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Visitor Centre Accessibility Guide

Accessibility Guide

Name: Shepherd Neame Visitor Centre

Postal address:         17 Court Street, Faversham, Kent ME13 7AX

Telephone number: 01795 542016

Email: tours@shepherdneame.co.uk

Website: http://www.shepherdneame.co.uk

Introduction

Shepherd Neame Visitor Centre is situated in Faversham town centre set in a beautifully restored medieval hall house just beyond the market square on Court Street.

The Visitor Centre is at 10 Court Street and can be accessed via the brewery shop or bar.

We are a member of the Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Scheme.

Our award-winning guided tours take visitors through the heart of this working industrial site.

During times when production is taking place, the tour guide may speak into a microphone and each visitor is invited to listen through a headset. This system is usually only used when the brewhouse is especially noisy (i.e. during the daytime on weekdays).

Limited induction loops are available; these must be requested in advance of your visit.

Although we can not guarantee when specific machinery will be in operation- the brewhouse does tend to be quieter during the weekend.

The tour normally features two short films – subtitles are available.

If you require information in large print, please call the Visitor Centre to request.

The brewery features a number of steps and is therefore not suitable for wheelchair users or those with limited mobility. However a virtual tour can be provided – we request that virtual tours are booked at least two weeks in advance of your visit.

Practical footwear is required. High-heeled shoes, sandals, flip-flops or open-toed shoes are not suitable and visitors wearing such footwear will not be allowed to join the tour.

As a food factory, it is not possible for us to accommodate guide dogs on the brewery tour but they are welcome in the Visitor Centre bar.  Blind and partially sighted visitors are welcome on the brewery tours with sighted-carers.

We look forward to welcoming you. If you have any queries or require any assistance please phone 01795 542016 or email tours@shepherdneame.co.uk.

Arrival

•          Arriving by train:

Faversham Station is 225 metres from the Visitor Centre. For train times please visit www.nationalrail.co.uk.

Starlite Taxis offer taxis with disabled access – please call 01795 591066 to book.

•          Arriving by bus:

The nearest bus stop is only 30 metres from the Visitor Centre. Route 333 travels from Maidstone to Faversham via Sittingbourne every hour. Please alight at “Faversham Town Centre, Court Street”.

•          Arriving by car:

There are a number of car parks in Faversham Town Centre. The largest is Central Car Park which has 234 spaces and is around 200 metres from the Visitor Centre.

Please note that payment machines are in operation.

Car Park Location   Spaces           Disabled Spaces      Maximum Times

Ospringe Street        20        -           Anytime

Front Brents   12        -           Anytime

Partridge Lane         55        -           12 hours

Queen's Hall, Forbes Road 140      -           12 hours

Central Car Park      234      7          4 hours

Institute Road            41        1          4 hours

Station Car Park, Preston Lane     150+               

Visitors with Blue Badges displayed may park in Court Street free of charge. Please be aware that access to Blue Badge parking may be limited on market days (Tuesday, Friday and Saturday). For more information please call Swale Borough Council on 01795 417622.

The surface from all car parks to the Visitor Centre is uneven and varied; the majority of surfaces are cobbled or paved.

Court Street is cobbled with a pavement – the surface is uneven in places.

Court Street may be used as a drop off point for visitors with a mobility impairment, however access will be limited on market days (Tuesday, Friday and Saturday). Partridge Lane may be used as a drop off point on these days.

Ticketing

Visitors are strongly advised to book tours in advance. To book:

•          Call 01795 542016

•          Visit our website at http://www.shepherdneame.co.uk/tours-functions/brewery-tours

•          Visit the brewery shop at 10 Court Street, Faversham

The brewery shop is located on the corner of Court Street and Partridge Lane. Although on the ground floor, there is a 24cm high step up into the shop. We regret that as the Visitor Centre is a listed building, we are not permitted to alter the face of the building; there is no ramp or handrail to aid visitors. The manual entrance door opens inward; the doorway is 73cm wide.

The shop floor is level flag stone.

The shop is well lit by ceiling spotlights – the light is therefore uneven.

The shop counter is low; there are some shop products on the counter, however the shop assistant is visible at all times.

There are pens and paper at the counter to aid communication if needed.

Tickets can be paid for with cash or credit card, we do not accept personal cheque payments in the shop.

Entrance

There is no level access to the Visitor Centre. We do however have access to one portable ramp. If you require use of this ramp please ask a member of staff for assistance.

•          Entering via the shop:

Tours begin in the bar area which is accessible via the brewery shop.

If you require assistance – please press the call button to the left of the shop door.

As mentioned above, the step up into the shop is 24cm high; the doorway is 73cm wide. Visitors must then step up into the bar – this step is 15cm high, the doorway to the bar is 75cm wide, opening outward. The bar floor is wooden and even.

