Scotland’s breath-taking landscapes are ready to be explored, whether you use a wheelchair, walking canes, or have the cutest wee treasure in your pram or pushchair. We’ve highlighted a selection of short, wheelchair and pram-friendly walks with some great spots for a rest break. Any of these amazing routes will give you a great day out… and, if you’re a pram-user, perhaps your very first memory.
Please note that some of these routes may have some off-road stretches that should be no problem to tackle with special outdoor wheelchairs and prams when it’s dry. Check the weather forecast on and before the day you go out, so there won’t be any Scottish weather surprises!
Sculpture & Curios Trail, Aberdeen
Come and explore the great granite wonder of the north east and its 24 most interesting outdoor sculptures (of which 23 are wheelchair accessible). Start with the colourful unicorn at the corner of Union Row and slowly work your way eastward up and down the map. Or extend your city ramble all the way to Footdee, a small historic fishing village at the end of Aberdeen Harbour.
Start: Union Row
Length: 3 miles
You’ll come across many excellent restaurants, cafés and parks for a break. There is also some great shopping to be done at the Union Square Shopping Centre, which has a Changing Places toilet for older families and people with disabilities. The public toilet at the south end of the Esplanade in Footdee has a disabled toilet with a baby changing table, but you do require a RADAR Key to get access.
Why not explore more things to see & do in Aberdeen, including these 12 hidden gems? Don’t forget to share your favourite Aberdeen pics with us and @aberdeen_cc with #visitscotland, #beautifulABDN and #aberdeentrails.
Threave Estate Walk, Dumfries
South-west Scotland, with its relatively flat landscape, seems to have been made for wheelchair, cane and pram-users. How does a generally flat and unsurfaced (but not boggy!) walk past fields, woodlands, wetlands and a ruined island castle sound? Make new friends with the many woodpeckers, roe deer and ospreys that live along the Threave Estate Walk. At the nearby colourful and fragrant Victorian Threave Garden & Estate, there are some delightful cafés as well as a visitor centre with a disabled toilet.
Start: Threave Garden & Estate
End: Threave Garden & Estate
Length: 2.5 miles
You could also try the pleasant Forest of Ae Walk, just to the north-east of Dumfries. After soaking up this lush and wild landscape, why not travel to Dumfries and relax at The Usual Place, a café so friendly to wheelchair, cane and pram-users that it has won a dozen awards in less than five years? It is currently still closed due to COVID-19, but the service and the food are too good not to give you a heads-up for when it reopens.
Start: Forest of Ae 7 Stanes car park
End: Forest of Ae 7 Stanes car park
Length: 5.25 miles
Riverside Walk, Dundee
Only the UNESCO City of Design would include impressive bridges, aeroplanes and tall ships along one of its city walking routes. Enjoy a lovely view of Fife across the River Tay from the Riverside Walk as well as other great gems nearby, such as the Dundee Botanic Garden and the Riverside Nature Park.
Start: RRS Discovery
End: Riverside Nature Park
Length: 3 miles
You can walk the route in either direction (or back and forth) and enjoy your break with a lovely picnic in the park or lunch at BridgeView Station (part of our Taste Our Best scheme). You might also want to follow your walk with a visit to V&A Dundee, a fun design museum which has accessible toilets and baby changing facilities. Don’t forget to check out our 10 Hidden Gems in Dundee for more inspiration.
Dun Deardail Fort, Fort William
The outdoor capital of the UK is very welcoming to wheelchair and pram-users. Try the Dun Deardail Fort, an off-road, but very accessible, route amidst the glorious scenery of Glen Nevis. Enjoy a commanding view over some of the filming locations for Braveheart (1995) and Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in the UK. The namesake of the route, an iron age fort on top of a hill, has perhaps a bit too steep of an approach. But don’t worry, there’s an equally breath-taking viewpoint at the second sharp turn near the top.
Start: Braveheart Car Park
End: Braveheart Car Park
Length: 6.25 miles
There are no facilities nearby, however if you want to see more of this splendid area, we suggest the Ben Nevis Distillery (accessible toilet available) or the exciting natural history museum for all ages, Treasures of the Earth (accessible toilet & baby changing facilities available).
Water of Leith, Edinburgh
When in the capital of Scotland, do as the locals and take the amazing road less travelled. Enjoy the section of the Water of Leith , which runs from the fairytale-like Dean Village to Leith, one of the world’s coolest neighbourhoods. This section is graced by the Dean Bridge and the St Bernard’s Well (both designed by Thomas Telford), the Stockbridge Sunday market and a whole host of wildlife, such as herons, kingfishers and the occasional otter.
Start: Dean Village
Length: 3 miles
With just three tweaks, this section becomes completely wheelchair and pram-friendly without having to compromise on the route’s beauty.
- After passing St Bernard’s Well, use the ramp (10 yards ahead of St Bernard’s Bridge), not the steps, to get under the bridge.
- Go clockwise around the Pizza Express at Deanhough Street in Stockbridge via Haugh Street.
- At Bridge Place, turn right instead of left and follow Glenogle Road for about half a mile until you turn left onto Brandon Terrace. Once you see a small obelisk with a clockface in it, you’re back on the route.
