Accessible Leeds: 5 Spaces which Cater for Everyone

Earlier this week, we celebrated Purple Tuesday; the UK’s first accessible shopping day, dedicated to raising awareness in retail spaces around visible and invisible disabilities. At Bewonder*, we’re proud to be based in a city which plays host to a variety of accessible spaces and places. So where are Leeds’ most accessible spots we hear you ask? Let’s take a look…

The Tetley – Gallery, Restaurant, Event Space

The Tetley is a hub of contemporary art, with a fantastic bar and kitchen, plenty of family workshops and free entry to boot! There’s a rear entrance with automatic doors which can accommodate a wheelchair, an accessible lift and a substantial amount of disabled parking. There’s also a hearing loop available from reception and all exhibition guides are available in large print for those with impaired sight.

Leeds Town Hall – Venue for Live Music, Comedy and More

As one of the most prestigious and recognizable buildings in the city, Leeds Town Hall leads by example. From pantos to podcasts, the venue boasts an impressive schedule of events and accessibility is a given. There are accessible toilets and full wheelchair access on every floor, as well as a hearing loop and room for support dogs. In an effort to make orchestral events available to all, its Essential Companion Scheme also offers disabled people with essential carers two tickets for the price of one!

Leeds Playhouse – Theatre, Bar, Venue

Having recently undergone a significant rebrand and £15m redevelopment, Leeds Playhouse (formerly West Yorkshire Playhouse) has been making waves in the Yorkshire arts scene this year. Keen to make theatre accessible to everyone, Leeds Playhouse offers performances with British Sign Language interpretation, audio described and captioned performances, as well as ‘dementia-friendly’ showings and ‘relaxed’ productions to cater for those with learning difficulties, or who might otherwise find the experience overwhelming.

As well as its extensive facilities, the theatre is taking steps to partner with initiatives like Access Leeds, a project devoted to improving access to theatre across the city, and Ramps on the Moon, which strives for the ‘inclusion and integration of deaf and disabled individuals’ in theatre productions.

Henry Moore Institute – Gallery, Research Library, Café

The Henry Moore Institute is part of the Henry Moore Foundation, an independent arts charity dedicated not only to the life and work of Henry Moore himself, but the exhibition of contemporary sculpture from across the globe. The site showcases an eclectic mixture of art, with everything from Realism to Postminimalism, and prides itself on platforming minority voices.

The institute has taken several steps to become as accessible as possible, to people with both visible and invisible disabilities. There’s a disabled and gender-neutral toilet, an accessible lift to the galleries, and all exhibition literature is available in large print and braille. Guide dogs are also welcomed (with refreshments) and hearing loops provided on request. The institute is currently working to have all of its website content transcribed into audio, so that even its online presence is accessible.

Spread across over 700 acres, Roundhay Park is an expansive, leafy gem on the outskirts of Leeds, and one of the largest urban parks in Europe. The park encloses shady woodlands, gardens and picturesque lakes, as well as several cafés and the animal attraction, Tropical World.

Broad pathways roll throughout the site, which are traversable via both manual and electric wheelchairs. Tropical World too caters for wheelchairs, with ramped entry to sites, disabled toilets and eight blue badge parking spaces.

For more information on the most accessible spaces in Leeds, or to read accessibility-focused reviews, try resources such as Euan’s Guide or DisabledGo.

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