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Scotlands Accessible Beaches: Exploring St Andrews West Sands in a Beach Wheelchair

Being a full-time power wheelchair user, I never imagined that I could enjoy a day trip to the beach like everyone else. However, the growing accessibility of beaches in the UK is enabling disabled people to experience the country’s breathtaking coastline with a range of accessible facilities, including the free rental of beach wheelchairs.

Now that the warmer weather is here I’m looking forward to visiting some of these accessible beaches, especially the many beautiful beaches in Scotland offering great wheelchair accessibility.

This got me thinking of last summer when my family and I were eager to make the most of the rare sunshine in Scotland and head to the beach. We packed a picnic and drove through the Fife Coastal Path, arriving in St Andrews.

It was a great day so I’d love to share it with you in case you are interested in visiting West Sands Beach in St Andrews but not sure what the accessibility is like.

Emma sitting in her beach wheelchair on St Andrews West Sands beach. Emma has her black hair in pigtail plaits and wearing a floral blouse and black sunglasses.

Using My Beach Wheelchair

I was excited to use my beach wheelchair again after almost two years. The WheelEEZ Beach wheelchair conversion kit is a game-changer for wheelchair users. It converts my manual wheelchair into a beach wheelchair, allowing me to access every part of the beach and even go right down to the water’s edge.

Related: My top 5 reasons why I love this beach wheelchair conversion kit

Two sandcastle buckets on the sand with a view across St Andrews West Sands Beach.
St Andrews West Sands Beach

Visiting St Andrews West Sands Beach

St Andrews has several beaches, but we decided to base ourselves at West Sands Beach. With its two-mile stretch of golden sand dunes and incredible views across the sea, it was the perfect spot for a day out with my family. 

When we arrived, we were able to park close to one of the sandy pathways down to the beach. However, there is also a wooden walkway providing wheelchair access to the beach.

Although we forgot the wheelchair armrests, we managed to improvise by tying a scarf around me and the backrest to prevent me from falling over to the side due to having poor trunk control.

Grey Ford Tourneo Connect wheelchair accessible vehicle parked on the grass next to the beach in St Andrews.
Photo of Emma sitting in the back of her WAV through the open side door. Emma has her black hair in pigtail plaits and wearing a floral blouse. She is smiling at the camera.
Photo of the back of Emma sitting in her beach wheelchair next to her WAV at St Andrews West Sands beach. Emma has her black hair in pigtail plaits and wearing a floral blouse and black sunglasses. She is looking out to the view across the sea.
Emma sitting in her beach wheelchair on the path at St Andrews West Sands beach. Emma has her black hair in pigtail plaits and wearing a floral blouse and black sunglasses. She is looking out to the view across the sea.
Emma sitting in her beach wheelchair on St Andrews West Sands beach. Emma has her black hair in pigtail plaits and wearing a floral blouse and black sunglasses.

Beach Wheelchair Rental at St Andrews West Sands Beach

St Andrews Beach Wheelchairs

Although I took my own beach wheelchair on this occasion, West Sands Beach also offers free rental of beach wheelchairs, which is fantastic. This is provided by St Andrews Environmental Network in partnership with the Hamish Foundation.

Depending on your individual needs and preferences, there are around five beach wheelchairs available including the Hippocampe and debug chairs. A hoist is available to help with transfers, so remember to bring your own sling along with you.

St Andrews Beach Wheelchairs hut at West Sands Beach. Four beach wheelchairs on display outside next to the hut.
Photo courtesy of St Andrews Beach Wheelchairs: Beach Wheelchair rental office

They are available to rent from the hut at West Sands Beach, but only on certain days. Advance booking is also required, so it’s best to check before visiting. To check availability and make a booking visit the St Andrews Beach Wheelchairs website.

I’m really keen to try one of their beach wheelchairs the next time I visit West Sands.

Accessible Toilets

Accessible toilets are available at the beach and a Changing Places facility is located at Bruce Embankment Public Toilets. I didn’t visit the toilets on this occasion but I will try the next time and check out what they are like.

Emma sitting in her beach wheelchair next to her partner who has his arm over her shoulder. Emma has her black hair in pigtail plaits and wearing a floral blouse and black sunglasses. They are at St Andrews West Sands beach.

What’s Nearby

Aside from the beach, there is something for everyone at West Sands. From relaxation to water activities, the beach is a popular destination for tourists and locals.

The Seashell Café sells snacks, and next to the beach is the world-renowned golf course. The town centre is just a fifteen-minute walk away, which is ideal if you want to enjoy a spot of shopping or grab some food in one of the restaurants.

The Wardlaw Museum at the University of St Andrews is located on The Scores, the same street as St Andrews Castle. The museum houses an impressive collection of art, history, science, and natural history that showcases the University’s past. If you’re in the area, it’s definitely worth a visit. Plus it has a wheelchair accessible rooftop terrace with stunning sea views across St Andrews Bay.

Related: Explore Anstruther and St Andrews with This Accessible Day Trip Guide

Emma sat in her wheelchair outside on the rooftop terrace at The Wardlaw Museum.

Scenic drive home

After a great day out, we decided to stop for chips on the way home. We enjoyed a detour through the lovely towns of Crail, Pittenween, and Elie, looking for a chip shop that didn’t have a massive queue. Finally, we found one in Leven, so we sat in our WAV and ate the chips at the promenade.

Overall, it was a fantastic day out, and we are now on a mission to visit as many Scottish beaches as possible during the summer months.

Photo of Emma sitting in the back of her WAV eating chips. Emma has her black hair in pigtail plaits and wearing a floral blouse. She is looking down at her chips.
Photo shows the view from inside the car looking out to the drive across the Queensferry Crossing.

Where Next: You Might Also Enjoy

Explore Anstruther and St Andrews with This Accessible Day Trip Guide

WheelEEZ® Beach Wheelchair Conversion Kit Makes Beach Days Accessible

5 Best Wheelchair Accessible Beaches in the UK

Homelands – Wheelchair Accessible Holiday Lodges in Fife, Scotland

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Meet Emma

Meet Emma

Hello I’m Emma. My mission is to show you the possibilities of accessible travel through my travel guides, tips and reviews. I also share personal stories, live event reviews and more.

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2 Responses

  1. Ugh, I’m so disappointed and worry about the future of our planet seeing a plastic disposable fork being used in 2023

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