Britain is home to many historic buildings, gardens, coastlines, forests and villages. The National Trust works hard to preserve these places and spaces, allowing the public to enjoy them in all their glory. The vast majority of National Trust sites have some form of wheelchair access, and with this in mind we have put together a brief guide to some of England’s most accessible National Trust sites.
North East - Souter Lighthouse and The Leas
Souter Lighthouse at dusk – photo by National Trust
The north east of England is home to some of the best coastline in the country the area is a prime spot for stargazing on a clear night. The South Shields Astronomical Society holds regular events where visitors can enjoy the wonder of the night sky.
A striking Victorian Lighthouse, Souter was the first in the world designed and built to be powered by electricity. The Leas is a two and a half mile stretch of magnesian limestone cliffs and sweeping coastal grassland where you can catch sight of various local nesting birds, including guillemots, kittiwakes and cormorants. To the north of the lighthouse is Whitburn Coastal Park and Nature Reserve which is home to a variety of wildlife and a great place to visit especially for nature lovers.
Parking: Level access available from the main car park with a drop off point outside the shop entrance.
Accessibility: The building features a ramped entrance, wheelchair access to the tea room and one wheelchair available for temporary use. The grounds are accessible via ramp access at the entrance gates. There is also an accessible coast route from north to south of the property.
The Midlands - Kedleston Hall
Kedleston Hall – photo by National Trust
Located in the Derbyshire countryside, Kedleston Hall is a spectacular 18th century mansion framed by historic parkland. The imposing private palace houses an impressive collection of items that will really capture the imagination of all who experience them. From stunning 18th century dresses to grand portraits, extensive book collections and furnishings, the collections at Kedleston Hall help transport you back in time to the 1700s. You’ll witness the kind of sheer opulence that will leave you picking your jaw up from the floor. The mansion was also use as a key location for the Kiera Knightly film ‘The Duchess’, an impressive fact for those of you who are fans of trivia – or Kiera Knightly!
Parking: There are seven designated spaces for blue badge holders in the car park, and 3 additional spaces on collection of a permit from visitor reception. Accessibility: There is an accessible entrance to the ground floor and accessible picnic tables in the main car park.
London - Eastbury Manor House
Eastbury Manor House – photo National Trust
There’s more to the East End than, pie and mash shops, jellied eels and cockney accents! It is also home to plenty of historical sites, one of which is the striking Eastbury Manor House. Located in the heart of East London, Eastbury Manor House is a striking Elizabethan merchant’s house and gardens originally built as an isolated prison. The house has a rich history and several links to the gunpowder plot that are to capture the imagination of those who come to visit.
You can freely explore the many atmospheric rooms and the impressive walled gardens, whilst those visiting with youngsters can enjoy a variety of children’s events and activities on Family Day, the first Saturday of every month. We also highly recommend the garden tea-room where you can enjoy hot and cold drinks, sandwiches, snacks and some pretty tasty sponge cake.
Parking: Parking is available within the grounds. Accessibility: The grounds are fully accessible with a lift to the upper floors with the exception of the top floor of the turret.
East of England - Blickling Estate
Blickling Estate – photo National Trust
Norfolk - home to Alan Partridge, a stunning coastline and Blickling Estate. This magnificent Jacobean estate is one of the region’s most popular tourist attractions and is only a short drive away from some of the best beaches in the country. A visit to Norfolk wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the coast, where you can also enjoy some of the best fish and chips you’ll ever taste.
The estate itself was once home to Anne Boleyn’s family and it is bursting with history and character. The house features an extensive library, a beautiful garden and expansive grounds to enjoy with the family. A costumed interpretation group also helps bring history to life with a range of activities, providing entertaining lessons on the 400-year history of the estate that will put a smile on anyone’s face.
Parking: There is separate parking a short distance away from the estate. A drop-off point is available. Accessibility:The building features a ramped entrance making the entire ground floor accessible. A lift is available for reaching the first floor. A map of an accessible route around the grounds is available and there is a two mile circular route around the park suitable for wheelchairs.
Yorkshire - Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden
Fountains Abbey and Studeley Royal Water Garden – photo National Trust
Recently named one world’s top places to visit by the Lonely Planet travel guide, Yorkshire has a lot to brag about. Fountains Abbey and Royal Water Garden, the county’s first World Heritage Site, is located in 800 acres of stunning countryside and is home to a Cistercian abbey, an impressive Georgian water garden and a medieval deer park. One of the finest examples of 18th century landscaping, it’s no surprise that many people choose Fountains Abbey as a wedding venue.
The ruins of the magnificent 12th-century abbey will definitely excite the history lovers among you and the hidden passages and amazing views of the Yorkshire countryside make this beautiful, romantic site well worth visiting.
Parking: There is parking at the visitor centre and West Gate. Accessibility: A wheelchair accessible transfer vehicle takes visitors to all admission points.
This post is brought to you by Bentley Fielden, a leading supplier of access ramps and wheelchair lifts for those with mobility issues to individuals and organisations. As a family-run business we pride ourselves on being able to provide an access solution for everyone.