Accessibility

Access Guide for Rabbie’s Small Group Tours


This access statement does not represent the company’s opinions as to our suitability for those with access needs, but aims to accurately describe the facilities and services that we offer all our guests/visitors.

Introduction


Rabbie’s is a small group tour operator offering mini-coach tours from 1 to 17 days in length, throughout the UK and Ireland. Our departure cities are Edinburgh, Glasgow, London and Dublin.


We welcome customers from all over the world. Our minimum age is 5 but we have no maximum! The tours are guided in English with a live guide rather than a recorded commentary. Written tour summaries can be provided on request in various languages.


Our tours are designed to have lots of time off the bus for visits to attractions, nature walks and photo opportunities. All such activities are optional and in most cases there are alternatives depending on the interests and abilities of individual visitors.


Our maximum group size of 16 allows our driver/guides to spend more time with their guests and provide information that allows individuals to assess the suitability of different options for themselves.


We look forward to welcoming you. If you have any questions or require any further assistance please phone 0131 226 3133 (within the UK) +44 131 226 3133 (from abroad) or email tours@rabbies.com.


Booking a tour


Our tours can be booked in various ways:

  1. On our website at www.rabbies.com
  2. By phone 0131 226 3133 (within the UK) +44 131 226 3133 (from abroad)
  3. By email to tours@rabbies.com
  4. Through many local travel agencies and tour operators worldwide


1. Our website is fully W3C compliant and satisfies current accessibility guidelines. The website booking pages use fully secure communications to transact with Sagepay, our online payment provider, to ensure reliability, safety and peace of mind.


2. All our staff speak in clear simple English when on the phone. Please feel free to ask them to speak slower or to repeat things if necessary – it is in our interests to understand you! We have staff members who speak Spanish, German, Italian and Mandarin but unfortunately due to shift patterns we cannot guarantee when they will be available. If language is potentially a problem please email instead.


3. We aim to respond to all emails within 24 hours. Please let us know of any special assistance you may require so we can give the best help and advice.


4. If you prefer to book through your local travel agency please ask them to contact us on your behalf using the contact details above.


Edinburgh departures


Getting to us

For full details and maps of how to reach us please see the directions section of our website. Alternatively, you can plan your journey to us by car using www.google.co.uk/maps/ Our postcode is EH1 3EG. It is usually possible to drop off on the north side of Waterloo Place – across the road from the departure point. There is no long term on-street parking close by. The nearest 24 hour car park is the NCP St. James Centre – a 200m walk from the departure point.


To plan your journey by public transport please use www.travelinescotland.com Our street address is 6 Waterloo Place EH1 3EG. We have not been here for long so some searches for “Rabbies” come up with our old addresses. Please note we are NOT in High Street or Old Fishmarket Close anymore.


The nearest railway station is Edinburgh Waverley. There is lift and escalator access between the station platforms and the Waverley Steps/Princes Street exit. From there we are a 100m walk. Turn right out of the exit passing the Balmoral Hotel, across the junction at the traffic lights and we are straight ahead. Taxis are available at the rear of the station again with lift access. All Edinburgh taxi companies are able to provide accessible vehicles on request. If you wish to book in advance call Central Taxis on 0131 229 2468. There is a taxi rank outside the café.


The main intercity coach station is on St Andrew’s Square – a 500m, mostly level, walk from us. Airlink bus services drop off beside the train station on Waverley Bridge– a 300m slightly uphill walk. The closest tram stop is St Andrew’s Square – about 400m away. The tram runs to Edinburgh airport. There are many bus stops within 100m of us with routes accessing most parts of the city and surrounding area. Most local buses are accessible and can accommodate wheelchairs. For more details on local bus and tram services please go to http://transportforedinburgh.com/


Check in for our tours is at Rabbie’s Café at 6 Waterloo Place EH1 3EG. We are lucky to be in a fine Grade A listed historic building in the centre of the city. However we were limited as to the alternations we could make so there are certain access restrictions.


Check in

The café is open from 7.30am and we usually have check in staff both inside and outside the building on the street. You should check in for your tour at least 15 minutes before the scheduled departure time. It is not necessary to enter the building to check in – one of our staff will welcome you at the entrance, check you in and direct you to your tour bus. All you need to check in is your name and your ticket reference number.


Check in staff carry iPads with all your tour details to aid communication. All tour departures will be announced both verbally by the check in team and visually on the departure boards in the café. It is a 150m level walk from the café to the bus departure point. You will be directed by one of the check in team. Please ask for assistance if required – we are always happy to help.


Café

The main access to the café (picture on previous page) has three steps each 140 mm in height and a 1050 mm wide swing door opening inwards. We do not have ramp access. There are no internal steps.


Easier access (one step of 120 mm in height) is available through our office entrance round the corner to the left. Please press the buzzer labelled Rabbie’s for assistance (buzzer height 1400 mm). While the office entrance door is 900 mm wide the internal access doors (original features so not something we can change) are 750 mm wide.


