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Read our Accessibility guide for visitors to Hestercombe

About Accessibility at Hestercombe

Situated a few miles north of Taunton, in Somerset, Hestercombe Gardens is a unique heritage destination with history spanning over 800 years. At Hestercombe you’ll find 50 acres of gardens featuring designs from the 1700s, 1800s and 1900s, a café, gift shop and plant centre, and in the historic Hestercombe House, a contemporary art gallery, restaurant and second-hand book shop.

We very much welcome people with disabilities, their carers and their assistance dogs and we hope you will find the information below useful in planning your visit. We are continually aiming to review and improve our accessibility information – please contact us if you have any comments or suggestions.

About our site

For People On Wheels

The majority of Hestercombe’s historic estate was built at a time when little thought was given to making places accessible, so we have made reasonable adaptations as far as we can within the limitations of a listed building and grounds. There are still some areas that unfortunately cannot be accessed because they include steps and stairs, but we have marked out an all accessibility route in yellow on our Guide Map. On the Guide Map, we have marked routes suitable for pushchairs, wheelchairs and mobility scooters.

Although we are unable to provide specialist helpers or assistance, our staff will endeavour to help wherever possible.

If you normally require assistance and help please ensure that you bring a helper with you. Both people with disabilities and their helpers pay half-price admission, but if you’re a member with disabilities, then your helper will also have free admission.

Mobility access

We have a four wheel All-Terrain ‘Tramper’ mobility scooter available for hire at £6 per two hour slot. Please pre-book this in advance by calling 01823 413923 (payment is required to secure booking). The tramper scheme is operated by Countryside Mobility, and they require any non-members of the scheme to join for a one-off fee of £2.50.

Please note: due to restrictions related to Covid-19, our Tramper has been unavailable for hire. However we are working with Countryside Mobility to start making it available, and hope to do so from Wednesday 29th July. If you would like to discuss hiring it, please contact Visitor Reception Manager Caroline Mortimore by phone on 01823 413923, or email.

See how much of the gardens you can access on our Tramper Mobility Scooter.

Use of three-wheeled mobility scooters should be avoided as these can prove to be somewhat unstable on tight corners.

We have a number of wheelchairs available to use for free, and these are suitable for our smoother paths only.

The Column Room Restaurant in the House, the Stables Café, Plant Centre and the Shop in our Visitor Centre are accessible by wheelchair.

Hestercombe House

There is wheelchair access throughout the ground floor of the House to the restaurant, second-hand bookshop and toilets. The art gallery on the first floor does not have disabled access yet but we show an audio narrated video about our current exhibition on a pre-recorded video downstairs, with seating available. The audio is not available on a loop, although headphones can be requested.

Assistance dogs are most welcome in the House but must be identifiable.

Please note, Hestercombe House is currently closed due to restrictions around Covid-19.

Toilets

Our usual fully accessible toilets (by the entrance to the Ticket Office, Visitor Centre Courtyard and Café, Hestercombe House and the Mill) are currently closed due to restrictions relating to Covid-19. However, we have introduced temporary toilets (which are accessible and wheelchair friendly) by the entrance to the Visitor Reception pathway – visitors will be given further information upon arrival.

The Changing Space at Reflect

Located in the Woodland Barn (no. 25 on the Guide Map), Reflect PMLD‘s changing space is available for the use of visitors to Hestercombe during their opening hours of 10am and 3pm, Tuesday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).

Their facilities include a mobile hoist, adjustable changing bed and partitioning curtains for privacy. Reflect stock disposable gloves, wipes and other cleaning materials but cannot supply pads or similar items bespoke to individual needs. It may be possible to open at other times (for example to support events) by arrangement. To find out more and to make use of these facilities, simply drop into the Woodland Barn or call them on 07562 283072.

Gardens

A guide map showing all accessible routes around the gardens is available from our Ticket Office, and you can also download the guide map (PDF).

The Victorian Terrace, Great Plat and Orangery have virtually no access as they are approached by steps, and wheelchairs would need to be carried up or down to these areas.

Free Guided Audio Tours

If you’re unable to get to Hestercombe for a visit, or if you’d like a guided tour when you get here, please download the Candide UK app. Guided audio tours are available for free for both the Landscape Garden (with Chief Executive, Philip White), and the Formal Garden (with Head Gardener, Claire Greenslade).

Surfaces

Many of our paths are uneven, have flag stones, loose gravel and stone steps. These surfaces can be slippery, particularly when wet.

We advise all visitors to wear suitable footwear for the weather and terrain.

If you have a walking stick or other aid that you normally use to get about, we recommend that you use this to assist you during your visit to Hestercombe. There are a number of benches around the gardens where you can stop to sit down and rest, although these are not currently marked out on the map.

When you arrive at Hestercombe, the car park surface is gravel, with a concrete pathway then leading to the Ticket Office. Similarly, the path surface to the Café and Shop from the public car park is gravel. The courtyard surface is concrete, and the surface of the café is original bricks – as such, this has been worn down over hundreds of years and so is uneven in places.

Getting here

The nearest train station is at Taunton (3 miles). Unfortunately there are no bus links from the station but a taxi service is available from the rank outside the station.

You can also pre-book taxis; the following taxi companies are all known to offer accessible services (they have no affiliation with Hestercombe):

TLC Taxis: 01823 44 44 44
Taunton Taxi Services: 01823 248248
A1 Ace Taxis: 01823 332211

We are suitable for access by large coaches, minibuses and cars.

Parking

There are five spaces available on site for Blue Badge parking, and it is not necessary to book these in advance.

Although there is no parking as such at the front of Hestercombe House, people with accessibility requirements can be dropped off here – cars should then be parked in the main visitor car park.

Hestercombe is open during daylight hours and additional lighting is provided for evening events.

Attending a function

If you are attending a function in the Orangery, you can be dropped off at the Mill (marked Drop Off Point on the map below), and the car should then be parked in the public car park.

It is only a short walk or wheelchair push from there to the Orangery. However there are still some steps up to the Orangery. Scooters can be left outside near the Mill.

See the accessible drop off points at Hestercombe

Further assistance and giving feedback

Further advice and assistance can be obtained emailing our Visitor Reception team or calling them on 01823 413923.

If you have any feedback about this page, please do not hesitate to contact our Visitor Reception team on the details above.

Hestercombe Gardens is a member of Tourism for All