image of a ramp at Easling Town Hall, London, illustrating easy access to historic buildings

The access ramp at Ealing Town Hall designed to blend with the existing building © Historic England
The access ramp at Ealing Town Hall designed to blend with the existing building © Historic England

Improving Access to Historic Buildings and Landscapes

Historic England's guidelines on improving access to historic buildings and landscapes for people with disabilities, explain how to make a range of positive changes to historic places, while at the same time working within the wider principles of conservation.

Aimed at those who own, manage or get involved in adapting historic places such as architects, the guidelines include a summary of the statutory framework, as well as examples of successful approaches, ranging from minor improvements to high-quality modern design solutions.

The guidance also emphasises the need to take a clear brief and to explore alternatives in a creative way, so that good quality effective solutions can be found.

The importance of understanding the significance and vulnerabilities of the historic building, place or landscape and having a good knowledge of the needs of the users are also highlighted.

Easy Access to Historic Buildings

Published 5 June 2015

These guidelines focus on physical access issues because these often pose the greatest challenges as well as opportunities for historic buildings.

Learn more

Easy Access to Historic Landscapes

Published 5 June 2015

The aim of this guide is to help property owners and managers provide easier access for all their visitors, whatever their age or level of ability. It will also be of value to designers, planners, and others working to open up historic sites to a wider audience.

Learn more

Inclusive Design Hub and free online CPD course

The Design Council with support from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Historic England and others has created an online hub on inclusive design guidance for built environment professionals. It covers buildings and outdoor spaces, in all phases of development including planning, design and construction, right through to the management of those buildings and places:

A free online Inclusive Environments CPD course is also available too. It takes about an hour to complete and the Design Council will provide a CPD certificate.

Unlocking Landscapes Network

Historic England is working with Clare Hickman of Newcastle University and Sarah Bell of the University of Exeter on the ‘Unlocking Landscapes Network: History, Culture and Sensory Diversity in Landscape Use and Decision Making’. The network brings together academics, practitioners and policy makers to consider the complex ways in which landscapes become meaningful to diverse individuals and groups through their senses, personal memories and shared histories.

The network is funded by the joint research councils’ programme ‘Changing Landscapes: ‘Towards a new Decision Making Framework for UK Landscapes and Land Assets’.

The network steering group also includes Bristol University, the National Trust, the Woodland Trust, the Sensory Trust, Sense, and Natural Inclusion.

For more information, see the Unlocking Landscapes blog  

Was this page helpful?