Accessible Dorset

Dorset is a fantastic place to visit for people of all ages and abilities.

To make planning your perfect break a little easier, we have put together a selection of information and helpful access guides for areas across Dorset.

Accessible places to stay

Looking for wheelchair friendly self catering or serviced accommodation.

We have a list of accessible accommodation in Dorset that have taken part in the National Accessible Scheme.

Many of the places to stay featured on this website will also have accommodation that is either accessible by lift or located on the ground floor which could also be suitable for your visit, however they may not have requirements that some of our visitors need. Therefore we always advise confirming the specifics directly with your chosen accommodation, unfortunately at this time very few businesses participate in an accredited accessibility scheme, so this information will usually be self-assessed by the owner of the businesses.  An access statement may be available on request or on the website of the specific accommodation provider to help you.


If you need a little extra help getting around whilst on holiday, Dorset's mobility hire companies will hire out wheelchairs and mobility scooters for a range of needs:

Accessible toilets

There are many public toilets provided by local authorities across the county.

Check these websites to find the nearest free-to-use, accessible toilet at your destination:

Standard accessible toilets will not meet the needs of all people with a disability. Find out where the Dorset Changing place toilets are currently located.

New changing places toilets will be opening during 2024 at Corfe Castle National Trust car park (Castle View Visitor Centre) and Farmer Palmer’s Farm Park.

Blue Badge holders

Information can be found online about parking with the use of a disability blue badge in Dorset Council car parks and on-street parking. Information for blue badge holders is also available for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole car parks and Swanage car parks.

Accessible attractions

The attractions of Dorset offer varying levels of accessibility so we recommend checking their websites for full and up to date information about their facilities. Look out for a link to their accessibility guide.

The Dorset Tourism Awards have commended the following attractions for their accessibility and inclusivity:

Durlston Country Park National Nature Reserve in Swanage - the 2020 VisitEngland winning attraction for access and inclusivity. Accessibility guide for Durlston Country Park.

Shire Hall Museum in Dorchester. Accessibility guide for Shire Hall.

Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre near Wareham.

Moors Valley Country Park and Forest near Ringwood.

The Tank Museum the world’s best collection of tanks in awe-inspiring, modern exhibitions  - Accessibility guide for the Tank Museum. The museum opens for some quiet mornings and can provide sensory backpacks for children.

Dorset Museum and Art Gallery in Dorchester - view their Accessibility Guide.

The National Trust's Corfe Castle

Autism friendly days out

There are a small, but growing number of Dorset's attractions and activities which are mindful of autistic visitors and provide autism friendly facilities.

Facilities might include quiet hours when there are less visitors, and lights and sounds are turned down. There may be chill out zones and quiet areas where visitors can go to if they feel overwhelmed and need space away from others. The attractions may also offer sensory backpacks and ear defenders to borrow for the day which are suitable for visitors with autism or ASD.

Take a look at our ideas for autism friendly days out in Dorset. 

Accessible beaches

There are lots of beautiful beaches and coves in Dorset but access to some of the wilder locations will often involve many steps or steep slopes, which will not be ideal for all our visitors.

Take a look at our Accessible Beaches guide which gives details of the most accessible beaches in Dorset. These are beaches which have wheelchair accessible beach matting, or have beach wheelchairs or floating wheelchairs available for hire.

Matting on beaches (available during the peak holiday season) are located at Boscombe, Sandbanks, Swanage, Weymouth, West Bay and Lyme Regis beaches. Studland's Knoll beach has a wooden boardwalk onto the sand. Please check to see when the accessible matting is down for your chosen location. These are very popular beaches during the summer, so careful timing is advised to avoid crowds and access suitable nearby parking spaces.

Beach wheelchairs can be booked in advance from Studland's Knoll beach, Bournemouth, Boscombe, Branksome Chine, Sandbanks, WeymouthWest Bay and Lyme Regis.

Accessible beach hut hire can be booked at Swanage and Boscombe.

