The UK’s many castles are a huge draw for visitors both from home and abroad, and the great news is that many of them accessible for all, even despite their great age. Here, Quingo Scooters takes a tour of the country’s finest.
We had to start with a castle that isn’t just one of the nation’s favourites, but also the one that the Queen herself calls home. Windsor Castle was first founded by William the Conqueror just after the Norman Invasion and since then 39 different kings and queens have lived there – although you probably won’t be lucky enough to see the Queen herself when you visit.
But, from the sumptuous State Apartments (which were intended to out-do the French king’s palace at Versailles) to the outfits worn by Harry and Meghan on their big day, there’s still plenty of fascinating royal history to explore. You will be able to visit most of the castle in your scooter or a wheelchair, although bear in mind the castle itself is at the top of a steep hill, and unfortunately the only disabled parking available is on Windsor High Street itself, a short distance from the castle. We’d recommend giving them a call before you visit on 0303 123 7324 to discuss any other needs you might have.
We’re heading north now, to Northumberland and the spectacular Alnwick Castle. This incredible place looks almost as if it could have come straight out of a Hollywood director’s sketch of what an English castle should look like, so it is no surprise that it has been the star of everything from Harry Potter to Blackadder over the years. Alnwick Castle has been home to the Percy family for 700 years, from Harry Hotspur, the first Earl, through to Ralph Percy who is the current Duke. The team there have done a great job of making as much of this ancient building as accessible as possible, with good access to the grounds, an accessible Castle Shop and Courtyard Café and a lift to the State Rooms. There are six Blue Badge designated disabled parking spaces on Castle Square in Alnwick, as well as at the nearby Denwick Lane car park.
Now for a castle that you can actually stay in. Cringletie House in Peebles, Scotland is now a hotel that has won awards for the effort that the team have put into making it accessible for all. Set in nearly 30 acres of stunning countryside only 50 minutes from Edinburgh, Cringletie House was first built in the 1600s, and while it fell into disrepair for some years, today it is still a wonderful example of Scottish baronial architecture. The team at Cringletie have made a number of rooms with en-suite bathrooms accessible for guests with mobility needs and you will also find ramped access to the entrance as well as the bar and restaurant too. There is also ample disabled parking.
Birds of prey, a dramatic castle and incredible Himalayan gardens: Muncaster Castle in the Lake District has it all. Unsurprisingly, given its location, it is hilly, but it is also generally accessible for those of us using a mobility scooter or wheelchair. The ground floor of the castle itself is accessible, and much of the magnificent estate has either tarmac or gravel paths, including the gardens, the Hawk & Owl Centre and the Meadowvole Maze. It’s a beautiful place in a wonderful setting (and like all the best castles, it even has its own ghost, known as ‘Tom Fool’, if the legends are to be believed).
General castle accessibility
Of course, all of these castles are ancient, historic buildings that are by their very nature often tough to adapt to modern needs. With that in mind, it is always best to just give the team at your chosen castle a call to see if there is anything that they can do to make access on the day of your visit easier. It may be that while some areas of the castle are usually out of bounds, with a little bit of notice they can plan ahead to accommodate visitors with different mobility needs.
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 30847