Museum of Liverpool overtakes Tate Modern as most accessible UK visitor attraction

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16th May 2019

Five years on from The Revitalise Accessibility Tourism Report finds Tate Modern has been overtaken by the Museum of Liverpool and the Science Museum has soared 15 places taking them to second place

The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) released their members’ visitor figures for 2018 in March, where Tate Modern came out on top with over 5.8 million visits. Tate Modern placed first in Revitalise’s Accessible Tourism Survey 2014 but have now been knocked off their top spot as the UK’s most accessible attraction by the Museum of Liverpool; now the most accessible in the UK.

Ensuring disabled toilets are available to the public and training all staff in disability awareness were the defining factors for the Museum of Liverpool’s improvements, ultimately rocketing them to the top, ahead of the Tate Modern. Additionally, the Science Museum have worked hard to improve their facilities and now have three of their disabled toilets equipped with hoists, and all staff trained in disability awareness and instruction.

Revitalise is a national charity who provide revitalising holidays to disabled people and their carers, which include daily excursions to many of the attractions recorded on the 2018 ALVA list.

Revitalise are delighted to see that so many of the UK’s leading visitor attractions have improved their facilities after the charity highlighted the challenge five years ago and warned them of the vital income they could lose out on if action was not taken. The estimated annual spending power of disabled visitors has increased to £249 billion compared to £212 billion in 2014. Revitalise urges tourist attractions to recognise the importance of disabled people and their spending power, as well as their overall guest experience.

The study comes five years on from the last survey Revitalise conducted to gain an accurate picture of what improvements have taken place in the accessibility across the UK’s most popular visitor attractions. The updated study shows that tourist attractions have been actively making changes since the 2014 findings were released and are now giving accessibility the focus it needs.

The Revitalise study highlights these changes in the following findings:

  • 1 in 4 (26%) are more than 90% accessible overall compared to the 1 in 10 in 2014 (9%);
  • 45% have all their staff trained in disability awareness; almost tripled from the 17% in 2014;
  • Now, 28% of attractions are equipped with hoists compared to the 15% in 2014

Revitalise commends the tourist attractions that have helped contribute to the increase in these scores, for example, the Science Museum have installed three hoists into their disabled toilets and now have all their staff trained in disability awareness. The V&A Museum of Childhood have installed a hoist into one of their four disabled toilets, and the Museum of Liverpool have ensured that disabled toilets are available to the public and trained all their team in disability awareness.

The complete survey gives a comprehensive review of accessibility information including hoist availability, staff training in disability awareness, general accessibility, concessions for disabled visitors and their carers, disabled toilets as a percentage of the total number of toilets and disabled parking, and whether this information was available on the venue’s website. 

Essential disability access information is now available across 57% more attractions’ websites. 8 out of 10 venues now include essential disabled access information compared to the 3 out of 10 in 2014. This has come after Revitalise highlighted the need for greater clarity and more thorough information to be on their websites for the benefit of their disabled visitors.  

Revitalise have welcomed these improvements in accessibility, but would still like to highlight where more progress needs to be made:

  • More than half of venues still do not have all staff trained in disability awareness;
  • Three quarters were not equipped with hoists – an indispensable item for many disabled visitors

Commenting on the charity’s survey findings, Revitalise Chief Executive Officer Chris Simmonds said:

We’re thrilled to acknowledge the venues that have made necessary changes in their accessibility for the benefit of disabled people. We are also impressed with the efforts of those venues that not only represent the very best of our British Culture, but that are making that culture fully accessible to everyone.

“One in three of us lives with a disability or has someone close who does. Accessibility is not only the right thing to do, but we say it’s also the smart thing to do. Disabled people and their households spend around £249 billion each year – have you done everything you can do to make sure that they’re spending some of this money with you? 

“The best advice we can give to venues is to involve disabled people in your plans – they know what real accessibility means and will tell you the truth about whether you’re getting it right.”  

Revitalise congratulated the Museum of Liverpool on their achievement and invited them to speak about their success. Deputy Director, Kate Johnson from the Museum of Liverpool said:

“The achievement means a lot to the team at Museum of Liverpool. We want all of our visitors to feel welcome and able to appreciate and enjoy the amazing stories we tell here. From the outset the design of the building was intended to be fully accessible and we also reflect that intention in our staff training and the displays and events we hold.

“We are so proud to be at the top of the list and will continue to listen and work with disabled people and organisations like Revitalise to maintain this position.”

View the results here, or contact us if you would like the full report. 


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