This access statement does not contain personal opinions as to our suitability for those with disabilities, but aims to accurately describe the facilities and services that we offer all of our guests.
For full details and maps of how to reach us please see our How to Get Here.
Our postcode is CH1 1SZ, and we are located next to Hickory’s Smokehouse. If using a SatNav, please check that this postcode sends you down Souters Lane and not Dee Lane.
There are a number of major roads including the M53, M56, M6 and A483 that provide excellent links to Chester from North Wales, Liverpool, Manchester and the south of England.
Our moorings are signposted from some of these roads and in the city centre. Follow the brown road signs for “River trips”.
Our address is The Groves, Souters Lane, Chester, CH1 1SZ (if using a SatNav please check that this is sending you down Souters Lane and not Dee Lane).
Please note that there are a limited number of free parking spaces at The Groves, which can fill up quickly in the summer, and they are not operated by us. Parking is limited to 1 hour in the standard bays. With a Blue Badge parking is available for 3 hours in a standard bay or untimed in a disabled bay.
if you are able we recommend parking elsewhere in the city. The nearest car parks are:
NCP Pepper Street Car Park, Pepper St, Chester, CH1 1DF (multistorey car park with 287 spaces, approx. 5 minute walk down a slight hill)
Little Roodee Coach & Car Park. Grosvenor Rd, Chester, CH1 1SL (outdoor car park with 452 spaces, approx. 8 minute flat walk along the river)
Click here to see more info on council car parks.
Stagecoach operates a frequent Park and Ride service into the city from Boughton Heath (CH3 5QD), Upton (CH2 1EU), and Wrexham Road (CH4 9DE). For more information about the Park and Ride service in Chester, please click here.
From March to October (exact dates vary by year) Stagecoach operate a City Sightseeing tour bus around the city. The bus has wheelchair access and stops right next to our moorings on The Groves, while ramp access down to the quayside.
Please check with your transport provider for correct accessibility information.
Our customer office is the cream and black barge, Minerva, permanently moored on the river Dee at Souters Lane, opposite Hickory’s Smokehouse.
Access to Minerva is via a wheelchair-accessible ramp measuring 86 cm wide and then a double doorway measuring 88cm wide.
There are four steps down into the main sales area but the sales team will happily meet customers in the main entrance office area should you have difficulty with these stairs.
The office is open by appointment. If you’re just visiting for a sightseeing cruise, you can book your tickets online or at the ticket kiosk.
All of our cruises depart from the moorings at Souters Lane, the Groves, Chester, CH1 1SZ.
At the Groves we have two floating pontoons with wooden decking and steel handrails.
The first pontoon, directly opposite Hickory’s Smokehouse, provides access to the vessels operating our Half-hour City Cruises. It is accessible to wheelchair users and is accessed via a ramp with hand rails on either side. The angle of the ramp will vary with river height but should not exceed 12 degrees. The ramp is 167cm wide and has a 10cm lip when you first access it from the riverside path.
The second pontoon, closer to our office barge Minerva, provides access to the vessel operating our Two-hour Iron Bridge Cruise. Again, it is accessible to wheelchair users and is accessed via a ramp with hand rails on either side. The angle of the ramp will vary with river height but should not exceed 12 degrees. The ramp is 112cm wide and sits level with the riverside path.
Both of the pontoons can be reached via the paved slope adjacent to the steps leading to our Half Hour landing stage. Alternatively, there are steps with handrails leading down to both of our pontoons.
During high tides, all cruises will sail from the Half-hour pontoon. We have a temporary ramp which will span from the steps to the Half-hour pontoon or alternatively from the paved slope adjacent to them. This ramp is 76cm wide.
There will always be a member of staff available to offer assistance on board for any of our cruises, should this be required.
The landings have been designed so that there will be the smallest possible step up or down from the landing stage to the vessels boarding point.
Because the landing stages float, any step onto the boat will remain constant with river height.
As passengers embark or disembark the boat will fall or rise slightly relative to the landing and this may result in a small step up or down when boarding the boat.
From the two pontoons, a temporary ramp can be used to provide access to the Lady Diana and the Mark Twain.
The temporary wheelchair access ramps on both of our pontoons are 77cm wide at the narrowest point and the boarding gates of the Lady Diana and Mark Twain are wider than the ramp. So the maximum width wheelchair that could access either of these vessels is 76cm. In both instances, this would give access to the rear mid-level deck.
The Jackie has several steps and is not compatible with the wheelchair access ramp so it is not suitable for wheelchair users.
Passengers requiring wheelchair access are advise to contact us ahead of time to check what times the Lady Diana and Mark Twain are sailing.
It is not possible to accommodate mobility scooters on board any of the boats but they may be left on the landing stage at The Groves during the cruise.
The map below details the location of Minerva and our two pontoons:
As detailed above, the Lady Diana and Mark Twain are accessible to some extent by wheelchair.
The wheelchair accessible area of each boat is the rear deck, which is heated and enclosed. During sightseeing cruises and some evening cruises (such as Fish & Chip Fridays) we can accommodate wheelchair users in this area. However for any cruises requiring a dancefloor (Party Nights Afloat and some private charters) the rear deck is not used as a seating area.
Due to the design of our boats, access to the upper decks can be difficult for those with restricted mobility and is not accessible with a wheelchair.
Unfortunately, none of our fleet have wheelchair accessible toilets.
For these reasons we would not consider Party Nights Afloat, or private charters requiring a dancefloor, to be suitable for wheelchair users who would be unable to manage to the stairs to the upper or lower deck.
All boats have an amplified public address system with speakers located on the open and enclosed decks. Those with a hearing impairment may find it useful to ask a crew member where best to sit to enjoy the commentary. All passengers are encouraged to request that the volume is increased if they are having difficulty hearing the commentary clearly.
All crew members are aware that we welcome all people on board and that some may have a mental or physical illness or disability, dementia or a learning disability including autistic spectrum disorder that means that they may need some extra assistance or understanding to fully enjoying their cruise.
The following information regards specific details about each of the vessels in our fleet:
The Lady Diana boarding gate is compatible with our temporary wheelchair accessible ramp, ensuring accessibility is easier for wheelchairs and also those with pushchairs and passengers with restricted mobility. The toilets are small and unsuitable for wheelchair users. The upper deck is fully enclosed providing shelter from rain but the windows can be removed in warmer conditions.
The Mark Twain boarding gate is also compatible with our temporary wheelchair accessible ramp, ensuring accessibility is easier for wheelchairs and also those with pushchairs and passengers with restricted mobility. The toilets are again small and unsuitable for wheelchair users. The upper deck is fully enclosed providing shelter from rain but the windows can be removed in warmer conditions. Please see the images below:
The Jackie is unfortunately not compatible with our temporary wheelchair accessible ramp and has steps leading in both directions from the boarding gate, so the boat is not suitable for wheelchairs and also those with pushchairs. There are two temporary aluminium steps to board the Jackie.
The toilet is again small and unsuitable for wheelchair users. The upper deck is open. Please see the images below: