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National Accessible Scheme

What is the National Accessible Scheme (NAS)?

The National Accessible Scheme (or NAS) is a voluntary scheme to which tourism providers can subscribe, in order to accurately promote the facilities they offer to disabled guests or older visitors.

Many proprietors in Britain have been developing facilities that they intend will meet these criteria when they are inspected by agencies working on behalf of VisitEngland – the tourism authority for England.

VisitEngland administers the NAS, which was drawn up over several years in consultation with disabled people, specialist service providers and tourism industry representatives.

The NAS is being used to help identify how accessible the accommodation is to people who may have difficulty walking, use a wheelchair, wear a hearing aid or have impaired eyesight.

All properties that display a symbol identifying that they subscribe to the NAS should have been independently assessed by well-trained inspectors to ensure that they meet the criteria.

Why is there a National Accessible Scheme?

The NAS was developed with the assistance of disabled people, access advisors and various disability organisations including Tourism for All, to help people identify suitable accommodation more easily, rather than have to thumb through countless entries in guides or having to click on hundreds of websites to find any information at all.

It also helps proprietors to identify themselves to the public when they have developed truly accessible facilities and services.

Descriptions and logos for the National Accessible Scheme:

If you have particular mobility, visual or hearing needs, look out for the National Accessible Scheme in England. You can be confident of finding accommodation or attractions that meet your needs by looking for the following symbols. Properties and attractions displaying these symbols will have met the National Accessible Scheme criteria.

Disability SymbolTypically suitable for a person with sufficient mobility to climb a flight of steps but would benefit from fixtures and fittings to aid balance. 

Disability SymbolTypically suitable for a person with restricted walking ability and for those that may need to use a wheelchair some of the time and can negotiate a maximum of three steps.

Disability SymbolTypically suitable for a person who depends on the use of a wheelchair and transfers unaided to and from the wheelchair in a seated position. This person may be an independent traveller.

Disability SymbolTypically suitable for a person who depends on the use of a wheelchair in a seated position. This person also requires personal or mechanical assistance (eg carer, hoist).

Disability SymbolAccess Exceptional: provides for all levels of mobility impairment listed above with reference to the British Standard BS 8300:2001. Achieves the standards above for either independent wheelchair users or assisted wheelchair users and fulfils additional, more demanding requirements.

Disability SymbolTypically provides key additional services and facilities to meet the needs of visually impaired guests.

Disability SymbolTypically provides key additional services and facilities to meet the needs of guests with hearing impairment.

Disability SymbolTypically provides a higher level of additional services and facilities to meet the needs of guests with visual impairment.

Disability SymbolTypically provides a higher level of additional services and facilities to meet the needs of guests with hearing impairment.

How does the National Accessible Scheme work?

Accommodation in Britain is extremely diverse - from remote cottages in the countryside through to modern city centre hotels.

In some circumstances, it may not be possible for a property to be completely wheelchair accessible, although most proprietors are aware that they need to make their properties as accessible as possible under the Equality Act.

The NAS takes that into account where for example some proprietors do not have ground floor bedrooms or space for a lift, they may have made sufficient changes for someone who uses a walking stick, or has a sensory impairment.

Accommodation providers are invited to participate, and are re-assessed for their access and facilities at least every three years, sometimes more often if for example, they have upgraded the facilities, or there has been a change of ownership.

Ask proprietors if they work to the NAS when you make a booking.

Feedback from some proprietors

Self-Catering Accommodation, Cornwall
"We have a two-bedroom cottage with disabled access, we're registered in the National Accessible Scheme and we've been pleasantly surprised by the number of bookings," says the owner. "In our first year of business, families with a disabled or elderly person have accounted for 35% of our bookings. What's more, most of them have told us that they would recommend our accommodation to others."

He is so pleased with bookings that he is looking at building a second cottage for up to four guests.

B&B, Wiltshire
This is a B&B with a ground-floor bedroom and large en-suite wheel-in shower.
"This has helped a wide range of guests, including disabled people," says the owner'. "We've been able to accommodate older guests who prefer not to climb stairs, guests with heavy luggage and a guest with a broken leg."

"We have a lot of loyalty among our guests, some of whom have returned many times and become friends. The National Accessible Scheme has helped people to identify what we have on offer."

National Accessible Scheme ratings and TFA

As a marketing scheme, all the properties inspected and awarded a rating are then included in both VisitEngland’s marketing and through the Tourism for All / OpenBritain information service, including this website and information guides. For more information on the National Accessible Scheme, please click here.

For information about the NAS criteria, email Ross Calladine: Ross.Calladine@visitengland.org

For a moderately priced fee Tourism for All can act as an agent using Associates to offer you an advisory visit which will highlight any areas that might not meet legal expectations, and make suggestions so that you can formulate a reasonable plan for present and future policies and adjustments. Our reports contain photographic support and are easy for the lay person to follow. These are business-led suggestions which will not suggest unnecessary or overly expensive developments, and will take into account the different disability perspectives.

To book an inspection, call Brian Seaman on 0845 124 9974 or email brian@tourismforall.org.uk

Tourism for All also offers the following products & services:

  • E-learning - TFA Training
    In the effort to ensure that all frontline staff working with customers have had training in welcoming customers with disabilities, Tourism for All UK has been part of a project to create an e-learning platform offering both self- and guided or on-the-job training to individuals and companies across the hospitality sector. More info

(Last Updated: 13-04-2016)