The interior of the café has a mix of high (1080 mm clearance) and low (680 mm clearance) tables and a variety of fixed and moveable seating. There is space to move furniture around and to accommodate wheelchair users. Please ask the café staff to assist.


The self-service counter is at 900 mm height but we also offer table service if required. Most of our food is freshly prepared. For food allergy and special dietary requirements please ask our café staff for advice. The service counter has a hearing loop system installed.


The café has a unisex accessible public toilet with movement sensor activated lighting, grab rails, lever tap, low toilet and sink and emergency alarm cord. The floor surface is rough tile.


Glasgow departures


Our Glasgow tours have an on street meeting point. We do NOT have any premises in Glasgow and there is currently no on street signage but please don’t worry – your bus will arrive 15 minutes before departure time! The street address is 266 George Street Glasgow G1 1QX outside a building called Parish Halls.


Getting to us

For full details and maps of how to reach us please see the directions section of our website. Alternatively, you can plan your journey to us by car using www.google.co.uk/maps/ . For some reason on Google Maps the postcode directs you too far along George Street. We are on the section between North Frederick and John Streets. It is possible to drop off at the departure point. There is no long term on-street parking close by.


The nearest 24 hour car park with disabled bays is the NCP The Glasshouse – about a 350m mostly level walk from the departure point.


To plan your journey by public transport please use www.travelinescotland.com Our street address is 266 George Street Glasgow. The nearest railway station is Glasgow Queen Street. There is ramp access from the station onto George Square from where we are a 200m walk. Turn left into George Square crossing N. Hanover and N. Frederick Streets to reach us.


Taxis are available at the rear of the station with level access. All vehicles from Glasgow Taxis arefully accessible. To booking in advance contact Glasgow Taxis on 0141 429 7070.


The main intercity coach station is on Buchanan Street – a 700m downhill walk from us. Airport shuttle bus services drop off on George Square– a 250m level walk. The closest underground station is Buchanan Street – about 400m away – again mostly level.


There are many bus stops nearby with routes accessing most parts of the city and surrounding area. Most local buses are accessible and can accommodate wheelchairs. For more details on local bus, rail and underground services please go to http://www.spt.co.uk/


Check in

Check in will be carried out by your driver/guide. Look out for the Rabbie’s bus arriving at the departure point.


You should be at the departure point at least 15 minutes before the scheduled departure time. All you need to check in is your name and your ticket reference number. There are no facilities at the departure point. The nearest public toilets, shops and refreshments are in Queen Street Train Station.


London departures


Our London tours depart from Stance 3 in the Greenline Coach terminal in Victoria. Please note this is not the Victoria Coach Station which is on the other side of the road. We do NOT have any premises in London and there is limited signage at the departure point but please don’t worry – your bus will arrive 15 minutes before departure time! The Greenline ticket office staff will be able to direct you to the correct stance.


The full address is Stance 3, Greenline Coach Terminal, Bulleid Way, Victoria, SW1W 9SH. If you are arriving on foot then access is through the Fountain Square Shopping Arcade 123-151 Buckingham Palace.


Getting to us

For full details and maps of how to reach us please see the directions section of our website. You can plan your journey to us by car using www.google.co.uk/maps/ . It is possible to drop off in the Greenline Coach Terminal. There is no long term on-street parking close by. The nearest 24 hour car park with disabled bays is the NCP Semley Place, off Buckingham Palace Road, SW1W 9QL – about a 350m mostly level walk from the departure point. We would not recommend parking long term due to the high costs.


To plan your journey by public transport please use https://www.tfl.gov.uk/plan-a-journey/ The nearest railway and tube stations are Victoria. There is level access from Victoria Station via Buckingham Palace Road and Fountain Square to the departure point - about a 500m walk. Taxis are available at the front of the station with level access. All London “black cab” taxis are fully accessible. There are two intercity coach terminals – The Greenline Terminal where we depart from and Victoria Coach Station which is on the other side of Buckingham Palace Road – a 150m level walk from us. There are many bus stops on Buckingham Palace Road with routes accessing most parts of the city. Most local buses are accessible and can accommodate wheelchairs. For more details on local bus, rail and tube services please go to https://www.tfl.gov.uk/


Check in

Check in will be carried out either by your driver/guide or by one of our London based team. Look out for the Rabbie’s bus arriving at the departure point or a team member in Rabbie’s uniform at Stance 3.


You should be at the departure point at least 15 minutes before the scheduled departure time. All you need to check in is your name and your ticket reference number.


There are no public toilet facilities in the Greenline Coach terminal but there are cafes with customer toilets on site. The nearest public toilets are in the Victoria Coach Station across the road.


Dublin departures


Our Dublin tours have an on street meeting point. We do NOT have any premises in Dublin and there is currently no on street signage but please don’t worry – your bus will arrive 15 minutes before departure time! The street address is Opposite the Kilkenny Shop, 6-15 Nassau St, Dublin 2.


