Yorkshire is one of the UK’s most beautiful counties, providing a wonderful contrast of coastal areas, cities, and rural countryside. Yorkshire is also home to some brilliant attractions famous across the country. But how accessible are Yorkshire’s top attractions? Are they suitable for wheelchair users and those who use a stair lift at home? We have done the research and ranked 10 of Yorkshire’s most popular attractions to see which spots come out on top.
Read on to find out the results and to become introduced to these fantastic locations.
The Deep in Hull is a state-of-the-art, uniquely designed aquarium that features a wide variety of marine life, including sharks, rays, and tropical fish. It is a great attraction to visit in Yorkshire because it offers visitors the opportunity to learn about the marine environment and the creatures that live there in an interactive and engaging way. The aquarium is also designed to be environmentally friendly, making it a fun and educational destination for people of all ages.
The Deep is the most accessible of Yorkshire’s top attractions, receiving a perfect score from our study. Designed to be accessible for those with limited mobility, there are ramps and lifts throughout the facility, making it easy to navigate for those using wheelchairs or mobility scooters.
They have a number of wheelchairs available to loan to visitors who require them, and they also have a lift to take visitors to the different levels of the attraction. Additionally, The Deep has designated parking spaces for visitors who require them and an accessible toilet.
Learn more about The Deep’s accessibility.
The National Railway Museum in York is one of the largest railway museums in the world, showcasing a vast collection of trains and railway artefacts. People of all ages are able to learn about the railway’s history and its impact on society via the fascinating exhibitions. Visitors can explore the museum's collection of over 300 years of railway history, including famous locomotives like Mallard and Rocket, and take a ride on the miniature railway.
Sarah, from the blog Life Part 2 and Beyond, has been to the museum and shared with us what she enjoyed about visiting: “I would highly recommend a visit to the National Railway Museum in York. It’s free to enter and is a fun and interesting activity for all ages. I loved seeing the old steam trains and the royal carriage that Queen Victoria used. It’s a great day out and you don’t even have to be a train nerd to enjoy it!”
The National Railway Museum is one of Yorkshire’s best wheelchair-accessible attractions, scoring 9.2/10 on our accessibility score and ticking all the boxes. Wheelchair users can access all parts of the museum, and visitors will find both accessible toilets and parking available. The accessible parking bays are located just outside the entrance, and if these are full, there are free spaces for blue badge holders available on request.
Learn more about The National Railway Museum's accessibility.
Whitby Abbey is one of Yorkshire’s most famous and iconic attractions, which is visited by thousands of visitors every year. The Abbey was a 7th-century monastery turned Benedictine abbey, and its ruins sit on the North Yorkshire coastline overlooking the North Sea.
In the 20th century, it was named a Grade I listed building and is now cared for by English Heritage. People who visit this fascinating attraction can delve into its deep history, which includes Whitby Abbey being famously used in ‘Bram Stoker’s Dracula’.
Helen, who is the travel writer behind Helen On Her Holidays, says Whitby Abbey is a must-visit if you are in North Yorkshire: “Visiting Whitby Abbey is absolutely one of the best things to do in Whitby, and this site is one of the most historic in the north of England. The ruins you see today are around 700 years old, but there has been a settlement here on Whitby’s headland for around 3000 years.”
Whitby Abbey has disabled access, so visitors with mobility issues can safely visit this historic attraction. In fact, our guide found that it is one of the most accessible attractions in Yorkshire and scored 9.2/10 on our accessible score. There is full wheelchair access across the site, disabled parking and wheelchairs are even available to hire for visitors.
Learn more about Whitby Abbey’s accessibility.
Located in the heart of Leeds, Temple Newsam is a historic estate which is home to a variety of attractions that will keep the whole family entertained. There is a Tudor Jacobean mansion house that can be explored, a rolling parkland full of walking trails and a working rare breed farm where visitors can meet a variety of farm animals.
Jess, from the travel blog, The Travelista, is very familiar with Temple Newsam and shared with us how much she enjoys the attraction: “I was lucky enough to have Temple Newsam on my doorstep whilst living in Leeds, so it will always have a special place in my heart. My favourite thing about Temple Newsam is seeing it change through the seasons. The landscape transforms with every season and I have seen each one multiple times.
