Update May 2021: New venue to add with Accessible Terrace that’s Covid Safe –
A new place to drink outside & be Covid Safe is the Coventry Telegraph Hotel and their rooftop bar, Generators . It’s super cool and accessed by ramp and lift. There is also a fully accessible, disabled toilet nearby.
We’d love to tell you more and a full review will follow of their accessible bedrooms & the hotel in general. Being a Bespoke Hotel we know it will be very amenable to disabled people just like their sister hotel in Manchester, Hotel Brooklyn. They get a provisional 2.5 BBS Ticks for accessibility & style.
Full review to follow of their accessible bedrooms.
Update April 2021: As ‘outside’ hospitality is now open following COVID 19 Government guidelines, we thought we should remind you of these accessible pub gardens around the UK. We’re happy to say all of these are now open and accessible.
Please note that The White lion at Avon Gorge as this is now part of Hotel DuVin. The hotel isn’t open until 2th April but their outside White Lion Terrace is open.
When we decided to make a guide of the best, accessible beer gardens we realised that there were a couple of problems. The first was a kind of ideological issue: is there such a thing as a bad beer garden? They’re all places where you can sit in the sun and drink a pint, how can that experience be ranked? The second problem was the enormity of the task. It’s almost impossible to provide a comprehensive guide to the best or most accessible beer gardens across an entire country of about 52,000 pubs.
Bu we decided to push ahead with it anyway. So we made efforts to take a look around, ask some of our most stylish friends and home in on a selection of recommended beer gardens. We ended up with a list of pub gardens that we know are very popular and the next step was to find out about the disabled access they each have.
We ended up with a very select list of great beer gardens which are all accessible even if, occasionally, the pubs that they are part of might not be quite so wheelchair friendly. They’ve all made the list for different reasons but they all share one thing in common: they’re brilliant places to relax in the sun with a cold beer. By all accounts, that’s something that we’re likely to want to do at some point this summer.
The Garden Gate in Hampstead kept coming up when we looked around at lists of London’s best beer gardens. The garden is large and leafy with lots of spots in the sun and the shade. Their selection of over 18 different draught lagers and 5 real ales is pretty impressive and they have a bar outside too, so you won’t have to waste any valuable time stuck inside waiting for your drinks.
The access shouldn’t be a problem – they told us that they often have customers in wheelchairs. There are no steps inside and the entrances are step free too. They have a disabled toilet on the ground floor and sound very welcoming to less able guests.
We give them a provisional 2.5 BBS Ticks.
The Crown & Greyhound in Dulwich Village is very popular amongst locals who affectionately call it ‘The Dog’. In the old days it was two pubs: the Crown served the gentry, while the Greyhound housed the labourers. Nowadays it is one huge pub with an equally large outdoor area. It also has a huge variety of lagers and ales on tap and the choice of being right out in the sun or in a bit more shade. It has, like much of Dulwich Village, the feel of being a sort of sanctuary from the city despite being in London.
There are no steps to get inside, as long as you take the right of the two front doors. They have two gardens to choose from. The terrace at the front is their main sun trap and it is large enough and far back enough from the road to be relatively peaceful. There is more shade in the back garden and there is also a disabled toilet in the back. There is an extension at the back of the back garden which is up about half a dozen steps which may not be accessible but the main area seats about forty people so that needn’t be a problem.
The Crown & Greyhound gets a provisional 2.5 BBS Ticks.
When the sun comes out in Manchester people head to The Metropolitan. The outside area is hugely popular and can get packed with people enjoying the weather. It’s a real hotspot in West Didsbury, particularly for young professionals.
You can get straight into the garden from the car park, which has disabled spaces. There’s a ramp inside and a disabled toilet. There is one area on the upper terrace which is not easily accessible but there is a way to get around that problem anyway. They told us that this beer garden is “about as good as it gets” since there is a outside bar and the biggest obstacle tends to just be other people. We have to agree that it does sound rather impressive.
We give ‘The Met’ another provisional rating of 2.5 BBS Ticks.
The Cross Keys, Leeds, has a great terrace. Despite being in the busy centre of the city they offer plenty of space to bask in. Over twenty tables are available in a relaxing terrace. With all the hubbub of city life going on outside the pub, you won’t want to leave!
The garden is flat and therefore very accessible. The building is also flat so there shouldn’t be any problem getting to the garden at the back, but if there is you can always take the side entrance to the garden from street level. They have a disabled toilet just inside by the back door.
The Cross Keys also gets a provisional 2.5 BBS Ticks – these ratings are starting to get a bit repetitive!
The White Lion, at the Avon Gorge Hotel in Bristol, is a big terrace with an amazing view of the gorge. To one side of the garden is the Clifton Suspension Bridge and to the other is a spectacular view of the city. In terms of beer gardens with a view this place is hard to beat. A brilliant idea for a scenic spot on a sunny day. The only problem will be that about a hundred other people are likely to have the same brilliant idea. It can get very busy.
There is a ramp to get down onto the terrace and there is a disabled toilet indoors by the main hotel reception. Although there may be a few stairs here and there, they are avoidable and there is always a way around them.
The White Lion finally breaks the 2.5 streak and receives a provisional 2 BBS Ticks. Ah, that’s better…well, no, it’s not actually better but it’s nice to get a little variety.
The Beacon, in Tunbridge Wells, is not particularly accessible because there are steps all over the place. However, at the weekends they have a beer festival which does provide disabled access. The festival has many draught beers, live music and a BBQ. It sounds like a lot of fun in the sun and it’s free to go to.
It takes place at the bottom of the hill that the pub is on and has a disabled toilet and ramp to get into the right part of the garden. So the pub itself isn’t really accessible but the beer garden should be perfect. Combined we’re going to say a provisional 1.5 BBS Ticks.
The Canal House, in Nottingham, was featured on BBS last week as an individual venue. We described it as a unique pub in that there is an actual working canal running through the middle of the building. It’s a really cool feature in this large red brick pub which has possibly the largest selection of continental beer in Nottingham. Of course, the canal extends outside where they have a great little waterside terrace.
Getting into the pub is probably not that comfortable because it’s in the cobbled canal side area. But the accessibility inside is pretty good. The main entrance has steps to get in but they have ramped access around the corner. There is a disabled toilet in the first floor area and there is a lift to get up there. So you can see that they’ve done the odd thing here and there to make the pub more accessible.
We gave them a provisional 2 BBS Ticks for the whole pub and we’ll stick with that for the outside area too.
Just far enough outside central Oxford to get away from the hustle, bustle and students you can find The Perch. It’s a is a beautiful 17th century thatched inn, set back from the river, with a beautifully tranquil garden at the back. Writer Henry Taunt wrote that The Perch had been known as “The Cathedral”, due to its landlord serving alcohol on a Sunday. A popular local saying was “First the Church, then The Perch”. Steeped in local history, the building has been through a lot of damage and rebuilding in recent years, but the garden remains the same.
The actual building isn’t accessible but the beer garden is. The main building has a large step at the entrance and many little steps scattered around an old building. You can go around and use the side gate, that is normally for staff access, if you let somebody know you’re there. There isn’t a disabled toilet but this is a gem of a pub.
Although it is stylish and the garden is accessible we can only give it a provisional 1 BBS Tick because we have to judge the venue as a whole. Good beer garden though.