There are many beaches in our popular resorts with level esplanades, ideal for both wheelchairs and pushchairs. For a full list of Dorset beaches, we’ve put together a beach guide which gives a quick overview about Dorset beaches and coves to help you plan your visit. The guide gives information about blue badge parking, accessible toilets and general accessibility to and on the beaches.

Accessible boat trips

There are all types of water craft and boats that can be hired or chartered in Dorset but some are worth highlighting here as they can be enjoyed by people with limited mobility along with friends and families. Poole Harbour in Dorset is the largest natural harbour in Europe and offers great opportunities for sailing and boat trips.

At Wareham Boat Hire on the River Frome a boat can be hired or chartered along with a Skipper for up to 8 people to enjoy the river, angling, nature or a picnic together.  The ‘Wheelyboat’ has a hassle free roll-on and off access and flat deck providing access to all corners of the boat, accessible helm or drive-from-wheelchair console and is great for all abilities.

The Dolphin is a specially designed boat for people with disabilities and carers and can accommodate up to 12 passengers, the boat can be berthed from Dolphin Marina, Poole and Poole Quay. The boat has a level walk/wheel on-and-off ramp and a flat board open deck to accommodate wheelchairs and has toilet facilities on-board. The Dolphin charity offers free trips for disabled passengers. Trips include the scenic Poole Harbour and up the River Frome to Wareham. The Dolphin will not be operating during 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Knoticat is a ten metre sailing catamaran, offering the opportunity to give all disabled people and their carers the chance to sail and enjoy the beautiful waters in and around Poole Harbour. Knoticat sails every week day from April to September.

Accessible countryside

Dorset's countryside benefits from many inclusive amenities, ensuring everyone can savour Dorset's picturesque landscapes and serene surroundings.

At many locations, you'll find wide trails winding through pretty woodlands and lush meadows, offering smooth paths for wheelchairs and strollers alike. Rest areas with benches and accessible facilities dot the routes, welcoming all to pause and absorb the county's natural charms. You can also find Braille signage and audio guides to enhance the experience for visually impaired visitors, while designated parking areas cater to diverse mobility needs.

Countryside Mobility (not for profit organisation) works with eight attraction partners across Dorset. Their aim is to enable the hire out electric all-terrain mobility scooters, designed to be easily used on rough ground, mud and grass for people to gain better access to the countryside.

Dorset locations include:

Find out about how to book a Tramper Mobility Scooter at these locations and read more details about the terrain on the Countryside Mobility website.

Watch a video about how to use a Tramper Mobility Scooter if you’ve never tried one before. Using a Tramper Mobility Schooter

Guides for additional needs

Bournemouth Accessibility Guide

Simple and practical information on access, transport, parking and public toilets designed to help enable visitors make an informed decision when planning their holiday, short break away or day out.

Additional printed publications to further assist your visit are available on request from Tourist Information Centres.

Further information

Tourism for All UK is the UK Voice for Accessible Tourism - a national charity dedicated to making tourism welcoming to all.

For more tips and advice on accessible holiday travel in England, go to the EnjoyEngland website.

Autism Friendly Days Out

Visit Dorset's attractions which provide quiet zones, sensory backpacks, ear defenders or quiet...

Accessible Beaches

There are 9 wheelchair accessible beaches with beach matting or beach wheelchairs available for...

Accessible Guides

Accessible Swanage

There are many attractions and places to visit in Swanage which are accessible to all.

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Eating Out

Enjoy some of the freshest, local produce at one of Dorset cafes, pubs or restaurants

Things To Do

There's lots to see and do in Dorset all year round.

Areas to Visit

Bustling towns, quaint villages and seaside resorts...all waiting to be explored!

Events & Festivals

From music festivals and carnivals to country fairs and outdoor cinemas - you are spoilt for choice!

What does your Dorset look like? Adventures on our epic coastline? Visiting attractions with family? A walk through the beautiful countryside? Or perhaps a chilled out evening eating and drinking with friends? Discover a sample of your #VisitDorset images below and share your love for Dorset using the hashtag on Instagram.