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The Best Wheelchair Accessible Beaches in the UK

Tuesday 11 June 2024

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Local councils and charities have done a fantastic job of making beaches more inclusive, by providing all-terrain wheelchairs, accessible toilets, levelled beach access and more. To celebrate this quintessential British day out being enjoyed by all, CrossCountry has rounded up some of the best wheelchair-accessible beaches in the UK.

North Berwick, Edinburgh

The Scottish coastline is home to some of Britain’s most rugged and beautiful beaches and North Berwick is just one of them. Located in East Lothian, this seaside town is enjoyed by both eager beachgoers and avian lovers alike, with the Scottish Seabird Centre perched right on the water. There is a local Scottish charity in North Berwick, called Beach Wheelchairs, who hire out beach-worthy mobility devices. They also operate at Portobello Beach and Seton Sands and believe that every beach should be accessible to everybody. 

Getting to North Berwick from Edinburgh Waverley couldn’t be easier with regular train services throughout the day, making it a common outing from Edinburgh. The beach is also accessible from Glasgow Central and Motherwell station.

Torre Abbey Sands, Torquay

When it comes to the best UK beaches, the English Riviera sits at the top of most lists, with miles of beautiful coastline and stunning countryside. At the centre of the Riviera lies Torre Abbey Sands, a gorgeous, unspoilt beach with plenty of surrounding hotels for weekend visits. The beach has excellent disabled access to the beach, pier, and promenade. As well as this there are accessible toilets and sand chairs.

Torre Abbey Sands is a three-minute drive from Torquay station which is accessible via various CrossCountry routes, including from Newton Abbot station and Exeter St Davids.

Whitley Bay, Newcastle

This gem of a beach in the northeast of England has stunning views that span across the famous St Mary’s Lighthouse on the backdrop of the North Sea. Whitley Bay offers plenty for eager tourists, including some of the most delicious ice cream in the country. In Blyth, an all-terrain mobility device called a Hippocampe can be hired, along with a variety of other mobility equipment for all accessibility needs. The charity providing these services is Beach Access North East, which has deservedly won multiple awards in the past, including the Small Charity of the Year Award in 2021 and becoming a finalist in the North East Charity Awards in 2023.

The closest and most convenient place to reach the beach is Newcastle station, with routes available from Chester-Le-Street and Durham station too.

Balmedie Beach, Aberdeen

With miles of coastline surrounded by sand dunes, Balmedie Beach isn’t just one of the best beaches in Scotland, but one of the best wheelchair-accessible beaches in the UK. Balmedie Beach Wheelchairs,  a team made up entirely of volunteers, hires out beach wheelchairs free of charge for anyone with reduced mobility. The facilities here include an adult-length changing table with a privacy screen, a portable sink, and a public disabled toilet.

Balmedie Beach is only a short distance from Aberdeen station which can be accessed from various stations in Scotland and the rest of the UK, including Dundee station and Darlington station

Balmedie Beach sand dunes at sunset.

Boscombe Pier Beach, Bournemouth

The Jurassic Coast is famous internationally for its hot summers and fantastic beaches, with many being accessible. But award-winning Boscombe Beach in Bournemouth has gone the extra mile to make this beach an experience to remember for everyone. Not only do they provide wheelchair hire, but they also have the UK's first purpose-designed accessible beach huts. The huts have incorporated functionality and design to accommodate four wheelchairs at once. 

Boscombe Pier Beach is easily one of the best beaches in Bournemouth and it’s just a six-minute drive from Bournemouth station.

Whitmore Bay on Barry Island, South Wales

A beach made famous by the UK TV series Gavin and Stacey, Whitmore Bay is a short trip from Cardiff and a favourite among British holidaygoers. It may have been put on the map by the BBC, but this sweeping crescent beach has always been well-loved by families and friend groups. Whitmore Bay offers outstanding accessibility facilities and all-terrain wheelchairs for hire that are free of charge, ensuring everyone will be able to enjoy one of Wales’s most iconic beaches.

Barry Island station can be reached from a range of CrossCountry station, including Cardiff Central and Newport (South Wales).

Summerleaze Beach, Cornwall

Summerleaze Beach is proudly one of the most accessible beaches in Cornwall and the UK, meaning everyone can enjoy its beauty on a summer’s day. The area has a flat viewing area, accessible toilets and is situated a very short distance away from Bude town centre. Additionally, the amazing charity, Adsurf, provides accessible, adaptive, and completely inclusive surfing lessons to disabled people and people with mental health conditions or learning disabilities. 

Summerleaze Beach can be reached by bus from Okehampton station, which is accessible by train from Exeter St Davids.

If you’re planning a trip to an accessible beach, don’t forget to book an Advance ticket via our website or the CrossCountry app. If you need more information, you can contact us here.

Written by Julia

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