Across Hampshire, there are plenty of attractions that have made special efforts to welcome people with mobility problems or disabilities. Age Space have put together our top 5 accessible days out for the whole family to enjoy. Whether your interests lie in wildlife, culture or history, there is sure to be something suitable for your family in Hampshire.
You may also be interested in Cultural Delights for the Elderly in Hampshire.
- Marwell Zoo, Winchester
- Mayflower Theatre, Southampton
- Exbury Gardens, New Forest
- Model Village, Isle of Wight
- Historic Dockyard, Portsmouth
Marwell Zoo, Winchester
Marwell Zoo is situated in the Winchester countryside, just 3 miles from the M3. The 140 acre site has hundreds of animals – including giraffes, tigers and penguins. In addition there is a train ride, 4 adventure playgrounds, daily talks and animal feeds. With a range of services and facilities to make the site accessible, the Zoo provides the perfect Hampshire family day out.
Marwell have 2 rows of accessible parking spaces in the main car park, close to the entrance of the zoo.
Guide and assistance dogs are welcome on site, although in a few areas access is restricted due to the sensitive nature of there being animals. The zoo does not accept guide or assistance dogs in training. For more information see their assistance dog map and factsheet.
Wheelchair and Scooter Hire
A limited number of free manual wheelchairs are available for to hire. To reserve a wheelchair for your visit call 01962 777407. Marwell recommend booking early and require a minimum of 24 hours notice. A £20 refundable cash deposit is required at the beginning of the day.
Exhibits are specially designed with alternative viewpoints. The Marwell Zoo Access Guide provides more information on level access, visual and hearing impairments.
One free carer is admitted per paying guest with accessibility needs (see all Ticket Prices as prices vary seasonally). Proof of your caring role is required, and the following are accepted:
- Gateway cards
- Compass cards
- Letters from Disability Support Services
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP) letters
- Appropriate Travel/Leisure Cards
- Blue Badges (although these should be left in your vehicle)
If you don’t have any of the above, you can contact the team before your visit and they will advise you on what to do.
Marwell Zoo Website
Telephone: 01962 777407
Address: Marwell Wildlife, Thompsons Lane, Winchester, SO21 1JH
Mayflower Theatre, Southampton
The Mayflower Theatre in Southampton, which first opened in 1928, hosts first-class entertainment. Musicals, opera, ballet and comedy are all shown on stage. Furthermore, there is an award winning restaurant on site to enjoy pre-show lunch and dinner.
Access and Drop-offs
The theatre is located Central Southampton, hence there is no on-site parking. However, a lay-by, directly next to the Accessible Entrance, allows cars to drop off disabled passengers.
Accessible Seating and Mobility Facilities
The theatre offers seats with unobstructed leg room for wheelchair users, elderly visitors and their carers. There is an accessible entrance and accessible toilets on site. Lifts are in place to ease mobility around the building.
Discounts for Disabled Visitors and Carers
The theatre offers a Access Membership Scheme with discounted tickets and more.
For customers who are deaf or have hearing impairments, there are special performances with amplification, sign language and captions.
View Upcoming Performances and filter by type of performance.
For customers who are blind or have visual impairments, the theatre offers close-up seating, audio described performances, site visits and touch tours. Touch tours give visually impaired customers the opportunity to familiarise themselves with elements of set, props and costumes before seeing a show. To book a place on a touch tour you can contact the box office on 02380 711811.
For customers living with dementia, relaxed performances offer different attitude to noise and movement and small changes are made to the light and sound effects. View Upcoming Relaxed Performances.
Box office opening hours and theatre opening hours are show dependent. Click here to be redirected to their website for booking information and what’s on at the moment.
Exbury Gardens and Steam Railway, New Forest
The 200 acre park at Exbury, boasts beautiful woodland and riverside. The gardens transform seasonally and are perfect for green-fingered enthusiasts to explore. Railway lovers can also experience the sights and sounds of a working narrow-gauge steam railway.
Parking bays for blue badge holders are available at the front of the main car park nearest to the Visitor Entrance.
All dogs are welcome to visit Exbury Gardens as long as they are kept on a lead!
Free Wheelchair Hire
Exbury provide a limited number of non-motorised wheelchairs free of charge. They are available on a first-come first-served basis from the Visitor Entrance.
Exbury has a chauffeur-driven buggy service for those with mobility limitations. Tours cost £5 per person and follow a set route around the gardens.
Buggies operate as a timetabled service on a first-come, first-served basis. Queues can sometimes be expected, particularly in May and June.
More information on buggy-guided tours.
There are no concessions for elderly people, but you can buy family, railway and buggy tickets.
Daily from 10am – 5.30pm (last entry 4.30pm).
The gardens open in late March and close for the winter in early November each year. View exact dates to plan your trip.
Telephone: 02380 891 203
Address: Exbury Gardens, The Estate Office Exbury, Southampton, SO45 1AZ
Model Village Godshill, Isle of Wight
The Model Village at Godshill was established in 1952 and is one of the oldest attractions on the Isle of Wight. The model village mirrors Godshill in the fifties on a smaller scale with impressive attention to detail. The attraction has been highly praised and recommended by Grand Design’s Kevin McCloud. There is also a gift and coffee shop with highly renowned cakes.
There is a marked disabled parking area opposite the Godshill Village Shop. This is on the same side of the road as the Model Village and offers a flat surface into the entrance. The nearby council-run car park, opposite the Griffin Pub, also has disabled spaces.
Guide and assistance dogs are welcome, as long as they are kept on a short lead.
The site is wheelchair accessible all the way around the village. Where there are stairs, there are also ramps. The shop, cafe and toilets are all wheelchair accessible.
Godshill always opens at 10am but closing times vary from 4pm-6pm depending on the time of year.
Godshill is open from early March to early October. View exact dates to plan your trip.
Telephone: 01983 840270
Address: The Model Village, High Street, Godshill, Isle of Wight, PO38 3HH
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
A visit to the famous Dockyard at Portsmouth takes you on a journey through naval history. You can go on-board historic ships and explore the museum explaining the Royal Navy’s past in Portsmouth. There are over 10 different attractions across the whole site to cater to different ages and interests. Where possible, accessibility measures or alternatives have been installed for those with limited mobility.
There are 15 disabled spaces available in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard car park approximately 400 yards from the main entrance.
Guide and registered assistance dogs are permitted around sites.
Special Access to Attractions
The Royal Dockyards have a Special Access Route in place. This gives ramp access to museums displaying all information about ships on sight. Higher floors of certain ships are inaccessible due to the nature of their age and design.
More information to plan your accessible visit.
Visual and Hearing Aids
Across the ships and museums on site, audio transcripts and large print texts are available on request for those with a visual impairment. Similarly, hearing loops can also be requested for those who are hard of hearing.
Cheaper tickets are available for seniors (65+). Prices are dependent upon how many attractions you want to do at the site on the day. Full Navy tickets (full access to every attraction) are 20% cheaper when booked online. Visit their ticket page for booking information.
Opening times vary depending on season and school holidays.
Portsmouth Dockyard Website
Telephone: 02392 839766
Address: National Museum of the Royal Navy, Visitor Centre, Victory Gate, HM Naval Base, Portsmouth PO1 3LJ