Here’s an access review triple header for you! On the basis of our Cardiff tourist day back in September. I review the access at Cardiff Castle, Pettigrew Tea Rooms and the National Museum Cardiff.
(Disclaimer: I’m aware “accessibility” means different things to different people, as I said before, these are MY views on my experience of accessibility at this venue as an electric wheelchair user, I obviously can’t speak for others experiences but feel free to add your experiences in the comments!)
There is a system with reduced ticket prices for disabled patrons, but we didn’t feel like they were that significantly reduced for what I would be able to see of the castle. We then mentioned to someone how I wouldn’t be able to see a good chunk of the castle due to access and we were just let in to see the parts that I could get to!
We were able to walk about 15 minutes to the castle from our hotel (Ibis Budget Cardiff Centre).
Like I’ve already said, the castle was only partly accessible, I sort of expected that since it is a castle after all, but a lack of access is still irritating, regardless of whether it’s expected. I must say that what I could get to was very interesting, which probably made the lack of full access even more of an annoyance. The ramp to the section that I could access was also particularly steep, to the point where we had to go backwards down the ramp to stop me going too fast and essentially freewheeling to the bottom. We were able to mention this to staff on the day so hopefully something can be done to make the ramp less steep.
Pettigrew Tea Rooms
Being a tea room, this place was completely free to walk into and then you just obviously paid for what you ate/drank.
Again, were able to just walk here from the castle.
This place was more accessible than I was expecting (I tend to assume independent businesses are inaccessible for some reason, maybe I should quit with that thought process after this experience!) There was ramp access and a wheelchair accessible bathroom, I mean it’s basic access but somehow, I was still shocked which I think says more about the state of business accessibility in general than about this specific tea room. The space inside was probably a little tight for manoeuvring a wheelchair but the weather was decent enough that we were able to sit outside. There was also an art exhibition upstairs which was only accessible via stairs, which was a little annoying, but I was not overly annoyed as I myself couldn’t see how access was possible given the constraints of the building, although I am always willing to help improve accessibility if the business is willing!
National Museum Cardiff
Again, this was another free walk in situation.
Again, were able to just walk here from the tea rooms.
We entered through a separate entrance with a ramp/tunnel entrance under the main area of the building, which was accessed via a gate. This gate was opened by staff who were contacted through an intercom. I know some people say separate entrances and having to enter underneath the building like this hides disabled people, but frankly it makes me feel like some kind of queen or a secret agent and, I might just sound like a child here, but that’s never a bad thing! The lifts were also very “properly” done I thought, allowing access while still being designed to match the look of the building. The were also lockers which were an unexpected bonus as it meant we, as tourists on an overnight stay filling time before our coach home, didn’t have to lug all of our luggage all the way round the museum.
All said, while there’s more to be done for sure, I found the accessibility in Cardiff as a tourist was pretty good. Particular bonus as a student that all these things were in walking distance from our hotel and freeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
Em (Invincible Woman On Wheels)