“From the blooming pink and purple rhododendrons in spring to the crisp autumn leaves in autumn and then a snow-filled winter wonderland. Temple Newsam is a breath of fresh air on the edge of a busy city. The grounds are free to enter, there’s a great kids’ playground and there’s also a lovely courtyard cafe. I’d also recommend paying to see the house if you have time.”
Temple Newsam is also one of the most wheelchair-accessible tourist attractions in Yorkshire, as it scored an impressive 9 out of 10. Although the entire estate isn’t accessible to visitors with a mobility problem, there are facilities such as accessible toilets and on-site disabled parking facilities available, as well as free entrance/discounted tickets available.
Learn more about Temple Newsam’s accessibility.
The Yorkshire Air Museum lies on the grounds of the original RAF Elvington World War Two aerodrome, and it offers people of all ages a great day out. It is one of the largest independent aircraft museums in the UK, and its collection of aircraft includes the only Halifax Mk III bomber in the UK, the iconic Hawker Harrier, Douglas Dakota, as well as the only Dassault Mirage outside of France.
During your visit to the museum, you will learn all about the different aircraft and how they have been used in missions all over the world before being retired. There is also a cinema where you will get to see footage of some of the aircraft in action during their heyday.
The Yorkshire Air Museum scored 9/10 in our research as it offers all but one of the facilities the study looked at, including wheelchairs being available to hire, accessible parking and toilets and a discount on tickets for wheelchair users and carers. So, if you are based in Yorkshire and are searching for ‘accessible attractions near me’, then the air museum should be towards the top of your list.
Learn more about the Yorkshire Air Museum’s accessibility.
The Yorkshire Wildlife Park is home to more than 400 animals and is regarded by many as the UK’s number one walkthrough wildlife adventure. The majority of animals you will see at the park are either endangered or threatened in the wild, but here you can enjoy walk-through areas and get up close to animals such as Wallabies and Lemurs.
Other animals that you can see at the wildlife park (but from a bit further away) include Amur Leopards, Polar Bears, Lions, Tigers, Giraffes, Rhinos, and Zebras. The wildlife park is the perfect attraction for families as there are indoor and outdoor play areas for children, plus cafes and shops where you can eat some food to refuel or pick up a souvenir.
Stacey, who is the writer behind the One Small Human blog, said the Yorkshire Wildlife Park has disabled access and is easy to get around.
She added: “The first thing we noticed is how wide the paths were – something that really does stand out for us with a buggy. It’s ideal for buggies and wheelchairs, but what it also meant is that as the park got busier during the day, it never felt crowded.
“We were surprised by just how many animals there were and how huge the park itself actually is.”
The wildlife park offers all of the accessibility features the study looked at and is fully accessible to wheelchair users. As a result, Yorkshire Wildlife Park received an accessibility score of 9.
Learn more about the Yorkshire Wildlife Park’s accessibility.
If you are on holiday in Yorkshire or you live in the county and are searching for ‘wheelchair-friendly places to visit near me’, then one attraction which will certainly feature is Castle Howard.
The 18th-century house has exquisite architecture and is filled with world-renowned collections. Inside guides are on hand to tell you all about the house and the family, whilst outside, there are guided tours that explore the lakes, statues, temples and fountains in the grounds of the house.
There is an 18th-century walled garden with a rose collection, and families will enjoy taking a ride on the land train to the adventure playground, summer boat trips on the Great Lake, and an illustrated children's trail.
Hannah, from the website, Get Lost Travel Blog, has been to Castle Howard herself and shared with us what she most enjoyed about the attraction: “My favourite part of any visit to Castle Howard is admiring the house. The grand rooms are beautifully decorated, and the Great Hall is especially breathtaking. There is also plenty of staff on hand who are very attentive and happy to answer questions, which adds a lovely personal touch to each visit. I’d definitely recommend a visit to Castle Howard. It is a spectacular building with so many things to see and do across the estate.”
