Trip to the Botanics
This review is especially helpful for those who have or use the following: Sign Language, Wheelchair, Hidden Impairment, Speech Impairment, PMLD
We visit the Botanics on a regular basis and love it! Access in to the gardens is really wheelchair friendly with flat entrance ways on several sides of the gardens. We get the number 27 bus from outside our school on Ferry Road which drops us a 5 minute walk away from the East side entrance gate. Once inside the gardens, the paths are excellently maintained. They are wheelchair and walker friendly as they are wide, flat and smooth. We like that there are regular seating spots all over the gardens so we can easily rest when we need to. The hot houses are fun to explore and have wheelchair friendly doors that open and close using a pad so those helping to assist wheelchair users have both hands free to push rather than manage a door at the same time. We like to visit the pond area to watch the ducks. This area is wheelchair friendly with a decked area and wooden fence over looking the water so, we can look at and feed the ducks while managing the risk of water. There are a few café areas at the Botanics. They all have spacious seating outside which is lovely to enjoy the summer. The main visitor café is at the top of a very steep slope so not ideal for wheelchair access though is accessible if you take a longer route around the gardens to the other side. Inside the café is a little more cramped, especially when busy. On these occasions, staff have been friendly and helpful and happy for us to move furniture to create more space. The outdoor café seating is picnic benches so you can't get a wheelchair underneath the table. In our experience, staff are always welcoming and friendly here. There is not a changing places toilet...PLEASE GET ONE...but there are disabled access toilets. These have been clean and well maintained. The gardens are generally very peaceful. One thing we noticed that is worth mentioning is that sometimes, there can be garden equipment and or machinery being used that can be noisy and may be tricky for somebody with sensory impairments to cope with. Luckily the gardens are large so have lots of quiet spaces if you prefer that. The gardens always feel safe and secure with a great mix of larger, open space to move and play in and also quieter more enclosed areas. The botanics provide a lovely sensory environment for us with lots of different spaces, smells, textures for us to explore.
Transport & Parking
All entrance ways are flat and wheelchair friendly. There are designated parking spaced outside the main entrance way. We use the number 27 public bus to get to the East gate, it is a straight forward 5 minute walk from the stop on a well maintained pavement. Paths and walkways around the gardens are flat, wide and smooth ensuring movement around is easy. There are some hills in the gardens such as to the main café but there are alternative routes in as well.
Pathways are excellent and wheelchair, walker friendly. They are flat and smooth so those with mobility impairments were able to navigate these well and with independence. access to the hot houses is via a push pad allowing clear access for wheelchair users without having to hold doors open. Some of the café areas are a bit tight for space but staff have been happy to help move chairs if needed in the past. There are benches and shelter areas dotted around the gardens so you can rest when you need to.
There are disabled access toilets which are clean and well maintained. There is not a CP toilet yet. I would hope this will change in the near future to allow the Botanics to be a fully inclusive and accessible place able to be enjoyed by all.
Staff have been friendly, welcoming and helpful whenever we have visited.
Anything else you wish to tell us?
We love the peacefulness and beautiful surroundings at the Botanics. It is accessible and feels like a safe, fun space for us to visit. There can be some unpredictable noises but there are plenty of quieter spaces to enjoy.