The British are a nation of gardeners, and when we are not tending our own, there is nothing we enjoy more than taking a look around someone else’s. Fortunately, the UK is blessed with hundreds of incredible gardens, many of which are accessible to those of us who use mobility scooters. Here is our guide to the best UK gardens.
The Eden Project
We had to start our round up of the UK’s best and most accessible gardens with one of its most unusual and well known. The Eden Project is a truly remarkable place to explore and happily much of it is completely accessible. It is divided up into a number different garden spaces, housed within huge biomes that even feature a rainforest canopy route which can be accessed by wheelchair users. It is fully accessible, beginning with three access designated car parks for Blue Badge holders. They also offer accessible Park and Ride buses, a member of the Eden Project team can also meet you to take you from the car parks to the centre itself if you need it. We were also really impressed by their access volunteers who are on hand around the site to offer any help you need. To discuss your visit, call the team on 01726 818558 or email them at [email protected]
One of the most famous gardens in the world, and with good reason. Kew attracts thousands of visitors every year who come to see its unsurpassed collection of plants. The team there have made a real effort to make as much of the experience as accessible as possible for all. All parking is free for Blue Badge holders, and there are eight designated parking spaces in the car park as well as three more to the right of the Elizabeth Gate on Kew Green. It is really straightforward to get around too – there are flat, tarmac paths throughout most of the gardens themselves. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to take your scooter into Kew’s iconic glass houses, but the team there do offer wheelchairs that can be used in these more confined spaces.
The Lost Gardens of Heligan
One of the most remarkable gardens in the UK, and an absolute must-visit for any gardener. The story behind these gardens is fascinating: they lay forgotten about for many years under the overgrown remains of this rambling estate. Since their rediscovery, the gardens have been restored to a state that gives visitors a real sense of the original vision that was laid out over 400 years ago. A large part of this historic site is accessible (with the exception of The Jungle and Wider Estate, which has more uneven paths and some steep slopes). The rest of the site is fantastic to explore, with over 13 acres of the Northern Gardens as well as the indoor attractions at the Hide and the Steward’s House. Take a look at their dedicated accessibility page here to plan your visit.
Exbury Gardens, New Forest
We’re huge fans of the New Forest anyway, but if you’re in the area and are looking to find a fascinating garden that is also fully accessible, then head to Exbury. The gardens themselves are huge, at over 200 acres, but thankfully there is also a small steam railway (with four accessible carriages) that will help you to navigate the site. The highlight for us is the Rothschild Collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias and rare trees and shrubs: a riot of spectacular colour that is well worth exploring. The gardens have dedicated Blue Badge spaces at the front of the main car park and while you won’t be able to take your scooter onto every path there is an extensive network of accessible trails for you to explore.
The Trentham Estate
Because it has been created almost completely on one level, the gardens at Trentham are incredibly accessible for anyone using a mobility scooter or wheelchair. There is a handy map here and there are also 54 free disabled car parking spaces just by the main entrance and close to the Trentham Garden Centre. The gardens themselves are stunning (Alan Titchmarsh is a big fan!) and include the recently revitalised Italian Gardens and the wonderful Floral Labyrinth. At the heart of it all is the lake, designed by Capability Brown, that has an accessible path all the way around it.
About Quingo Scooters
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