Tourism Abroad - Disabled Accessibility

Edinburgh, Scotland April 2010

Conducted by Kirsty Ewing and Laurence Pipkin


The Airline and the Airport

The airline, BMI had a walkway on boarding and on arrival at Edinburgh Airport.  There are disabled toilets at both airports.  For more information on disabled access at Edinburgh Airport, please follow this link:

At the Hotel

At Barcelo Edinburgh Carlton, there is a ramp at the entrance, wide corridors however; the lift was a bit small, large electric wheelchair may not fit. Furthermore, some corridors had steps, but I would imagine disabled guests would not have a room on a floor where there were steps in the corridor.

The bedrooms are not well spaced out, there was a lot of furniture; however our room may not be offered to disabled guests. The hotel did ask us if we needed any assistance so I guess if you asked they would give a larger less crowded room.

Getting Around

Edinburgh is a steep hilly city, but we did see a few wheelchairs about and they didn't seem to be having much difficulty.

The bus from the Airport to Edinburgh city centre had a ramp, but couldn't see how a wheelchair would actually fit on board. The train from Edinburgh to Stirling has a wheelchair area and a ramp.

Parking in Edinburgh seemed to be at a premium like any busy city so not sure really. Edinburgh and Stirling Castle had disabled parking bays; I assume they are free. Please check out this link for more information on getting around for disabled visitors.


Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle are at the top of steep hills with some cobbles. Both attractions offered a mini bus up the hill. Museum of Scotland has excellent access level on all floors with lifts and very wide spaces.

The Surgeons Hall has no working lifts and was on the third floor so essentially not accessible, however the reason for this was because they were doing up the building and the lifts weren't working

Some ramps but they are historical buildings meaning that lifts are not really practical. Both Stirling and Edinburgh Castle offered as much as they practically could which may not be enough for every guest. 6/10 for the castles. 10/10 for the Museum of Scotland and 0/10 for the surgeons' hall. For more information on Edinburgh Castle and other attractions, please click on this link:

Large print guides and hearing loops were available at both attractions.

Eating Out

The Witchery is completely inaccessible for a wheel chair because the entrance has a spiral staircase with no lift; there is a separate smaller area on ground level but lacks the atmosphere of the main restaurant. The Mussell Inn has a level entrance, but it is a bit cramped and may cause problems for wheelchairs. At Maison Blue, there is very good access, but the location of this restaurant is on a very steep street. Cantina Mexican had level access on entrance, but was quite cramped inside.

In general, restaurants provided some ramps, but none of the eateries had lifts. The lighting in the Witchery was dark because that is the atmosphere it tries to create, all other restaurant were quite bright.

Bars and Nightlife

Frankenstein Bar has steps at the entrance with no ramped access, but there is a lift for wheelchairs inside (weird). At Greyfriars Bobby, there is level restaurant area, but the bar is down three steps. Deacon Brodie is level throughout, but incredibly busy as it is the most popular tourist pub in Edinburgh. Oloroso is a roof terrace bar and restaurant, there is a lift up to the top floor, but five steps inside. For information on accessible Pubs and Bars in Edinburgh, please look at:

Disabled Toilets

Unfortunately, we didn't see any public disabled toilets, but all attractions had disabled toilets although, we do not recall seeing any in pubs and restaurants.

Any Other Comments

Edinburgh is an exciting vibrant city with world class restaurants bars nightclubs mixed with an incredible history and landscape both natural and architecturally. However it clearly does not shine in terms of accessibility we both saw disabled people getting around town easily but this review shows that they have to pick and choose the venues and places they can go and sometimes they are restricted to an area within a venue.