East Princes Street GardensPrinces Street Gardens, Edinburgh, EH2, United Kingdom
Setting your head spinning ...
This review is especially helpful for those who have or use the following: Long Cane, Symbol Cane, Wheelchair, Powerchair
Exploring Princes Street and feeling the need to "take time out" it was great to dip into the Gardens and see the green space, grab a coffee and admire the engineering of the Festival Wheel.
Transport & Parking
The Gardens, at the East end, are really handy for public transport with the Tram stopping nearby, bus stops right outside the gates and Waverley Station a short distance away.
At first glance the Gardens looked like they were going to be a challenge as wheelchair user. To grab a coffee I went to the National Galleries as they have a lift that takes you down to the garden cafe. Plenty of space and tables outside to admire the views. Going back up you might try the paths but these aren't recommended for wheelchair users as they're far too steep. Note: this does mean you are limited to the opening times of the Galleries to use their lift. There is a pathway to the south side of the gardens but this has a gradient, has several tree roots to go over and is some considerable distance. Not a great experience for wheelchair users. On the main level there's an enormous Big Wheel with pods that take you and you're friends up into the sky for amazing views, the Scott Monument for the more mobile, a cafe and plenty of places to sit.
The Galleries have an accessible loo. There are others not too far away at St. Andrew Square, Waverley Station and at the Waverley Shopping Centre.
Staff at all the places I visited were exceptionally helpful.
Anything else you wish to tell us?
If you're interesting in the Festival Wheel I can confirm that all of the pods are wheelchair accessible for manual wheelchair users. if you are a power chair user you can still probably take a ride but need to chat about the weight and size of your chair with the booking office. Each pod takes six people and the side benches (two) can be folded up to allow wheelchair access. Staff will help you board via a special ramp, accessed by going in the Exit, that gives you roll on - roll off access. Each ride takes around five to seven minutes and you go around three times.