Gloucester Guildhall | 2nd May 2018
You can enter the Guildhall directly from the Kings Walk car park, which is free after 6pm. You can park in here for up to 3 hours with a blue badge but you do need to complete an application form to get the electronic tag. To enter the building via the car park there is a steel ramp.
If you’re not entering the Guildhall via the Kings Walk car park, the main entrance is on Eastgate street. There is a singular automatic door and straight away steps leading up to the box office on level 1 or a lift which has access to all floors. All of the hallways across the venue are nice and wide and easy to navigate with a wheelchair. Considering the Guildhall is an old building, which is often where accessibility issues can be found, the accessibility across the venue is very good – wide entrances, hallways and big rooms.
The Guildhall monitor how many wheelchair users are in the building at the same time, due to the fact it is all above the ground floor. The maximum capacity is 8 people as this is the amount of wheelchairs they can get out of the building safely in the case of an emergency.
Guide dogs are allowed in the building.
The box office is on the first floor and has a low reception point which makes it easy for a wheelchair user to communicate with staff on reception.
The cinema is on the second floor, the main entrance for the cinema is down a small flight of stairs which is accessible via a platform lift and then up another platform lift to get into the cinema. There is a rear entrance to the cinema which cuts out the stairs, a member of staff will be happy to open this for you as it will be easier and quicker than using the platform lifts.
If you are in a wheelchair it is advisable to arrive a little earlier than the showing time for the film so that you can find the most suitable position for you. All of the seats within the cinema can be moved so you can sit wherever you prefer.
There is a large entertainment hall which is on the second floor, to get to the hall you are required to use the door lift and the platform lift. The hall is used for concerts and gigs etc. There is tiered seating which can be folded away or extend across the hall it is large but would still be an intimate gig.
If the gig was standing it may be a little overcrowded and busy for someone in a wheelchair as there are no cornered off sections or anywhere specifically for disabled people. If it was seated the tiered seating would be inaccessible for a wheelchair but there would be plenty of space at the front.
There is a refuge point just behind the hall in case of an emergency where the emergency services will collect people in need of help, there is a flight of stairs leading to the refuge point which is a fire exit/staff only.
The café is located on the second floor which is accessible via the door lift and platform lift, there is a wide entrance into the café, the tables are suitable for my wheelchair to fit under and the walkways are nice and wide. There is also a lower section to the bar on the righthand side. The menus are nice and light however, they don’t offer a larger print menu. The café uses local and fresh produce and can accommodate for vegan and gluten free.
Studio / Meeting Rooms
There is a studio room with a mirrored wall that can be used for dance lessons, there are also several meeting rooms of different sizes across the venue that can be hired out for meetings, events, conferences etc. Each of the rooms have a wide entrance and are easy to get in and out of.
Chris kindly showed us around the venue at short notice and gave us lots of information about the venue. On other occasions when I have visited the Guildhall all of the staff have been polite and helpful
The door lift to all floors is easy to use and large enough for my wheelchair and somebody to assist, although a slight squeeze. However it is not large enough to turn around in. The buttons are a low height and nice and big so easy to use.
There are two platform lifts on the second floor, there is a sign to ask a staff member for help but they were easy to use.
There are three disabled toilets in the building, two on the second floor and one of the third floor. The toilet on the third floor is a little cramped so a large wheelchair user may find it easier to use one of the toilets on the second floor. However, it still had ramps for a left and right hand transfer and the sink and other facilities were all at a lowered height.
Both toilets on the second floor are larger and again all facilities at an appropriate height.