•          Entering via the bar:

Visitors with impaired mobility may find it easier to enter via the bar door. This is situated on Court Street – one door along from the shop entrance. There are two stone steps up to the door- both around 15cm high. The wooden door is heavy but can held open with a cabin hook – the entrance is 96cm wide. The bar door is often locked, therefore if you need to use this access route, please ask staff for assistance.

The lighting in the bar area is ambient. There are information boards for visitors to read before the tour begins – the text is reasonably small.

Tables and chairs are provided in the bar.

Brewery Tour

Guided tours of the brewery usually consist of the following:

•          Reception in the bar

•          10 minute film in the presentation area

•          Guided tour through the brewery

•          5 minute film in The Old Brewery Store

•          Return to the bar for a tutored tasting

•          Chance to look in brewery shop

This format is subject to change on occasion.

The description stated below is for the standard tour route. As the brewery is a working industrial site, the tour route does alter on occasion, please ask your guide upon arrival.

Our guided tours (excluding the tutored tasting) will usually last 1 hour 20 minutes. It is likely that you will be on your feet for the entirety of the tour.

WCs are not available during the tour but are available at the Visitor Centre (please see below) and The Old Brewery Store.

Reception in the bar

Please see above- “entering via the shop”.

10 min film in the presentation area

Once you have entered the bar, visitors must step down three steps – the steepest of which is 22cm high. The wooden/ flagstone floor is even. There is a banister along the walkway but no handrail to aid visitors down the steps.

Seating is provided in the presentation area.

Guided tour of the brewery

•          Exit the Visit Centre (daytime, weekdays)

Visitors must leave the presentation area (up the three steps mentioned above, the steepest of which is 22cm high) walk through the bar (level wooden floor with furniture) and out through the bar door. The bar door is wooden and heavy, 96cm wide and opens inwardly. Visitors must step down two stone steps the other side of the door, both 15cm high.

The guide will lead you along Court Street; the ground is uneven with varying surfaces and guttering.

Visitors will re-enter the brewery through Main Reception – step up two stone steps (21cm and 18cm high).

The entrance to Main Reception features three doorways, the narrowest of which is 83cm wide.

•          Exit the Visitor Centre (evenings and weekends)

Visitors must leave the presentation area (up the three steps mentioned above, the steepest of which is 22cm high). The guide will lead you through a corridor to Main Reception. The corridor is 70cm wide, carpeted and includes three doorways, the narrowest of which is 66cm wide. The corridor is evenly lit by fluorescent lighting.

•          Main Reception

Once at Main Reception, visitors step down three steps (20cm high and 50cm deep) with a wooden hand rail.

Visitors then step through a heavy wooden door, (73cm wide, opening inwardly) which features a step up of 8cm. Walk through a carpeted room and through another heavy wooden door (79cm wide, opening outwardly) and down an uneven 8cm step. After a sharp turn to the right, step down two tiled steps (18cm high, 30cm deep.)

Walk across a flagstone floor and down three steps (17cm high, 30cm deep). These steps are worn and sloped but there is a handrail to assist visitors.

•          Brewers’ Street

Visitors are then outside in the Brewer’s Street. The cobbled floor slopes gradually downwards. The area is not covered and therefore slippery when wet.

As the brewery is a working industrial site, activity and access do vary from day to day. Potential obstacles include vintage vehicles in the Brewer’s Street, large deliveries of raw ingredients and trailing pipes. The aroma of natural products and cleaning materials may pervade the atmosphere throughout the tour. These are harmless to healthy people but may cause discomfort to visitors with bronchial diseases, asthma or heart conditions.

•          Brewhouse

When entering the brewhouse visitors must step up a 27cm high step and through a wide doorway with safety curtains. Walk across a concrete floor and up a wooden staircase. The staircase features 17 steps, a landing to the right and a further 9 steps. The steps are 19cm high, 24cm deep and 70cm wide. There is a handrail to assist visitors.

Upstairs in the brewhouse the floor is tiled and even. The floor may be wet and slippery with potential obstacles. The presentation area is evenly lit with information boards. The text on the boards is small but your guide will talk you through everything.

After your guide has shown you around the two rooms upstairs in the brewhouse, you will be guided down a metal stair case with handrails. There are 11 steps, a landing to the right and further 11 steps. The steps are 94cm wide, 20cm high and 28cm deep. Please note: there is a low beam at the top of the staircase.

The concrete floor then slopes gently downwards. The floor is uneven and often wet and features occasional grates.

Step down a 30cm step with a ledge and through a 62cm wide doorway into the Lager Room. The lager room is dimly lit with fluorescent lighting, the floor is metal grating.

Visitors then exit the room back the way they came (i.e. through the doorway and up the 30cm high step with a ledge.) Turn left and walk down a steeply sloped floor without a handrail. Again the floor is uneven concrete and often wet.

Exit the brewhouse via the aforementioned doorway with a safety curtain and down the 27cm step.

Visitors then walk down the Brewer’s Street which slopes downwards with an increasing gradient. The majority of the street is uncovered and lit by daylight alone. The areas that are covered may therefore be reasonably dim.