You’ll find a wealth of cute cafés and lush parks in and around Leith to enjoy your break. Maybe you’d also like to book a timeslot at the Royal Botanic Gardens (accessible toilet available) or shop at the Ocean Terminal Shopping Centre (accessible toilet & baby changing facilities available) at only a short distance from the shore? Check out these hidden gems in Edinburgh for more inspiration.
Contemporary Art Trail, Glasgow
Glasgow is not shy about its creative side and invites you to discover over a dozen of its artworks on the delightful Contemporary Art Trail through the city centre. Artists from Scotland and the entire world have worked together to offer you this unique way to view Scotland’s largest city. And if that wasn’t enough, you can also extend your walk with these amazing hidden gems in Glasgow.
Start: Euro Hostel Glasgow
End: Buchanan Street
Length: 3.5 miles
Glasgow is an absolute treasure trove of cute, quirky, and superb places to rest your legs. If anything, you could follow the rule ‘if it looks good, it probably is’. Stop in at the Mackintosh at the Willow, a rooftop tearoom (with an accessible toilet and lift access) that donates to charities. It’s just short walk away from where the Art Trail ends. On your way, you’ll pass the Buchanan Galleries, which have baby & children changing facilities (as well as loads of opportunities to have a nice retail therapy session!).
River Ness & Caledonian Canal Circuit, Inverness
Flat, accessible walks in the Highlands? There are indeed some! Take the River Ness & Caledonian Canal Circuit, weaving through the charming streets, including some of the riverside and towpaths of the capital of the Highlands. Along the route, you could take a break at Chanonry Point in the Moray Firth to see if you can spot the resident dolphins swimming around.
Start: City centre
End: City centre
Length: 7.25 miles
Inverness has no shortage of cosy pubs, cafés and shops, many of which are also wheelchair accessible. The Eastgate Shopping Centre has baby changing facilities.
Lerwick Explorer, Lerwick
Shetland is one of those truly unique places in Scotland where, depending on the time of year, the sun doesn’t set and you can even bump into a Viking at the Up Helly Aa! Explore the largest town on Shetland with the Lerwick Explorer, a short, fun route that takes you past many of the highlights of this brilliant town up north.
Start: Victoria Pier
End: Clickimin Broch
Length: 3.75 miles
Did you know that Lerwick is the main hub for buses on Shetland? You could travel with them all over the archipelago to see the puffins at Sumburgh Head, St Ninian’s Tombolo and the old Viking longhouses on the Isle of Unst. Most newer ferries have accessible toilets and baby changing facilities, so do the Ferry Terminals in Lerwick.
River Tay Public Art Trail, Perth
History and art are packed together in one lovely walk around the River Tay and Perth’s city centre. The River Tay Public Art Trail offers a beautiful way to explore Scotland’s ancient capital with no less than 25 sculptures and other pieces of art along the route. Other hidden secrets include the Fergusson Gallery and the Riverside Park Heather Garden. This is only a short walk, so be sure to supplement it with perhaps some more of these amazing hidden gems in Perth.
Start: Parking at Tay Street
End: High Street
Length: 2.5 miles
There are many great places to enjoy a nice break in Perth. In terms of accessibility, check out the Willows Coffee Shop, located near the church on St John’s Place. Or Café Play on Princes Street for the wee ones.
Cambuskenneth Abbey from Stirling, Stirling
A city as historic as Stirling has no shortage of famous attractions. Many places, such as Stirling Castle, the Blair Drummond Safari Park and the Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre have special facilities for wheelchair users. But you’ll also find that some hidden gems, like the walking route to Cambuskenneth Abbey from Stirling, will suit your needs. Enjoy the many historic spots along the way, such as the harbour and its namesake, the Cambuskenneth Abbey. Take in the exquisite view of the still standing tower of the religious site, once founded by David I, the final resting place of James III and the site of two parliaments of Robert the Bruce.
Start: Stirling Railway Station
End: Stirling Railway Station
Length: 3.25 miles
There are many fantastic cafés in Stirling, but one that is accessible for everyone, would be The Burgh Coffeehouse on King Street.
Harestanes Country Park, Harestanes
Harestanes Country Park is a fun playground for both wheelchair and non-wheelchair users. It has all the necessary facilities: accessible parking and toilets, baby changing tables, but also wheelchair swings. Due to COVID-19, you’d have to reserve a timeslot. The café currently only does takeaway.
There is a beautiful walk, which starts and ends at the Harestanes Country Park car park. The Peniel Heugh and the Waterloo Monument leads you on a fun adventure through the countryside to the impressive monument to Britain’s (and Scotland’s) victory over Napoleon at Waterloo. The descent from the Peniel Heugh can be a bit muddy, so we would recommend you take a small detour around this section when you’re a wheelchair, cane or pram-user.
Start: Harestanes Country Park
End: Harestanes Country Park
Break: 4.5 miles
We hope these walks have inspired you to get out and enjoy a beautiful walk this summer in one of our many charming cities or elsewhere in the country, such as some of our stunning castle gardens. For this blog, we made extensive use of the tips on Euan’s Guide and this handy NTC Babychange app. So, get out there and enjoy your accessible holiday in our beautiful country.