The Historic Dockyard The Historic Dockyard

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The Historic Dockyard

Church Lane, Chatham, ME4 4TE, United Kingdom | 01634 823800 | Website


Excellent - once you've found your way in



Visit date:

This review is especially helpful for those who have or use the following: Powerchair


Overall Chatham Naval Dockyards offer an excellent experience for disabled people. Signage is poor throughout, and one of the accessible toilets was definitely sub-standard, some ships and one submarine are not wheelchair accessible, but other than that there's little to worry about.

Transport & Parking


I don't drive so I don't know about parking. The Dockyards are about a mile from Chatham Station, and there are bus routes running between the two locations, I noticed that the buses have wheelchair ramps but I didn't use buses so I can't comment on their accessibility. Chatham Station is fully wheelchair accessible, has exceptionally friendly and helpful staff, and ramps. To get to the platforms, cross the road in front of the main station building forecourt and follow the signs pointing to slopes and ramps which run to to either platform 1 or platform 2.



The main problem was finding, and then reaching, the main entrance to the entire complex. The signage outside is inadequate (for pedestrians, at least), and we took a left turn off the main road which looked vaguely promising, saw no further signage, I struggled to cross an enormous open area with insufficient kerb drops (I had to mount a muddy bank at one point grrrrrr) and it was only by chance and luck that we found the main entrance where entrance tickets are sold. But once you've got your tickets, things go well. All areas (except one submarine and a couple of ships) are fully wheelchair-accessible. Video presentations have BSL insets, which is good except in the three-screen theatre, where the insets are only on the side-screens, making it very hard to follow both the BSL and the main screen. Of the many video presentations, only ONE had subtitles. The main café offers a hearing loop, but I didn't use it so I don't know if it's working.



The accessible toilet near the children's play area is completely inadequate: the red emergency cord is much too short, it stops at waist level and should reach all the way to the ground; there is no soap, and nothing to dry your hands with. The accessible toilet near the main café is excellent, with everything correctly configured - except that there was a rubbish bin in the wheelchair transfer area, which is very silly and thoughless.



Staff were in general friendly and helpful, though they had difficulty explaining some aspects of the ticketing arrangements, and they lose a star for this and for the various problems with the accessible toilets.

Anything else you wish to tell us?

There is a wonderfully informative and interesting walk-through audio-visual presentation on eighteenth-century shipbuilding technology which is a must-see, fully wheelchair-accessible, with platform lifts where necessary, but sadly no BSL or subtitles. The dockyard is like a small town and it's well worth wandering round to explore its many interesting buildings, abandoned helicopters, swarms of bees, ancient locomotives, hoists, coats of arms, and innumerable other things which will take you by surprise.


Picture of Chatham Naval Dockyards Picture of Chatham Naval Dockyards Picture of Chatham Naval Dockyards Picture of Chatham Naval Dockyards - Accessible Toilet Picture of Chatham Naval Dockyards

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