The UK’s stately homes are among some of the finest on the planet, and have been immortalised in countless novels, TV period dramas and films. They are also amongst the most popular places to visit in the country, particularly for those of us with limited mobility. It goes without saying that these are, by their very nature, old properties. This brings its own challenges for mobility scooter users in terms of accessibility. However, many of the UK’s best stately homes do a great job of opening these buildings up to as many visitors as possible. Here are our favourites.
Castle Howard, Yorkshire
One of the most impressive stately homes in the country, Castle Howard was first built in 1699 by the 3rd Earl of Carlisle. Subsequent earls have added to it over the years, leaving us with the spectacular building we have today, which is a mix of the Baroque and the classical Palladian styles. It is just as impressive inside and when you head into the entrance hall make sure you look up at the spectacular ceiling, which was painted in the 1700s by Venetian artist Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini. This beautiful house is also very accessible, with a stairlift to the main floor and access to the majority of the rooms. There is also plenty of parking outside, with designated Blue Badge spaces close to the house. Outside the house there is also plenty to explore, with a paved route to the cafés, shops and toilets. There are also lots of areas of the grounds that have gravel paths and so are fully accessible.
Chatsworth House, Derbyshire
Chatsworth House in the heart of the Peak District has been in the Cavendish family for 16 generations and it really is no wonder they have held onto this special place. This is a truly beautiful building, both in terms of architecture and the many works of art inside it. Within its walls you will find ancient Roman sculptures, Egyptian treasures and even paintings by Rembrandt.
Much of the house is also accessible, with a lift that gives you access to the whole of the visitor route. This is one of the houses where you won’t be able to take your electric scooter indoors with you, but the team at Chatsworth do have eight wheelchairs that are available for you to use. Give them a call on 01246 565430 to book one before you go. The gardens are perfect for exploring on your scooter however, and although there are a few steep slopes much of the grounds are accessible. There are reserved Blue Badge spaces for parking near to the entrance.
Hatfield House, Hertfordshire
Hatfield House is a real gem. It contains many treasures, not least an incredible portrait of Elizabeth I that is a wonderfully colourful tribute to one of England’s most famous queens. The house itself was built in 1611 by Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury and Chief Minister to King James I, and his family remain there to this day. The connection with Elizabeth I goes back to before the current house was built however, as it was the site of a palace that was once the young queen’s childhood home. There is wheelchair access to much of the house and a lift will take you to all three levels. The surrounding parkland is also well worth exploring and the roads are firm enough for most mobility scooters. There is also Blue Badge parking in the main car park close to George’s Gate.
As with all of the stately homes we’ve listed here it is a great idea to just give the team a quick call before your visit to discuss your individual requirements. Their number is 01707 287010.
Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire
The word ‘baroque’ might have been invented for Blenheim Palace. It has now been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and when you move through its spectacular state rooms it is easy to see why. The house was the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill and while there is plenty to see and learn about Britain’s wartime leader, Blenheim is also packed with one of most remarkable collections of portraits, furniture, sculpture and tapestries in the country. Much of the house and grounds is accessible too although they do recommend that you bring someone along with you to help you if you find manoeuvring a wheelchair or your scooter difficult (they will be admitted for free). There is designated Blue Badge parking close to the house and firm paths to the building. Inside the house there is lift access to the State Rooms (where you will be able to take your mobility scooter, as long as it weighs less than 350kg). There are also accessible toilets in the East Courtyard Visitor Centre, next to the Water Terrace Café and in the Pleasure Gardens.
Finally, it’s worth noting that not all the stately homes we’ve listed here will let you take your mobility scooter inside the house itself due to space restrictions, but they are all accessible by wheelchair if not with your scooter. Most of the properties we’ve listed do have their own wheelchairs available to use, but as always it is best to give the house a call before you visit to discuss your requirements.
About Quingo Scooters
The Quingo Scooter range features six models to suit your needs and budget. New models are now available from just £22/week on our new contract hire scheme which includes all servicing and maintenance, Insurance, Roadside Recovery, Call Outs and Consumables including Batteries and Tyres. For more information on this or the latest Quingo Scooter range, please visit our website. Alternatively, if you have any Service questions you can always contact us or call customer services on 01582 430 900.
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All Quingo Personal Mobility Vehicles are provided by Forever Active, the UK’s exclusive distributor. Forever Active is a trading name of Advantage Marketing Corporation Limited (AMC). AMC Limited is an appointed representative of First Senior Insurance Services Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. First Senior Insurance Services FSA Register number is 308478.