The UK’s most accessible gardens to visit this summer

July 2017

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Summer has arrived, and with the warmer temperatures accompanying this time of year it is the perfect time to get out and visit gardens all over the UK.

Older people with mobility problems, who need new and modern stairlifts to get around their home, may struggle to get around a lot of gardens across the country, but here we take you through the most accessible gardens in the UK.

Canterbury Cathedral Gardens

Accessible Gardens say Canterbury Cathedral Gardens, which is open once a year in the last Spring Bank Holiday weekend, is certainly one garden to wait for.

There are six main gardens; The Archdeaconry, No 22, The Deanery, No 19, The Memorial Garden and No 15. All of the gardens are accessible for wheelchair users and those who need other walking aids.

Accessible Gardens, say, “All in all, despite the gardens being private gardens, access needs have been carefully thought about. I would recommend them to all - alas, you just have to wait until next year”.

Arley Hall's gardens

Arley Hall's gardens is easily accessible with a designated parking area with level access from the car park to the entrance.

Wheelchair access is available throughout most of the gardens and those with limited mobility can follow a designated wheelchair route. The gardens boast seating, but those with limited mobility will only be able to access the ground floor rooms of the house, although there is an album of photographs displaying the rooms from the upper floor.

The Arley Hall shop does have three manual wheelchairs and a motorised buggy to allow visitors to get around the gardens easily and visitors with assistance dogs are welcome throughout the attraction.

The gardens are open from 11am-5pm everyday until October and the hall is open on Tuesday's, Sunday's and bank holidays from 12pm-5pm.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

The Birmingham Botanical Gardens are one of the city's best attractions and the gardens offer something for everyone with its four stunning glasshouses boasting beautiful gardens, a rainforest and even an arid desert.

As well as the tropical house and arid houses, there is a subtropical and a Mediterranean house and a large lawn that is modelled on a Victorian public park set in 15 acres of landscaped greenery.

The attraction is flat and is easily accessible for visitors with mobility problems and those who need a wheelchair to get around.

Exbury Gardens

Beautifully located in the New Forest National Park, the Exbury Gardens and steam railway is based in a 200 acre site.

The gardens are renowned all over the world for its Rothschild Collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias and rare trees and shrubs. The earthly paradise is a great place to visit all year round and in summer it is an oasis of tranquillity.

The myriad pathways offer visitors views over the Beaulieu River and a 20 minute trip aboard the 12 ¼ inch gauge Steam Railway will amaze visitors of all ages.

The gardens offer a variety of facilities to help visitors with mobility problems and these include bays for blue badge holders in the main car park, free wheelchair hire, wheelchair access maps, carers for older people being able to visit for free, wheelchair-friendly carriages on the train and motorised scooters all being available. Chauffeur driven buggy trips are also available for people with limited mobility to allow access for all to the main areas of interest within the gardens.

Hestercombe Gardens

There is a new all-terrain mobility scooter available at Hestercombe Gardens, near Taunton, that enables visitors to go off-road and open up the whole garden to those who have difficulty walking.

The new mobility scooter is available through a new scheme that aims to open outdoor attractions across Devon to people with mobility problems.

Richard Mira, General Manager at Hestercombe, adds, “We have always worked hard to make the gardens accessible to all but the winding pathways and steeper sections of the estate have always been a challenge for anyone who has difficulty walking.

“With the Tramper (the new mobility scooter) we can safely give people independence to explore more areas of the beautiful gardens and woodland. The Tramper makes a real difference to our regular visitors from the Taunton area and those travelling from further afield.”

The gardens themselves are set within 50 acres, there is also a Victorian Shrubbery, the Georgian Landscape Garden and the Edwardian Formal Gardens on show to visitors.

Kew Gardens

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is London's largest UNESCO World Heritage site and it offers visitors unique landscapes, vistas and iconic architecture from every stage of the Gardens' history.

The gardens collection of living plants is the largest and most diverse in the world and the Victorian Palm House is one of Kew’s most recognisable buildings. Inside the iconic structure, the rainforest climate supports a unique collection of palms and other tropical species from some of the most threatened environments on Earth.

The gardens are also easily accessible with carers accompanying visitors and those that are registered blind or partially blind being able to visit the attraction for free. The gardens are flat and its tarmac paths mean those with mobility problems can walk around the gardens. The Treetop Walkway in the grounds can be accessed via a lift and Kew Gardens even offer tours for older people who have mobility problems.

Trentham Estate and Gardens

The award-winning Trentham Gardens are regarded as some of the finest in the UK and the Italian gardens boast a mile long lake.

Visitors will love seeing the tall bearded iris display perform with over 120 different cultivars providing a kaleidoscope of colour during this part of the year, while later on in the autumn the 70 flower beds will come alive.

Trentham is a highly accessible destination with the smooth terrain ideal for visitors with limited mobility and the large number of benches offering lots of area for people to sit down and relax. Wheelchairs are also available and the wide doorways around the gardens mean there are zero obstacles.

The Eden Project

The Eden Project is one of the most iconic gardens in the UK as the attraction, which is nestled in a huge crater, boasts huge biomes that are home to the largest rainforest in captivity as well as other contemporary gardens.

The Eden Project is an accessible attraction too with accessible parking spaces and toilets available, and manual and powered wheelchairs available to hire for free. In fact, the attraction is regarded in such high esteem for its accessibility that it won the Visit England Inclusive Tourism Award this year.

Those with limited mobility can even access the rainforest canopy walkway as it can be accessed by parents with buggies and wheelchair users. Visitors can even go ice skating with a wheelchair when the rink is open during the winter months.

Image Credit: Trentham Estate.

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