Those with limited mobility who use a wheelchair or mobility scooter will be happy to know that the UK has some of the most accessible European beaches.
Bournemouth Beach in Dorset came out on top, placing first out of all UK beaches in terms of accessibility. Second place went to Sandbanks Beach, also in Dorset, and third to Porthminster Beach.
Dorset is the go-to beach destination for people with mobility issues; four beaches in total reside within the Dorset area. With Weymouth Beach and Studland Beach also making the top 10 list, 40% of this list includes beach destinations within the region. Porthminster Beach and Perranporth Beach in Cornwall also made a list in second and fifth place, making Cornwall the second most accessible destination in terms of the number of beaches.
Beaches with accessibility and affordability
While all beaches within the top 10 possess high levels of accessibility, the costs for amenities relating to physical disabilities differ.
Portobello Beach and Perranporth Beach are the only beaches to offer free wheelchair hire, free disabled toilet access, and Sandbanks Beach and Porthminster Beach offer free disabled toilet access.
All other beaches require a £5 daily fee to access the disabled toilets. While most offer a refundable deposit scheme for wheelchair hire, the exceptions being Portminster at £45 per week and Whitby Beach at £37 per week.
Beach busyness ranked
Reviews from visitors have allowed the ranking of each beach in terms of busyness. While Bournemouth Beach tops the accessibility list, it ranks lowest with 2 out of 5 scores on TripAdvisor, alongside West Wittering Beach. The beaches met the highest customer satisfaction levels, scoring 4 out of 5.
- Sandbanks Beach
- Porthminster Beach
- Portobello Beach
- Perranporth Beach
- Weymouth Beach
Top accessible beaches with picturesque potential
For those looking for a combination of the highest levels of accessibility alongside a beach with desirable aesthetics, it has been revealed that the most instagrammable beach within the top 10 is Brighton Beach, with 945,000 hashtags on the platform.
This is followed by Bournmouth, at 186,000 hashtags, and Portobello Beach with 45,500.
All of these beaches have ramps for wheelchair access. Some even offer beach wheelchairs for hire equipped with specially designed wheels to cope with sand and shallow water, allowing for seaside enjoyment for those who no longer believed it was possible.
Ricky Towler, founder of Middletons Mobility commented: ‘The summertime is the perfect season to spend time at the beach, regardless of levels of mobility. As we have assessed which beaches are the most accessible for people with physical disabilities, we wish to inform the public as frequently as possible whenever UK destinations have good or poor accessibility.’
‘As UK accessibility plummets nearly 50% in just 3 years, we wish to ensure that our beaches remain accessible to all, allowing for the life quality of individuals with mobility issues and disabilities to consistently match that of physically able people. Ensuring that beaches have appropriate entrances, pathways and amenities that allow for wheelchair and motor scooter use is imperative to allowing equality for all.’
Forming this league table considered data sourced from TripAdvisor, Disability Rights UK, the number of Instagram hashtags, and the websites of each beach to form the top 10 list of the most accessible beaches in the UK.
By looking at customer reviews alongside data regarding the levels of accessibility at each beach, it was possible to create this league table. From each of these factors, it was possible to create a quantitative scale ranging from 1 to 10, finding the average score of each of the top 10 beaches to order the leaderboard.