One of the things that truly sets Dorset apart from other destinations is its commitment to inclusivity and accessibility. It offers a range of activities, days out and experiences that can be enjoyed by all. If you have been searching for accessible things to do in Dorset, take a look through our list.
Museum of East Dorset
At the Museum of East Dorset, we understand the significance of inclusivity and ensuring that everyone can enjoy our museum. We are delighted to invite visitors of every age and capability, and we are dedicated to enabling access for all, irrespective of their abilities.
In order that everyone feels welcome we:
- Have a platform lift between the first and second floors
- Have ramp access throughout the museum and garden
- Have accessible toilets
- Have double door access to the garden
- Welcome assistance dogs in the museum and garden
- Have seating available throughout the museum
- Have a sensory safe zone (available by pre-booking only)
- Have Superhero sensory packs to borrow during your visit to keep your special Superhero calm (find out more here https://museumofeastdorset.co.uk/send/
There are 100 miles of beaches to enjoy in Dorset, some are more accessible than others. Here are some of the most accessible:
- Alum Chine, Bournemouth
- Bournemouth (main)
- Boscombe, Bournemouth
- Gundimore, Christchurch
- Avon, Christchurch
- Friars Cliff, Christchurch
- Sandbanks, Poole
- Shore Road, Poole
- Branksome Chine, Poole.
You can borrow beach wheelchairs with balloon tires from the beach offices in Bournemouth, Boscombe, Branksome Chine and Sandbanks to make it easier to access the sand. Each office has one wheelchair available from 9:30am to 4:30pm, from May to September. They are loaned on a first-come, first-served basis, and you need to provide a refundable £50 cash deposit.
Additionally, at Sandbanks and Boscombe beach, there are Mobi-mats available to assist wheelchair users in moving from the promenade to the sand and closer to the sea. These mats are in place from May to September.
Swanage and Boscombe beach also have availability to accessible beach huts and you can hire these out here:
- Swanage: https://beachhuts.swanage.gov.uk/
- Boscombe: Call 01202 123800.
Located near Wareham in the Purbecks, most of Monkey World is accessible for disabled visitors the only exception is the Woodland Walk, as it has uneven ground. In a few areas of the park there are some uneven surfaces which may be difficult for manual wheelchair users. The park has several disabled parking bays and you can hire wheelchairs and mobility scooters which can be delivered to the park on your visit.
Both children’s play areas have wheelchair swings, there are two reclining chairs at the great ape play area, and the two bird nest swings can be used by wheelchair users too.
Monkey World also provides 3 sensory statues and a written Keeper Talk for those who have hearing and visual impairment, but do contact the park before visiting or you can find more information on other access they provide here: https://monkeyworld.org/visit-the-centre/disabled-facilities/
Book your tickets here https://monkeyworld.org/
Accessible Boat Trips
Various watercraft and boats can be rented or chartered in Dorset, but there are a few noteworthy options suitable for people with limited mobility, as well as their friends and families.
- At Wareham Boat Hire on the River Frome, you can hire or charter a boat with a Skipper for up to 8 people. The ‘Wheelyboat’ offers hassle-free roll-on and off access, a flat deck that allows access to all areas of the boat, an accessible helm or drive-from-wheelchair console, making it suitable for individuals with various abilities.
To hire the WheelyBoat follow this link: https://www.warehamboathire.co.uk/disabled-access-boat/
- The Dolphin is a specially designed boat that accommodates people with disabilities and their carers, with a capacity for up to 12 passengers. It can be berthed at Dolphin Marina, Poole, and Poole Quay. The boat features a level walk/wheel on-and-off ramp, a flat board open deck to accommodate wheelchairs, and onboard toilet facilities. The Dolphin charity offers free trips for disabled passengers, including scenic tours of Poole Harbour and up the River Frome to Wareham.
To hire The Dolphin following this link: https://www.thefriendsofdolphin.co.uk/
- Knoticat is a ten-meter sailing catamaran that operates from April to September. It offers disabled individuals and their carers the opportunity to sail and enjoy the beautiful waters in and around Poole Harbour.
To hire the Knoticat follow this link: https://knoticatsailing.org.uk/
Compton Acres, a renowned English garden, holds a prestigious status as a significant ornamental garden. Created in 1920 by Mr. Thomas Simpson, it remains one of England’s finest privately owned gardens. Experience over 10 acres of horticultural bliss, unwind in their delightful Café & Tea Rooms, explore the treasures in their Gifted Moment store, and delve into the fascinating world of plants at their Plant Centre.
Most of their gardens have wheelchair-friendly paths and ramps, ensuring accessibility. However, a few areas have steeper terrain that may require assistance even for wheelchair users with ample strength. Their helpful gardeners are available to lend a hand when needed.
We trust that this article has provided you with inspiration for accessible activities to enjoy in Dorset. May your day out be filled with wonderful moments and cherished memories.