Two lifeguards stand beside an indoor pool marked "deep water," surrounded by tiled walls and large windows.
Heritage at Risk 2018. Moseley Road Baths. © Historic England Archive. DP218866.
Heritage at Risk 2018. Moseley Road Baths. © Historic England Archive. DP218866.

What Should I Check at a Venue to Ensure It Is Accessible?

What is this resource for?

This accessibility checklist is for anyone who wants to organise and plan an accessible event, such as a community event, a workplace away day, an exhibition, or a workshop. It will help you decide which venue will be the most appropriate and accessible for your event.

This resource is intended for small heritage organisations or groups. Where possible and appropriate, large organisations should pay for a full accessibility audit.

What are the key points?

  • An accessibility checklist may help you decide if a venue is appropriate for an event
  • You may find that an extensive checklist is not necessary depending on the venue or event
  • A venue may have its own accessibility checklist online, which you could use alongside this one
  • Consider all parts of the venue, not just entrances. This could include fire alarms, toilets, meeting rooms, and whether the staff have received accessibility training

How should I use this checklist?

We recommend a site visit before booking a venue. Take this checklist with you to help you decide if the venue is appropriate for your event. Depending on the scale of the event, it might be that not everything on the list has to be covered. Still, it is important to use your judgement about which areas will be deal-breakers in ensuring everyone can access the event fully and meaningfully.

You should not use the list in isolation. Does the venue have accessibility information available online? If not, it may be worth checking why not in advance. If information is available, prepare any questions you might have before visiting. Make sure to speak to a venue's manager or events manager.

What does this checklist cover?

The checklist should follow the route your visitors will make on the event day, including wheelchair users and those who are less mobile. This list is not exhaustive, and if the event or use of the venue will be regular or long-running, we advise seeking a full accessibility audit.

There are links to further reading and other resources at the end of this page.



  • Do all the venue staff receive frequent disability and inclusion awareness training?
  • Do staff know how to provide practical support to visitors and use equipment such as induction loops or portable ramps?
  • Are staff trained in how to use the evacuation chairs?
  • Do all event staff and volunteers have accessibility training related to the site so they can offer consistent responses to any request for information about accessibility? This includes information regarding: accessible areas; equipment and facilities such as accessible parking; accessible toilets; induction loops; fire evacuation; and accessible formats for interpretation such as large-print, BSL and tactile exhibits, maps and features.

Equipment, facilities and resources

  • Are access guides available with accurate and up-to-date information about facilities in place? If so, are any printed access guides available in a range of formats, such as large print?
  • Is there appropriate signage in the reception area/lobby indicating the availability of various access services? Is there signage stating that the organisation supports the Sunflower Lanyard (Hidden Disabilities Lanyard)?
  • Are evacuation chairs provided, and is there signage indicating their location?
  • Are emergency cord alarms tested at regular intervals to ensure that they are working?
  • Do emergency cords all reach the ground?
  • Are induction loops frequently tested?
  • Does the surface of any ramps contrast visually with the floor or ground so that its presence is clear for people who are partially sighted?
  • Are there handrails on both sides of any ramps?
  • Are there any visual and/or tactile signifiers at the top and base of steps?
  • Are steps and staircases appropriately lit?
  • Is there a multi-faith prayer room available for visitors? Are there appropriate washing facilities for ritual ablution?
  • Are there live-streaming facilities for people who cannot attend in person?
  • If the venue is also catering, will all foods contain ingredient labels and allergen information? Are there gluten-free and vegan options?
  • Is there access to open space and water for guide dogs and service dogs?


  • Are lift doors (including lifts from the car park) wide enough for a wheelchair?
  • Is the lift big enough for a large wheelchair and at least 1 other person?
  • Are lift buttons at a suitable height for wheelchair users, and do the buttons have braille?
  • Does the lift give audio floor instructions?
  • Are the lift locations clearly signed at key locations throughout the site? Is there lift signage near the reception area and on entry to key stairwells?
  • Are there multiple lifts? What happens if the lifts are out of service on the day of the event?

Getting to the venue

  • Is the route clearly signed? Is the venue easy to find without the use of a smartphone?
  • Are surfaces even and slip-resistant? Is the paving flush with no cracks or gaps that could trap wheelchair wheels?
  • Is there accessible public transport (bus/train/underground) close to the venue?
  • Is there accessible connecting transport suitable for wheelchair users (for example, taxis) from public transport links if required?
  • Does the venue’s postcode work in satellite navigation systems to get vehicles to the door?
  • Are there accessible parking spaces on site? Are they clearly signposted? How many designated parking spaces are available, and can they be reserved?
  • Are designated parking spaces of sufficient width to allow wheelchair users to get in and out of the vehicle, with sufficient space on either side of the car and at the rear?
  • If designated parking is above or below reception level, is there an accessible lift from the car park to the entrance?
  • Are there any dropping-off points? What assistance can visitors receive if they are dropped off at the entrance?
  • Does the access route level have a firm, slip-resistant and reasonably smooth surface? Is the route or pathway wide enough? If a route or pathway is narrow, are there suitable passing places for wheelchair users? Are bushes trimmed back, and are low branches avoided?
  • Is the car park adequately lit? Do staff members frequently check the level of lighting within the car park?


