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Accessible days out in the Scottish Borders and Edinburgh

Here are some beautiful and historical attractions located in the Scottish Borders and Edinburgh that cater for those with limited mobility. 

Abbotsford House and Gardens

Sir Walter Scott, one of Scotland’s most celebrated writers, owned this house on the edge of Melrose town. This magnificent building displays Scott's personal belongings, beautiful furniture and some of his unusual objects.

The house is open to visitors with different requirements to come and learn about his life and work. The formal gardens are also quite accessible.

More information

Available: disabled car parking, wheelchairs & mobility scooters welcome, wheelchair hire, assistance dogs welcome, respite seating, hearing induction loop, audio tours, large print information available, disabled toilets, concessions

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh CastleFrom its position high up on Castle Rock, Edinburgh Castle looks daunting. Yet, much work has gone into making the historic fortress accessible for people with limited mobility.

For starters, it has parking for blue badge holders on the Esplanade (you have to pre-book by phone).

When you arrive, staff will show you where to park before taking you on their mobility vehicle to the Castle. The vehicle can accommodate a wheelchair, there and back.

Inside, there's good access around many of the main sights, such as the Crown Square and The Great Hall. But, you need to be careful with the cobbles and uneven pavements - they can be hard work for walking or pushing a wheelchair!

More information

Available: accessible restaurants, shops and toilets, disabled parking, wheelchair hire, concessions

The Scotch Whisky Experience

The Scotch Whisky Experience is at Castlehill on the Royal Mile. The place offers good facilities for people with different requirements.

You get shown round a replica distillery and get to look at the world's largest whisky collection. The tours last 90 minutes, and you can chose from 5 options at different prices.

The building is spacious, giving you plenty of room to move around. There's also a bar, shop and restaurant - all providing full wheelchair access.

The guides are knowledgeable and the tours include printed materials and sensory aromas.

More information

Available: lifts, accessible toilets, transport within the building, some parking

Royal Yacht Britannia

Royal Yacht BritanniaYou can visit the Royal Yacht Britannia at the Ocean Terminal in Leith, not far from Edinburgh's city centre.

There are lifts and ramps throughout, so wheelchair users can enjoy tours around the yacht. Some areas are not accessible for some electric wheelchairs, but you can borrow a regular one for free from the visitor centre.

The tours show you round the private living quarters of the Royal Family and the State Rooms. You can see what life is like below deck and view the operational rooms where all the work happens.

The tearoom also caters for gluten- and lactose-free diets, and you can park for free at the Ocean Terminal.

More information

Available: wheelchair friendly toilets, audio tour handsets and tablets in sign language, disabled parking, wheelchair hire, concessions. Assistance dogs welcome

Scottish Seabird Centre

The Scottish Seabird Centre is in North Berwick, just 30 miles east of Edinburgh.

It's a treasure trove of interesting information on local marine and birdlife, with interesting displays, films and live webcams. It also has an accessible shop and cafe.

More information

Available: wheelchair access throughout, low-level displays, lifts, respite seating, disabled toilets, limited blue badge parking (ring in advance)

Gunsgreen House, Eyemouth

Gunsgreen House is a magnificent mansion with its roots in the smuggling trade. It's reputed to have many secret hiding places for contraband, some of which are waiting for us to discover.

You can learn about the history of smuggling in Eyemouth at the informative exhibition.

Note: You can get around the property well, but the cellar has uneven paving and poor lighting. There's also no disabled access to the second floor, which holds the upper bedrooms of the house.

More information

Available: disabled parking, lift, respite seating, disabled toilet, concessions

Abbotsford House by ingawh via Wikimedia; Edinburgh Castle Guns by ferret boy licensed under CC; Royal Yacht Britannia by Tim Welbourn licensed under CC. Image cropped.

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Last updated: Oct 16 2023

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