Accessible attractions

From gothic ruins to Victorian steam trains, Cistercian monasteries to 18th century stately homes; ironstone mines to fishing villages, the National Park can certainly boast a rich heritage.

But what will you find when you get there? We’ve picked out some key attractions across the North York Moors area with links to their accessibility guides so you can make an informed decision about where you want to visit.

We do advise that you contact individual attractions to double check suitability for your own individual needs or if you have any queries or concerns.

We’ve got more ideas on accessible museums and galleries, getting active outside , simply getting back to nature or seven fabulous experiences you won't want to miss.

1. Castle Howard

Image of the exterior of Castle Howard Credit Olivia Brabbs

England’s finest stately home, Castle Howard has an unparalleled pedigree, with a sense of history and tradition that’s a joy to encounter. Most of the house and grounds are accessible to all, while the sensory experience of a Castle Howard visit never fails to excite – from the gushing fountains and echoing halls to the seasonal scents of the gardens and the crisp crunch of a frosty lawn.

  • Wheelchair users (under 225kg) can use the House stairlift, which takes visitors up to the main floor and to the majority of the rooms.
  • There’s free transport from the Courtyard Ticket Office to the House, Boathouse Café and Adventure Playground on the Kelly Car Land Train, which can accommodate wheelchairs and pushchairs.
  • There are adapted toilets in the Stable Courtyard, in the House and at the Boathouse Café.
  • Free admission for essential carers.

You don’t need to miss Christmas at Castle Howard with a British Sign Language (BSL) Interpreted Performance (12 December), a BSL Interpreted tour of the house (23 November) and a Relaxed Performance (13 December) for children and young people with additional needs who would prefer a more relaxed environment.

Find out more in Castle Howard's accessibility guide

2. Danby Lodge National Park Centre

Two people walking on the boardwalk in grounds of Danby Lodge Credit Dependable Productions

Enjoy a big breath of fresh air and soak up the sweeping views at Danby Lodge, our historic visitor centre, set in an idyllic spot on the banks of the River Esk. From the doorstep, you can see pretty much everything that makes the National Park so special: moorland, woodland, farmland, miles of hedges and drystone walls, historic buildings – all basking in glorious peace and quiet.

Home to relaxing gardens, café, shop and changing exhibitions in our Inspired by… gallery, there’s also an interactive exhibition all about the National Park on the ground floor, with a platform lift to access the first floor. Many of our events – including exhibitions and workshops, children’s events and some guided walks – are wheelchair accessible.

  • The Centre grounds are generally quite level with tarmac paths, grass and only a few slopes.
  • The bottom tier of our wildflower garden has level access while there is a 400m circular trail in Crow Wood which is accessible by wheelchair.
  • One electric scooter and one manual wheelchair are available free of charge for use inside the Centre, including the gallery and grounds.
  • There is a RADAR-accessible toilet outside to the rear of the café and a further one inside the Centre, which includes changing facilities.

For full details and facilities, please see our accessibility guide

3. Flamingo Land Resort

Flamingos at Flamingo Land Credit Flamingo Land

This popular theme park is also the UK’s most visited zoo, home to 140 species of reptiles, mammals and birds. The majority of the zoo is accessible except for a few places highlighted in their accessibility guide. The guide also outlines which rides are accessible and those that have restrictions placed on them. The theme park is closed in winter although the zoo is open on certain days at reduced rates.

  • Carers of registered disabled guests receive complimentary admission.
  • Wheelchairs are available for loan free of charge, but it is advisable to book in advance through their first aid centre (01653 668140).
  • Accessible toilets are located around the park.
  • Check out their virtual tour to see what to expect when you visit.

Check out Flamingo Land's accessibility guide

4. Helmsley Walled Garden

Couple at Helmsley Walled Garden, woman using a wheelchair Credit VisitBritain-Daniel Wildey

Step inside this magical hidden garden and discover surprises around every corner. Set against the backdrop of Helmsley Castle, the towering walls surround five acres of beautiful gardens, with many unusual varieties of flowers, vegetables and herbs. Have a picnic on the lawn or relax over lunch at the Vine House Café beneath Victorian vines laden with grapes, while an extensive plant nursery completes the perfect day out. It’s also a healing garden – offering horticultural therapy and a tranquil environment.

  • The garden is all on one level and is almost completely step free. There’s ramp access in parts
  • There are disabled parking spaces near the entrance.
  • There is an accessible toilet.
  • Free wheelchair hire (booking essential).

Read Helmsley Walled Garden's accessibility guide

5. North Yorkshire Moors Railway

Man in a wheelchair and woman talking to the driver of a steam engine No 63395, surrounded by steam Credit VisitBritain-Peter Kindersley

Step back in time with a heritage train journey on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, the world’s most popular heritage railway whose lovingly-restored trains steam for 24 miles from the market town of Pickering through the heart of the National Park out to the golden sandy beaches of the coast at Whitby. It’s one of the earliest and most historic railways in England, dating back to the 1830s, with spectacular moorland, wooded valleys and gorge scenery, historic halts and traditional station tearooms.

