. As each of these 69 cities attempt to edge each other out on the leaderboards of best city to visit, they are all becoming a stand-out destination for tourists.
In 2019, the sign of a good city is how much it can offer in terms of catering for each type of visitor. Accessibility has proved to be a major talking point over the past number of years, particularly with the development and growth of Trip Advisor. No matter where a guest goes, they should have the right to enjoy themselves and indulge in the sights like everyone else.
That said, with the help of Lookers, who have a variety of new cars for sale, we’ve picked our top three most accessible cities in the UK, and what you can do while you’re there.
In 2017, thanks to a concentrated effort on development and diversity over several years, Chester became the first UK city to win the coveted European Access City Award.
The City Walls
Undoubtedly Chester’s most stunning piece of scenery. If a wheelchair user visits most major historic attractions throughout the world, they often are forced to concede in giving up on it. This is because making alterations to a historic structure is often impossible, in a bid to reserve its originality. In Chester however, the walls are surrounded by a mixture of gentle sloping paths, and on occasions where wheelchair access isn’t available for heritage reasons, additional handrails have been positioned.
The concept, which may seem confusing to someone who hasn’t seen it before, is exactly what you think it is. Shops on top of shops might be an ever-present feature in shopping centres in the 21st century, however, the Chester Rows have been around for 700 years. Nowadays, you will find designer labels but back in the middle ages, iron mongers and shoe makers would have made their money here.
In order to get to the second level of shops, usually visitors would take the stairs, however a ramp has now been installed, providing full wheelchair access throughout.
If you’re struggling for inspiration for somewhere to visit this summer, then look no further than Scotland’s largest city. Although its sister, Edinburgh, may boast the castle and the beautiful Royal Mile, Glasgow is by no means behind the capital city. Deemed as one of the most accessible cities in the UK, the cultural hub offers a vibrant buzz like no other.
Thanks to the Clyde, and Glasgow’s relationship with ship-building, much of the city is flat. The shopping scene is no different and offers so much more than most of its UK counterparts in terms of variety. Argyll Arcade is the ideal choice if you’re looking to take advantage of the chic antique jewellery options on offer. Whereas the St Enoch Centre on the other hand, hits the 21st century with bang. Both shopping centres offer wheelchair access and similarly smooth-covered flooring to allow ease of movement.
Unlike most other major attractions in the world that require climbing thirty steps before even getting a glimpse of a view, the Clyde has wheelchair access and is often resurfaced in order to make the journey as smooth as possible. Not only does this make the travel that slightest bit easier, it also allows you to take on the beautiful Glasgow quayside.
Scotland’s only dedicated accessible karting track, The Experience offers individuals the opportunity to race go-karts at up to 35mph. Not only is the entire building based on the ground floor, the company have also invested in hoists and slings to assist those with access issues get into the karts. Depending on your need, they can either race you round and you be the co-driver, or alternatively you can take the wheel yourself.
The Tall Ship at Riverside
Perhaps being on land isn’t your thing. If not, say bon voyage and climb aboard the Tall Ship. The tourist attraction, docked on the Clyde, has lift access on board, which allows you to reach the tea room in the deck below. Also, if you don’t have a car, there is a wheelchair accessible bus which runs throughout the day and stops less than 100m away.
Getting to Glasgow in the first place, just like your time when you’re there, is fairly stress free. Queen Street and Central are train stations slap bang in the middle of the city, while the two airports offering international travel are Glasgow and Prestwick.
The Northern Irish capital, despite years of little growth, has recently began to establish itself as a diverse, cosmopolitan British city.
Fast becoming renowned as one of the must-see tourist attractions throughout the UK, the Titanic Museum, which takes visitors through the iconic ship’s creation, is fully wheelchair accessible. Visitors can explore never before seen artefacts and experience the fascinating engine room replica.
The taxi service which runs through Belfast areas, such as the Falls and the Shankill, is the best way to learn about the Troubles. All cabs have wheelchair access and do pick-ups from the major transport links at Great Victoria Street or Laganside.
Known indigenously as the eighth wonder of the world, the rock formation on the North Antrim coastline provides some of the most breathtaking and idyllic scenery in the world. In recent years, a multi-million-pound visitors centre was established, and a wheelchair accessible bus now runs, transporting people down to the stones.
The number of bars within the city’s bustling nightlife area, the Cathedral Quarter, has increased ten-fold in recent years. With all the bars providing wheelchair access, and live music a staple on at least six nights a week, The Dirty Onion, the Duke of York and the Thirsty Goat, all exist as top-notch watering holes.
So, there you have it, a few popular options where you can head on your next jaunt, without having to worry about being restricted simply due to insufficient access.