Getting to us

For full details and maps of how to reach us please see the directions section of our website. Alternatively, you can plan your journey to us by car using www.google.co.uk/maps/. It is usually possible to drop off at the departure point. There is no long term on-street parking close by. The nearest 24 hour car park is Q-Park Setanta Place, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2 – about a 200m level walk from the departure point.


To plan your journey by bus please use http://www.dublinbus.ie/ The nearest railway station is Pearse from where it is a 550m level walk to the departure point. To plan a rail journey please use http://www.irishrail.ie/


There are many bus stops on Nassau Street with routes accessing most parts of the city and surrounding area. Most local buses are accessible and can accommodate wheelchairs. For more details on local bus and light rail (Luas) services please go to http://www.dublin.ie/transport/home.htm


Check in

Check in will be carried out by your driver/guide. Our tours in Ireland are operated by a local company called Rose Travel. The buses will have Rabbie’s signage as well as Rose Travel branding and your driver/guide will be wearing Rabbie’s uniform. The buses are normally at the departure point at least 15 minutes before departure.


You should be at the departure point at least 15 minutes before the scheduled departure time. All you need to check in is your name and your ticket reference number.


There are no facilities at the departure point. There are cafes with toilet facilities close by on Nassau Street.


The tours themselves.


Mini-coaches

All our tours in the UK are operated in 16 seat Mercedes Mini-coaches. The Irish tours use different makes of coach but are similar in layout and facilities.


Entry and exit from the mini-coaches is via the front left passenger door. There are three steps up into the coach – each 150mm in height. There are grab handles on both sides, the step edges are clearly marked and the treads are non-slip.


The seats are standard coach seats mostly on the level with one step up to the back row of seats. The seating configuration has single seats on the passenger side and double seats on the driver’s side. All seats have full three point seatbelts which must be worn when the vehicle is moving. Seat belt extenders are available if required. Booster seats for smaller children are also available if required – we should be notified in advance of any children under 1.2m in height who would require a booster seat.


Our buses are not wheelchair accessible however we have large luggage compartments which will easily take a folding wheelchair or walking frame. Our staff are not able to offer physical assistance when boarding or disembarking from the buses or at any point during the tour. Guests should be comfortable getting on and off the bus on their own or with the assistance of a travelling companion.


Commentary

The tours are guided in English. Safety instructions will be given verbally by the driver-guide before departure. If anything is unclear please bring this to the driver’s attention. The driver-guide will generally use a microphone and there are speakers throughout the vehicle.

There are regular stops during the tour during which the driver-guides will be happy to answer any questions and repeat any information you may have missed.

On our Edinburgh City Tours, the commentary is a mixture of live guide and pre-recorded audio commentary.


Tour stops

We make regular comfort breaks throughout the day – normally there would be no more than two hours between stops with toilet facilities. Because these facilities are in a variety of different locations operated by third parties, some public, some private - we cannot be specific about the accessibility of each stop but in most places fully accessible toilets are available.


Our tours are designed to have lots of stops with as much time off the bus as possible. Most tours include visits to attractions of various types as well as nature walks of varying lengths. Our tour itineraries cover much of the UK and Ireland and it is not practical to try and detail the accessibility situation in all the places we visit or potentially may stop. We endeavour to make sure that most of the places we visit are accessible to as wide a range of guests as possible but there will always be some restrictions.


For instance:

Castles and historic buildings by their nature may have areas inaccessible for people with mobility problems. Narrow stairways, uneven floors and steep slopes are common. Nature walks may involve uneven surfaces, steep slopes and unfenced drops.


All such activities are optional and in most cases there are accessible alternatives depending on the interests and abilities of individual visitors. Some of our tours involve fewer activities and are more accessible than others – our experienced reservations team can help you decide.


Accommodation on overnight tours

As part of our sustainable tourism policies we use a large number of local accommodation suppliers in the many different locations we stay in on the overnight tours. Not all suppliers have the same level of accessibility at their accommodation. For instance many do not have lift access to upper floors or fully accessible rooms. It is therefore not possible to give definitive access details for our overnight tour accommodation here.


We generally book the accommodation on behalf of our guests and would ask that any access requirements are made clear at the time of booking so as we can ensure that the most appropriate accommodation is booked. If you would rather book your own accommodation please contact us for advice on suitable locations within our destinations.


Other information


All of our staff receive regular training that includes disability awareness training.

We have a set of evacuation procedures for our café and buses – should you require it someone will assist you out of the building/vehicle to a place of safety.

Clear signage is used throughout the attraction using Arial font large letters black on a yellow background.


Future plans


We will continually review this statement and feedback we receive from our guests to see what additional steps we can make to improve accessibility


Contact Information

Rabbie’s Small Group Tours, 6 Waterloo Place, Edinburgh EH1 3EG

Telephone: 0131 226 3133

Email: tours@rabbies.com

Website: www.rabbies.com


Scottish Tourist Board 5 Stars Scottish Thistle Awards Winner 2015/2016 Green Tourism Award