What is an accessible toilet
An accessible toilet is a toilet that has been designed to accommodate people with disabilities and long term health conditions.
The purpose of an accessible toilet should be to enable disabled people to gain prompt access to facilities that might be different from regular toilets in terms of the available space, layout, equipment, flooring or lighting.
The National Key Scheme/RADAR Keys
The National Key Scheme (NKS), previously referred to as RADAR keys, offer disabled people independent access to locked public accessible toilets around the country. Toilets fitted with National Key Scheme (NKS) locks can be found in shopping centres, pubs, cafés, department stores, bus and train stations and many other places.
Where can I purchase an NKS?
You can buy from Disability Rights UK through their website. Keys cost £6, or £5 if you are eligible for VAT Relief. Additionally, some local authorities have one-stop-shops or local charities that you can get them from. You may need to provide proof of your disability when buying one. Here is a list of locations you can purchase a NKS key:
The keys are available over the counter from Council Contact Centres. Proof of disability has to be given. Search for Scottish Borders Council Contact Centres.
Keys can be purchased from the Grapevine service for £3 each or posted out to you for £3.50. To collect a Radar Key from Grapevine you need to make sure that you arrange a pick-up time in advance from their offices to ensure that someone is available. Location: Norton Park, 57 Albion Road, Edinburgh, EH7 5QY.
You can collect an application form from your local One Stop Shop. If you are eligible, your first key will be provided free of charge.
Glasgow and Clyde Valley
You can purchase Keys from both Mobility Solutions shops. They are based at 75 Hawthorn Street, Glasgow G22 6HY and Mobility Solutions Dobbies Sandyholm, Crossford by Carluke, Lanarkshire ML8 5QF
You can purchase a Key during Highland Council Portree office hours at Tigh na Sgire, Portree.
Forward Mid sell Keys and are based at MVA, 4-6 White Hart Street, Dalkeith EH22 1AE
You can purchase Keys from Moray Resource Centre located at Maisondieu Road, Elgin, IV30 1RX. Telephone them on 01343 551339. Additionally, Shopmobility in Elgin stock them. Located at 59 High Street, Elgin, IV30 1EE. Telephone: 01343 552528
You can contact the Council Customer Service Centre on 01738 475000 to inquire about a Key.
You can contact the Council Customer Service Centre on 01786 233240.
You can purchase a Key from The Ability Centre, Carmondean Centre Road, Livingston EH54 8PT.
For further information check out the Disability Rights UK Key Flyer.
Although there are accessible toilets throughout Scotland, many people with disabilities often need extra facilities to allow them to use toilets safely and comfortably. A campaign was launched to provide toilets with enough room for a wheelchair and 2 carers, a hoist and an adult–sized, height adjustable changing bench. These are known as Changing Place Toilets, and there are roughly 150 throughout Scotland. In February 2009, Changing Places toilets were included in the British Standards BS8300, this means that they should be included in all new larger buildings and complexes such as:
- Large railway stations & airports
- Sports & leisure facilities
- Cultural centres such as concert halls and art galleries
- Shopping centres
- Health facilities such as hospitals
Each Changing Places toilet provides:
The right equipment
– a height adjustable adult-sized changing bench
– a tracking hoist system, or mobile hoist if this is not possible.
– adequate space in the changing area for the disabled person and up to two carers
– a centrally placed toilet with room either side
– a screen or curtain to allow some privacy.
A safe and clean environment
– wide tear off paper roll to cover the bench
– a large waste bin for disposable pads
– a non-slip floor.
For further information, you can visit the Changing Places website
Where to find a Changing Place Toilet
PAMIS (an organisation helping people with profound and multiple learning disabilities) has compiled a Directory of Changing Place toilets in Scotland.
Just Can’t Wait
Many people have conditions which mean they often need to access a toilet urgently. Many charities have produced cards which you can use to ask for access to toilets that are not generally open to the public. Further information is available on their websites:
In an attempt to save money, many Local Councils are closing public toilets. As an alternative, they are introducing the Comfort Partnership Schemes.
The scheme works in partnership with local businesses and amenities. During business opening hours members of the public can use their toilets free of charge. To find out what local businesses are taking part in the scheme you can search your local council website, or contact our helpline and we can help search for you.
Direct Enquiries accessible toilet search gives information about public toilets but doesn’t always include Comfort Scheme facilities.
Information last updated on 8 June 2023. Please note that information may be subject to change. All information is provided in good faith but Disability Information Scotland does not endorse any product or service referred to within this resource.
If you would like this information guide in another version then please contact us and we will post or email you a copy.
Access & Accessibility:Frequently Asked Questions
Through our helpline we receive enquiries spanning a wide range of different topics. Here is a selection of those most asked:
Can I use my Blue Badge in Europe?
The Blue Badge scheme is for drivers or passengers with severe mobility problems. The scheme provides a range of on-street parking concessions enabling Blue Badge holders to park closer to where they need to go. The scheme operates throughout the UK and is managed by local authorities who deal with applications and issue badge. The Blue Badge is recognised across Europe, so you benefit from the same parking rights as anyone else with a disability in whichever country you’re in.
Parking concessions for holders of a disabled parking card differ from country to country, so it’s important to check the rules in the country you’re visiting
For further information check out the worldwide guide to parking abroad by The International Automobile Federation.
How can I search for accessible places to visit in Scotland?
Whether you are planning a meal out, a weekend trip or day out to one of Scotland’s parks, there are websites and ‘apps’ that you can use in your search for an accessible venue or activity.
Euan’s Guide is a disabled access review website and app that aims to ‘remove the fear of the unknown’ and inspire people to try new places.
Age Scotland have developed a mini-guide on accessible days out in Britain. Check out the Great British accessible attractions mini-guide.
OpenBritain is your website that provides information on accessible tourism in the UK and includes day trips and tourist attractions.
Disabled Go provide access information on venues across the UK and Ireland.
For more information on accessible places to visit in Scotland search our Scottish Disability Directory and select the ‘Holidays/Respite’ category.
How can I get a RADAR key?
The National Key Scheme (NKS), often referred to as RADAR keys, offer disabled people independent access to locked public accessible toilets around the country. You can buy from Disability Rights UK either over the phone or through their website.
Call the Disability Information Scotland helpline on: 0300 323 9961
Access & Accessibility:Search for Local Organisations
Our quick search tool can connect you to over 3000 service providers, suppliers and organisations supporting people across Scotland. To find support near you, simply enter your search term and select your local authority.