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Home » Blog » Motability drives: The best of Great British railways

BMW, MINI, Mercedes-Benz and now Smart vehicles are all available through the award-winning Stratstone Motability scheme. Motability has been giving freedom to thousands of disabled people across the United Kingdom since 1978.

This month, we've picked out three ideal locations for any Motability customer that celebrate the very best of the railways which helped to modernise industrial Britain. There's something to suit everyone, from the expansive history of the Great Western Railway to the picturesque steam trains of Ravenglass. All with easy access, and plenty on offer, why not plan your next day out with one of these in mind?

Ravenglass & Eskdale Steam Railway, Cumbria

Railway Ravenglass, CA18 1SW

The only coastal village in the Lake District, Ravenglass is not only beautifully picturesque, but wonderfully quiet. The Ravenglass & Eskdale Steam Railway is situated at the heart of it all; amongst the dramatic mountain scenery and sweeping coastline. There's something quintessentially British about the steam railway, and in this area of Cumbria it looks right at home. It features three disable parking spaces for easy access. The four locomotives, which have ramped access and easily accessible carriages, wind seven miles inland through scenic countryside.

The area is also ideal for a short walk, which culminates at the site of some ancient Roman remains. The Ravenglass car park has accessible toilets and disabled parking. As you set off follow signposts to the Roman Bath House, which takes you past the steam railway and across the railway bridge. After about half an hour of relatively level walking, you will arrive at the destroyed Roman fort of Glannoventa. The Bath House is one of the largest remaining Roman structures in the UK.

STEAM Museum of the Great Western Railway, Wiltshire

Kemble Drive, Swindon, SN2 2TA

In its heyday, the Great Western Railway Works turned out over 100 locomotives every year. Some of the most revered models were built here, by the some-10,000 people employed by the works at the turn of the early 20th century. As you'd expect, the museum is populated by some of the great British locomotives such as the Caerphilly Castle, but is also privy to figures of former railway workers. The Works area of the museum sheds light on the daily life of Great Western Railway Employees, and the museum serves as a really interesting day out.

Best of all the museum is really quite accessible. A large car park with disabled parking access is right next to the main entrance, where automatic doors lead in to the main reception and toilet access. All of the museum's exhibits are at ground level, or are accessible by ramps to get the most out of everything. Lifts are available for higher levels, and three powered scooters are available for use.

The National Railway Museum - Shildon and York

Shildon, DL4 1PQ and York, YO26 4XJ

The National Railway Museum is based upon Britain's first ever passenger transport line which was opened in 1825 - and some of the trains which feature are approaching 200 years old. The Shildon site is stretched over seven buildings, and the reception can help you plan your visit with videos and a scale model of the museum. From coal drops to the parcel office, every area of the restored station is up for exploration. 

The site's buildings are situated close together and linked by an easily accessible car park, aside from the newest building which is a short, ten-minute walk away. A wheelchair accessible bus makes this journey every few minutes. The museum is extremely spacious, with the café and shop also easily accessible. If you prefer, there is also an outdoor picnic area and plenty of space for kids to enjoy! The only area currently not accessible for everybody is a ride on their still-running steam train, though work is underway to aid with this currently.

The York site boasts over 300 different locomotives, and won a Museum of the year award in 2001. It is located a short walk from York railway station, and also offers disabled parking spaces. Wheelchairs are available free of charge, whilst mobility scooters are available with a £5 rental.