Leeds For Everyone – Your Accessible Stay
29th July 2021
Our city has so much going on, from the best nightlife, theatres and music, to historic attractions, galleries and the countryside on our doorstep. So we think it’s pretty important that Leeds is accessible to all.
Luckily, no matter your accessibility requirements, there are exciting things to do in Leeds for anyone and everyone. This blog will help you plan your visit.
Getting here, and getting around
Transport can be a big uncertainty at the best of times, and even more so if you need to consider wheelchair space, places to stop and rest or audio and visual requirements. So let’s start with your arrival.
A range of intercity and local train services can kick off your Leeds visit, and they all arrive into Leeds Train Station. There’s step free access to the whole station, national key toilets, accessible ticket machines and desks, and accessible taxis ready to continue your journey. You can find all the relevant info here.
Once you’re here, our new fleet of electric buses could be just the ticket to get you around the city centre. As well as all the space you need, you’ll find clear audio and visual next stop announcements, wi-fi for any essential devices, and app-based tickets so you can plan in advance. There are also park and ride services and local train services connecting through Leeds Train Station. Head to WYMetro to plan your journey.
We’re also a famously walkable city, with all the buzz of the urban centre never too far away without the need for transport. There are plenty of wheelchair accessible routes to get you where you need to go, and places to stop and rest should you need to. Check out the resources here for more.
Working to make Leeds better
We’re always looking for ways to make Leeds more accessible, and to create a safer, healthier and more sustainable experience for all.
We’re transforming thoroughfares, once busy with traffic, into green spaces suitable for cyclists, pedestrians and anyone with accessibility needs. That means wider pavements, accessible crossing points, increased footpaths, more seating areas, greener spaces to enjoy and even shelter for wildlife to help create a better space for all through the public realm changes planned for Leeds Our Spaces’ Grey to Green programme.
A destination, no matter your needs
We’re proud of our world class attractions and destinations, and it’s vital that every visitor gets a chance to enjoy them. The places that make Leeds so special work hard to create an accessible experience, with information available online so you can plan in advance.
When it comes to days out in Leeds, the Leeds City Museum is a great place to start, with collections that tell the story of our city, region and people. As well as stairless access, accessible toilets and borrowable resources, the Museum also offers a range of more innovative solutions. You can use the location app What3Words to help navigate your visit, for example, or download a Visual Story to prepare yourself in advance. The same goes for other Leeds Museums and Galleries venues, including Abbey House Museum and Leeds Art Gallery. Find it all here.
There are plenty of other accessible attractions too. The amazing collections at the Royal Armouries, the intriguing Thackray Museum of Medicine, the historic wonder of Kirkstall Abbey and the greenery of Roundhay Park can all be enjoyed by those with specific accessibility needs. Just check those links for a rundown of accessibility offerings, where you’ll find everything from relaxed openings at the Thackray, to scooter booking at Roundhay Park.
Enjoy Leeds just the way you want
Creating a better experience for pedestrians and cyclists goes hand in hand with making space for people to enjoy nightlife, hospitality and leisure without the cars and crossings. Both Greek Street in the Financial Quarter, and Merrion Street in the Northern Quarter are now totally closed to traffic, creating accessible, vibrant street level areas packed with outdoor dining, drinking and the best of Leeds’ independent food scene. Plenty of our favourite venues, like Headrow House, The Tetley, Belgrave Music Hall and Banyan Bar and Grill will be happy to accommodate your needs, especially if you get in touch in advance.
We’re also famous for our historic covered shopping arcades, like the Victoria Quarter, alongside stunning modern shopping centres designed with the best accessibility in mind, such as Trinity Leeds where you can take advantage of quiet rooms, autism friendly shopping and stairless access throughout. You can also find accessible shopping at The Light, the Merrion Centre and a host of other locations.
How about things to do in Leeds with the family? There’s sport, live music, theatre and dance. All of which can be enjoyed by those with accessibility requirements. Our world famous opera company, Opera North, offers audio described and signed performances, as well as relaxed and dementia friendly sessions. Leeds Playhouse offer a Priority Access Scheme for wheelchair users to make sure they secure the best seats in the house, and the O2 Academy work with accessibility charities to make sure you can see the biggest live acts around on your terms.
Leeds’ First Direct Arena, that has previously hosted the likes of Elton John, Little Mix and Fleetwood Mac, is designed with accessible platforms and ramps, offers on-street disabled parking and provides a free companion ticket for individuals who require an assistant, providing an outstanding experience for anyone who visits.
From imaginative new plays, music events, talks, and comedy shows to inventive adaptations of popular stories, the Carriageworks Theatre hosts a range of shows that inspire and entertain. Overlooking Millennium Square the theatre is in Leeds city centre, with several car parks nearby. The entrance consists of level access with automatic doors and lift access to all floors. The Carriageworks hosts some of Leeds’ best arts and cultural events, including the Leeds Young Film Festival and its hugely popular annual pantomime.
A home away from home
But what about your accommodation? Often, staying somewhere new can be fraught with uncertainty, especially when you need specific accessibility features or requirements that you don’t have to think about at home. In Leeds you can rest easy, literally, because the city has a wealth of accessible accommodation right in the heart of the city.
From iconic four-star hotel, The Queens, which offers six accessible rooms and wheelchair access to public areas including the bar, restaurant and bedrooms, to Radisson Blu consisting of seven accessible rooms, two of which have walk-in showers, whilst loading bays and portable ramps are available for disabled access, there’s a wealth of accommodation to choose from.
Alongside accessible toilets, Leeds also offers a number of changing places to cater to all accessibility needs. You can find out more information and see where these are located here.