Pack up your TGA folding mobility scooter into the car and head out on a drive to one of these great, wheelchair-friendly attractions that are perfect for all the family:
The National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth, South Devon
The National Marine Aquarium, based in Plymouth, is the largest public aquarium in the whole of the UK. The attractions welcome more than 300,000 visitors a year to witness their fabulous exhibits of marine creatures. Make your way through the glass tunnel to see sharks and exotic fish swim above your heads or witness string-rays press up against the glass tank that spans a whole wall! There are a few character animals at the aquarium too, such as uShaka and Mandela, two Sand Tiger Sharks, Friday the Green Turtle and Neptune the Giant Pacific Octopus.
The aquarium entrance has disabled parking spaces and there is seating provided inside if needed. There are lifts within the attraction that also allow you to avoid walking any stairs. While many of the tanks themselves are positioned low enough to allow wheelchair users a good glance of what’s inside.
Tarka Trail, North Devon
Named after the renowned otter, Tarka, who shot to fame in Devon as the otter who starred in the book ‘Tarka the Otter’ by novelist Henry Williamson. The book, published in 1927, referred to the life of the otter who lived on the ‘Two Rivers’, also known as the River Taw and River Torridge in North Devon. Today, many key destinations in North Devon are linked together via the Tarka Trail. The wide pathway is wheelchair friendly, giving you a chance to get outside on a sunny day and enjoy some fantastic views in the area. One of the best sections runs between Bideford to Instow, as there are great views over the estuary and the town of Instow. In the summer you can also treat yourself to a Hockings ice cream that is parked by the beach. Make sure you are protected for the weather too – extra layers and hats and gloves in winter and sunscreen and sunhat in summer.
RHS Garden Rosemoor, Torrington, North Devon
Garden lovers will adore the RHS Garden Rosemoor near Great Torrington in North Devon. A wheel-chair friendly attraction, the gardens facilitate those with limited mobility by offering eight manual wheelchairs at the entrance on ‘on the day’ use or two powered mobility vehicles, all free of charge if you are a member of the Countryside Mobility South West Scheme.
The Eden Project, St. Austell, Cornwall
The botanical and conservation attraction has a wide range of things to see and do. Located in St Austell, Cornwall, the attraction boasts plenty of Blue Badge parking that allows for easy access to the greenhouse biomes. You can access the biomes by going over the bridge and down the lift; this is generally the shortest route, however, to avoid any walking it is best to take the land train there and back. There are plenty of slopes for wheelchair users that provide alternative routes to any stairs. You can even book powered scooters two weeks in advance to help you whiz around the gardens with ease. Once inside you can see exotic Mediterranean plants, in addition to herb and vegetable gardens, fruit trees and a vineyard in the Mediterranean Biome. (It even feels as warm as the Mediterranean!). While the Rainforest Biome allows you to witness what the jungles of South America look like, with huge trees that tower over you and informative displays on fair trade and deforestation.
If you’re looking for wheel-chair friendly attractions across Devon and Cornwall, these are just four of the best you can visit with your family or friends.