  • Enjoy stunning views from the comfort of an accessible carriage. All the carriages have wider double doors, portable ramps, space to move around on board and a fully accessible toilet. To book a seat, please complete this form no later than seven days in advance of your planned journey. You do not need to purchase a ticket online.
  • Free entry for Carers.
  • Level access or ramped access is available to all stations. The only station without disabled access is Newtondale Halt.
  • There are accessible toilets on the platforms at Pickering, Grosmont and Goathland.
  • Wheelchairs are available at Pickering. These are free to use.

North Yorkshire Moors Railway has accessibility guides for Pickering, Goathland, Grosmont and Whitby Stations

6. Rievaulx Abbey

Man and woman at Rievaulx Abbey, woman is using a walking stick Credit VisitBritain Images/Daniel Wildey

‘Everywhere peace, everywhere serenity, and a marvellous freedom from the tumult of the world’ so said Aelred, Rievaulx Abbey’s most famous abbot, nearly 900 years ago, a description as relevant today. The ruins of Rievaulx Abbey are one of the most atmospheric sights in the National Park. There are plenty of seats and picnic places from where you can imagine the monks going about their daily life. A sensory garden adds another absorbing experience to the North York Moors’ most romantic abbey ruin.

  • Visitor centre, shop, café and museum are fully accessible.
  • Gravel paths and smooth grass make access possible for most visitors (though as the site is on a slope, wheelchair users might prefer to visit on a dry day).
  • There is an accessible toilet.

Find out more in Rievaulx Abbey's accessibility guide

7. Rievaulx Terrace

Rievaulx Terrace woodland walk Credit NTI-Andrew Butler

n circa 1758 Thomas Duncombe constructed a half mile grass terrace on the wooded bank which stands above the ruins of Rievaulx Abbey. He built a temple at each end; the Tuscan Temple is quite simple but the other is a more elaborate Ionic Temple containing a banqueting hall, with decorations and furnishings. In spring the bank between the temples is awash with wild flowers; in summer the lawns are the perfect spot for picnics, while in autumn the beech woods are a mass of rich hues.

Please note, the Ionic Temple upstairs interior is open for two hours per day due to its fragile nature and the collections displayed within. Opening hours are available from the Visitor Centre.

  • There is level access from the car park to an entrance at the side of the visitor centre.
  • There is an alternative accessible entrance to the rear of the Visitor Centre. Access to this is via a gate to the right.
  • The grounds are partly accessible, with grass and loose gravel paths and some steps. A hard earth and stone path runs through woodland and the terrace is covered with grass. Access to the Ionic Temple is via stone steps.
  • One manual wheelchair and two Batricars are available for use on the site.
  • There are accessible toilets.

National Trust's Access Statement outlines more information

8. Scampston Hall and Walled Garden

Palladian Bridge in Scampston Hall Credit Scampston Hall

Scampston Hall, 5 miles northeast of Malton, is a fine Regency country house set in a Capability Brown landscape, with beautiful collections of art, furniture and porcelain. It also has a stunning contemporary walled garden (open Easter to the end of October) that's one of the finest in England where you’ll find a garden café and a newly-restored Victorian conservatory.

Scampston Hall is available to visit by guided tour from mid-May until the end of July. Seating is available throughout the tour.

  • There is disabled parking adjacent to the entrance.
  • The Walled Garden is flat with rolled gravel paths, designed to be suitable for wheelchairs.
  • The ground floor of the hall is full accessible for wheelchair users. A ramp is used for entry and all external and internal doors are wide enough for wheelchair users.
  • There is no lift in the hall. One upstairs bedroom is featured as part of the tour, which can only be accessed by stair users.
  • The café is fully accessible.
  • There is an accessible toilet, which is a Changing Places toilet.
  • Complimentary ticket policy for personal assistants.

Read Scampston Walled Garden's accessibility guide

9. Whitby Abbey

Man and woman using crutches, looking at stone carvings in Whitby Abbey Museum Credit VisitBritain/Peter Kindersley

Head for the coast to the atmospheric ruins of Whitby Abbey, set on a dramatic headland with stunning coastal views. Explore the fascinating exhibition which tells the tale of 3,000 years of history and how the town inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula novel. The grounds of this Gothic wonder are made up of level paths, making it easy to explore on foot or with wheels.

  • Whitby Abbey’s museum is fully accessible with step-free access, an accessible toilet, a lift to the first-floor exhibition and access to the Abbey.
  • There are induction loops at both entrances and within the shop.
  • As the ruins are set on grass, it is not wheelchair accessible in wet weather conditions. There are also some ramps on the grass around the abbey.
  • Complimentary ticket policy for personal assistants.
  • Check out the excellent pre-visit video

Find out more in Whitby Abbey's accessibility guide

10. World of James Herriot

World of James Herriot

The World of James Herriot is a unique tribute to vet and author Alf Wight. Based in his original surgery - the ‘Skeldale House’ of the Herriot books - it takes visitors on a journey back to the 1940s. The attraction includes recreated living quarters for the 1940s and sets from the TV series ‘All Creatures Great & Small’. See the car he drove; step into the TV set or try your hand at being a vet. Based in Thirsk, it's not far from Sutton Bank National Park Centre where you can soak up Herriot's favourite view.

  • There’s access at the main entrance via a ramp and there are lifts between floors.
  • Access to the gardens and refreshment area is via a level, paved footpath.
  • Accessible toilets are available.
  • Complimentary ticket policy for personal assistants.

Check out the World of James Herriot's Access Statement

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