•          Pilot Brewery

Your guide may show you to the Pilot Brewery, time allowing. To access the Pilot Brewery you must walk up 6 grated metal steps (18cm high, 24cm deep) with a handrail on each side. Walk through a concrete floored room which is likely to include obstacles such as wooden palettes and large boxes. The Pilot Brewery is dimly lit and is also likely to include obstacles. Please note: forklifts occasionally operate in this area.

To exit the Pilot Brewery, visitors leave down the steps by which they entered.

5 minute film in The Old Brewery Store

Walk back up the sloped, uncovered Brewer’s Street and through a heavy wooden door (76cm wide, opening outwardly) to the left. (This can open as a double door to 150cm wide, please ask the guide if needed.)

The Old Brewery Store features three rooms, all with concrete flooring and lit with ceiling lights and coloured spotlights. The rooms may contain obstacles such as historic vehicles, pop-ups displays and barrels.

The guide will play a 5 minute film with subtitles in the largest of the rooms. Seating is usually provided.

Visitors exit The Old Brewery Store through the doorway by which they entered and walk up the sloped, uncovered Brewer’s Street.

Step up the three worn stone steps with handrail (17cm high, 30cm deep), across the flagstone floor, up the two tiled steps (18cm high, 30cm deep), sharp turn to the left, up the uneven 8cm step and through the heavy wooden doorway (73cm wide). Walk across a carpeted room, through a doorway (73cm wide) and down an 8cm step.

Once at Main Reception, visitors step up three steps (20cm high and 50cm deep) with an unstable wooden hand rail.

Return to the bar for a tutored tasting

•          Daytime tours during the week

Exit Main Reception via the three doorways (narrowest of which is 83cm wide) and down 2 stone steps (18cm high and 21cm high). The guide will lead visitors back along Court Street and re-enter the Visitor Centre bar via the bar door, described above- “entering via the bar”.

•          Weekend and evening tours

Visitors return to the bar via the 70cm wide carpeted corridor by which they entered.

Visitors will then be asked to take a seat in the bar for the tasting.*

Tutored tastings usually consist of 6 samples which equate to around 2.5 units of alcohol.*

* Visitors under the age of 18 years old will only be admitted on pre-arranged educational tours and are not permitted to participate in the tasting. Therefore a soft drink will be provided for visitors under the age of 18 years old.

Chance to look in brewery shop

The brewery shop is open to the public from 10:30am – 4:30pm Mondays- Saturdays all year round and 10:30am – 1pm on Sundays during the summer.   At other times it is opened specially for tour visitors at the end of their tour.

Virtual Tour

Visitors with mobility impairments are advised to take a virtual tour of the brewery. Virtual tours must be booked at least two weeks in advance of your visit.

An expert guide will present a slideshow of everything seen on the brewery tour. There is also the chance to taste the ingredients as well as the beers!

Virtual tours are conducted in the Visitor Centre’s presentation area. Accessing this area requires visitors to negotiate a number of steps:

Once you have entered the bar (please see above), visitors must step down three steps- the steepest of which is 22cm high. The wooden/ flagstone floor is even. There is a banister along the walkway but no handrail to aid visitors down the steps. Staff will be on hand to assist.

Wheelchair users may use our portable ramp in order to access the presentation area. It may be easier for wheelchair users to exit into the garden (please see below) and re-enter the presentation area through wide double doors by using the portable ramp. Please ask staff for assistance.

Seating is provided and can also be cleared to make room for wheelchair users.

For more information or to book please call 01795 542016.

Toilets

Customer WCs are located in a corridor to the right of the bar.

The first door on the left is our unisex accessible WC.

Entrance to the accessible WC is level; the door opens outward and is 84cm wide.

When facing the WC, there is an 80cm wide space to the left for a wheelchair. The WC is 48cm high from floor to seat.

To the right there is a horizontal and a vertical grab rail. There is also a retractable hand rail to the left of the WC.

There is a red alarm cord to the right if you should require assistance.

The WC is well lit by a fluorescent ceiling light. This light is on a censor and will turn on automatically when you enter. The floor is non slip laminate.

The sink has one lever tap.

Garden

We have a small courtyard garden for our visitors to use. This is also our designated smoking area.

The courtyard is flagstone with some wooden benching provided. There is a tree in the centre of the courtyard and flower beds along one side. The floor is very slippery when wet although a section of the courtyard is covered.

To access the garden- visitors must walk through the bar and turn left down a corridor, through a 64cm wide doorway. Immediately behind and to the right of this doorway is a heavy wooden door (74cm wide, opening outwardly). Exit via this door to the courtyard, minding the raised threshold. The walkway is sloped and 83cm wide at its narrowest point. There is one step down to the uncovered section of the courtyard.

Additional Information

Staff at Shepherd Neame Visitor Centre have been trained on accessibility. Therefore if you require assistance before or during your visit, please do not hesitate to ask.

If you have any constructive feedback that might help us to improve our accessibility, please contact us.