As anyone who has lived in or visited York knows, this beautiful city is OLD – Ancient Rome old! So, many features have been preserved for historical significance. This unfortunately means many parts of York aren’t fully accessible to wheelchair users. If you visit the main shopping areas, many of the shops, café’s, pubs and restaurants will have at least one large step into them. However, there are still great places to visit which are accessible. I’ve listed a few places that I’ve visited which are wheelchair accessible below:
Visit: York Minster
For a building which has been around for 1,000 years, the Minster is a surprisingly accessible tourist spot! With a ramp to the main entrance, and the rest of the building mostly on one level, wheelchair users get the opportunity to take in the grandeur of the Minster.
There is a ramp to access the Quire. There’s also a lift to the underground museum. The only part not accessible to wheelchair users is the roof – but it’s meant to be bad luck to go up to the Minster roof before graduating anyway!
To leave, a member of staff will open a different exit, as the gift shop exit only has steps. The Minster is a must for any University of York student, as you are granted FREE access when you show your student ID.
Eat and Drink: Spark
Spark is a unique spot in York, with something for everyone. Built from shipping containers, Spark is described as an “outdoor community space” with a variety of food and beverages available. They also host quizzes and vintage clothing sales.
There’s a ramp to access the space, and a platform lift to get to the first floor, as well as accessible toilets. Spark has been a personal favourite of mine since I was a fresher – the food choices are amazing and there’s always something new to try! The staff are friendly, and it’s just opposite the Merchantgate bus stop, where the 66 bus stops, and the Piccadilly bus stop, where the 67 bus stops.
Eat and shop: The Shambles Market
The Shambles Market is an eclectic mix of tasty street food and quirky market stalls. There are several streets which lead to the Market – as a wheelchair user, I avoid entering through the Shambles Street due to the lack of lowered curbs and the amount of people traffic. The best way to get to the market is by turning off Parliament Street and onto Jubbergate (which is by Pret A Manger on the corner).
The busiest times are usually around lunchtime, as the food court is very popular at the market. There are lots of benches to sit at whilst you enjoy what the market has to offer. KREP, The Taylor Made Kitchen and NaNa Noodle Bar, are just a few of my favourite places to get food from!
There are some cobbled sections of the market to be aware of for wheelchair users – it can be a bit of a bumpy ride!
Honourable mention: Charles XII Pub
Located in Heslington Village, between Campus West and Campus East, is the inviting Charles XII pub. It has a ramp into the pub for easy access. There’s a substantial beer garden round the back, with access to a disabled toilet too. There are two steps to get to the toilet inside, but the pub provides ramp access when requested. The easier solution may be to go out of the pub and round to the back to access the toilet. Nonetheless, the Charles is a warm, student-budget-friendly pub, with several TV screens to watch sporting events on, as well as quiz nights.
I hope you found this guide helpful! – Sofia