  • Do entrance doors and lobby doors have viewing panels to alert people approaching a door to the presence of people on the other side?
  • Are there automatic doors? If so, do these remain open long enough to allow a wheelchair user or someone with limited mobility to pass through? If automatic doors are operated via a push pad rather than a sensor, are these clearly seen on approach (internally and externally)?
  • Are door controls at a suitable height for both standing and seated users? Are door handles clearly located, and easy to use and grip?
  • Are glass doors clearly visible when closed? Are manifestations suitably colour contrasted against the background? (Manifestations are visible designs on glass doors and windows to prevent people from walking into them; they might be decals or frosted designs)

Entering the venue

  • Is there a clear view into the venue from outside? Can front-of-house staff see visitors approaching and provide assistance if necessary?
  • Is the main entrance easy to find and clearly distinguishable from the facade?
  • Are disabled visitors able to enter the building by the same entrance as other visitors? If not, is there another entrance that is accessible to wheelchair users? Is there appropriate signage directing visitors to the accessible entrance?
  • If there are steps, how many are there? Is there a handrail?
  • Are entry systems and push pads clearly displayed and visible, and not obstructed so they can be approached and used by all users, including wheelchair users?
  • Is there a platform lift or a ramp suitable for wheelchair users? If there is a removable ramp, how does a wheelchair user signal that they need assistance?
  • If reception is above or below the entrance level, is there a lift (other than a service lift)?
  • Is the entrance lobby and reception area well-lit?
  • Are any mats on the floor flush with the floor and free of trip hazards?
  • If there is a reception desk, is it at a height suitable for people in wheelchairs? If not, can an alternative desk be used for all delegates?
  • Is there a section of the flooring in front of the reception desk suitably colour contrasted? This will aid people with impaired vision when attempting to locate the reception desk
  • Is seating provided in reception areas and available for people who might be less able to stand while waiting?

The room or rooms you will be using

  • Is there easy access to the room(s)? Are there any heavy doors?
  • Are the rooms large enough to allow for good circulation for a wheelchair user, particularly in any aisles?
  • Do rooms have good acoustics? Echoes can cause problems for people with hearing impairments
  • Is there a quiet room or space so people can step out of the main room or rooms?
  • Is there signage in the room indicating the availability of a fitted Induction Loop?
  • Are the lighting levels adequate and adjustable?
  • Can the lighting levels be reduced during presentations?
  • Are the lighting needs able to accommodate delegates that use interpreters or lip-read?
  • Are blinds available to control the natural light?
  • Are there microphones available if the room is to be used for a conference or lecture? Are there roaming microphones available for questions?
  • Is the floor free of trailing wires or other trip hazards?

Toilet facilities

  • Are there accessible toilets designed for disabled people on the same floors as the event and rooms that will be used? If not, are there accessible toilets accessible by a lift? Is there more than 1 accessible toilet?
  • Do outward opening accessible WC doors have a horizontal pull rail fitted to the interior face where no door closing device is fitted?
  • Do the toilets have alarm cords to alert venue staff in case assistance is required? Do these cords reach the ground, and are they regularly checked?
  • Are the locations of the accessible toilet facilities suitably identified and located? Does signage have the International Symbol of Access (the wheelchair symbol)?
  • If your event includes families and children, are there baby-changing facilities available to all genders?
  • Are gender-neutral toilet facilities available, and if not, can some toilets be designated gender-neutral for the event?

Fire alarms, exit points and emergency exit procedures

The management plan of a building should specify the procedure for carrying disabled people up or down stairs where necessary. Staff should be identified and trained to convey disabled people up and/or down the evacuation stairs. Fire alarms should be visible and audible to everyone, and all delegates should be made aware of where the fire exits are located should they need to evacuate.

  • Have the venue managers shown you their Fire Risk Assessment and evacuation plans?
  • Are fire exits clearly marked and unobscured by furniture and other trip hazards?
  • If disabled people are unable to leave the building, is there a suitable refuge area? Is an intercom provided within the refuge area, and does it have accessible features such as an LED display?
  • Does the venue have a procedure in place for evacuating any delegates who are unable to get out themselves?
  • Are staff trained in how to use the evacuation chairs?

Further reading

Checking accessibility | Disability charity Scope UK. Disability equality charity Scope’s guide highlights the questions disabled people will likely need answers to when accessing a venue. This resource also links to other websites with targeted recommendations.

Do you cater for neurodiversity? | ArtsProfessional. Neurodivergent people may have access needs that aren’t related to a physical or visible disability, and this guide to digital accessibility for events has many tips that are transferrable to virtual and in-person venues.

Seeds for Change: Venues and Accessibility. This simple guide from this social and environmental justice campaigning organisation considers access at venues.

Muslims in the Workplace: A Good Practice Guide for Employers and Employees. Item 4.16 on page 15 of this good practice guide from The Muslim Council of Britain highlights what is needed to provide a suitable multi-faith prayer or contemplation room at venues.