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AccessAble Review: Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth

Disabled blogger and journalist Emma Purcell reviews accessibility at Gunwharf Quays shopping centre in Portsmouth.

About Gunwharf Quays

Gunwharf Quays is an outlet shopping centre based in the heart of Portsmouth. It is situated at the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour between Old Portsmouth and Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard. It was opened in 2001 and was built upon the first main ordnance yard for the Royal Navy.

The centre has 90 outlet stores ranging from fashion, beauty, accessories, sportswear and gifts. There is also over 60 restaurants and cafes. In addition, there is a cinema, bowling alley, nightclub, casino, art gallery, powerboat rides and the iconic Spinnaker Tower.

Gunwharf Quays Access Guide Review

The AccessAble Access Guide for Gunwharf Quays gives information of the outdoor areas, indoor corridors, lifts, customer service offices and toilets. The Guide does not mention access inside the shops, restaurants and entertainment venues.

On my visit, I tried out  5 areas using the AccessAble App:

Inside Access

The inside access includes the Central Square, City Quay Square and the undercover corridors. This Guide provides all the relevant accessible information including level access for wheelchairs, whether there is visual & audible information available for blind and deaf visitors, the lighting and sound quality and the materials & textures of the flooring.

Lift - Central Square to First Floor

The main lift that takes you to the first floor is located on the north side of Central Square. The Guide gives detail of the lift dimensions, the fact the doors open both ways and describes the distance of where the lift is from the venue entrances plus the fact that it is located under the cinema.

Accessible Changing Places Toilet

There are 5 accessible toilets in total at the centre. The one I visited was the one that includes a ceiling hoist and changing table. The App does say it’s in City Quay Square and gives details to all the features including the measurements of the doorway, toilet, sink, hand rails, changing table and wheelchair turning space. It also describes the type of taps, where the flush is located, that there is a low level mirror and there is an emergency cord.

Marlborough Square Entrance

Marlborough Square is the pedestrianised entrance east of the shopping centre. It has a tunnel that goes under the railway line that people can walk through to go in and out of the city. This is also the entrance that takes you to public transport. The Guide is divided into two sections; Outside Access & Level Change Access. The Outside Access has no level access but the Level Change Access does have a permanent ramp.


The car park is an underground multi storey carpark that can be accessed via an escalator or lift. The Access Guide gives information about the disabled parking, carpark payments, the use of blue badges, size & distance of disabled spaces and vehicle height restrictions. There is also a 15 minute ‘Drop off’ point with a drop down curb which is located at the side of Marks and Spencers. However this is currently not mentioned on the Access Guide.

VIDEO: AccessAble Shopping at Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth

Here is the video I created of me visiting Gunwharf Quays and using the Access Guide


Overall, I had a lovely time visiting Gunwharf Quays. Treated myself to a new top and hoodie and enjoyed a spot of lunch in Frankie & Bennie’s. Definitely worth a visit if you’re ever in Portsmouth.

As well as the Gunwharf Quays guide, there is also a guide for the Marks & Spencers store in Gunwharf Quays & Holiday Inn Express Hotel at Gunwharf Quays.

You can download the AccessAble app on iOS & Android devices.

AccessAble Champion