Castle Howard received an accessibility score of 8 as it offers accessible toilets, wheelchairs are available to hire, and there is disabled parking available on-site. The only downside to the attraction is that Ray Wood is not suitable for wheelchair users.
Learn more about Castle Howard’s accessibility.
The Jorvik Viking Centre has a bit of everything and can be enjoyed by kids and grandparents alike. It is a must-see for visitors to Yorkshire and is one of the most popular visitor attractions in the UK.
Through interactive galleries and displays showing collections that date back thousands of years, you will be taken around the sights and smells of Viking-age York. The centre is actually located on a site where Vikings once lived, and you can find out all about this as you are taken back to the 1970s and the Coppergate Dig, which revealed some of the most incredible discoveries in modern archaeology. Other displays focus on York as a Viking-age city and some of the incredible artefacts on display, including jewellery, frying pans and even socks!
Clare runs the lifestyle blog Mudpie Fridays and “Jorvik Viking Centre York. If you are only going to do one museum while you are visiting the city of York, then make sure it is the Jorvik Museum. In our opinion, this is the best York museum.
“When we visited with the boys, they were aged 9 and 5. I did wonder if there would be enough to keep Harry entertained. He is most definitely not a museum kid. So, I was a little sceptical. On their website, Jorvik York suggests that you need about an hour and a half to see everything. So, I figured that if it went disastrously wrong, I could leave Charlie and the husband and take Harry for a sweet treat somewhere. But the Jorvik Viking Centre nailed it. Completely.”
The centre is a very accessible attraction, and it received an accessibility score of 7.7. It offers all the accessibility facilities the study looked at except for on-site disabled parking.
Learn more about the Jorvik Viking Centre’s accessibility.
York Minster is one of the world’s most stunning cathedrals and it is steeped in history, having been at the centre of Christianity in the north of England since the 7th century. The architecture is renowned as the ancient building is home to handcrafted stone and medieval stained glass.
Lynne Nieman, a travel addict and photographer who runs her own blog called Wander Your Way, has visited the cathedral before, and she explains that it is a must-visit attraction: “No visit to York, England is complete without a visit to the York Minster. A minster is simply a large and important church, typically a cathedral, in England and was often built as part of a monastery. The York Minster is definitely worthy of your time. In fact, it really is one of the best things to do in York.”
“I love architecture — especially old architecture. You know, ancient Roman or Greek, Renaissance, Gothic, Georgian, Romanesque.
“I’m not a fan of most modern works, to be honest. So this Gothic cathedral is one that I really appreciate. York Minster is actually the 2nd largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe. It is very impressive.”
Being such an old building, it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that the cathedral only scored 6.6 in the research as it isn’t fully accessible to wheelchair users, and there is no on-site disabled parking.
Learn more about the York Minster’s accessibility.
This award-winning museum offers a fascinating insight into more than 400 years of history in York’s past which ranges from Jacobean dining rooms being recreated to the world-famous Kirkgate - a recreated Victorian street. The interactive galleries at the York Castle Museum bring the past to life, and here you will learn about the York Castle Prison and some of the thieves and murders who were imprisoned here, as well as take a trip back in time and rediscover some of the most popular toys from years gone by.
Of the most popular attractions in the county, the York Castle Museum received the lowest accessibility score of 6.3. This score is a result of the museum not being fully wheelchair accessible, not offering on-site disabled parking and no free entrance or discounted tickets being offered to carers.
Learn more about the York Castle Museum’s accessibility.
Looking at 10 of Yorkshire’s most popular attractions as recommended by Google’s ‘things to do’ in Yorkshire feature, we assigned a score out of 10 to each attraction based on how they performed against different accessibility criteria.
The accessibility criteria we looked at were:
You can see the full findings, scores, and resources used in this Google sheet.
This guide has taken a look at the accessibility of the most popular attractions in Yorkshire and has revealed the facilities they offer and any that they don’t to visitors using a wheelchair or who suffer from a mobility issue. If you have limited mobility and are looking for accessibility solutions like curved stairlifts, please get in touch.
For more accessibility guides, data-led content, and mobility articles, make sure to visit our news page.