Last week my Mum and I went to Birmingham for a night to see Pixar in Concert (which was incredible by the way!) and it happened to be that the new world’s biggest Primark store had just opened, including the much talked about Disney Cafe!
I’ve seen a lot of reports about the store from bloggers etc but one thing I hadn’t really seen anything about was any information regarding disabled accessibility in the store. Being disabled myself, I know this is something that I always like to find out about a venue or location before I visit, and so I thought I would check them out whilst I was there, and write a mini report. I know I do have quite a few followers on Instagram who are also disabled and a number of you have already expressed interest in this post, so I hope you find it useful! I would like to just clarify however, that I may not have covered EVERYTHING in this post. I was struggling myself with pain etc when we were there so I covered as much as I could think of but I’m sure there will be things I have missed so apologies for that, but if you do have any further questions, do ask and if I can answer them, I will 💖
Lifts and Escalators
The entrance to the store is street level, no steps or ramps to deal with. There are escalators and lifts to every level; and what I particularly liked about the escalators is that they are all next to each other so you can keep going up or down just by stepping off and stepping on to the next one. In our nearest store in Bristol, they are at opposite ends; so if you go up a floor and want to go up again, you have to walk all the way round to get to the next up one (and same for then coming back down). Something else I also noticed lift wise, was at the in-Store Beauty Salon, it’s a few steps up to go into it, but they do also have a little lift next to the steps as well.
I didn’t look at all the changing rooms, but the Customer Liason manager informed me that there are one or two accessible changing rooms in each of the changing room areas. The one we did go into was pretty standard but it was nice and spacious and I liked that they had the big mirror directly in front of the seat. The one thing I would say is that there weren’t many hooks for hanging stuff on, and I thought they were a bit small and fiddly to hang stuff on easily. Aside from that though, it was pretty comfortable and roomy. I also noticed by the changing rooms that we went in (and I believe it’s the same for all of them), there was quite a large seating room area where I suppose people could wait for family or friends that are trying stuff on; but I just thought they looked like a great, relatively quiet area that you could use to have a rest in if you needed to.
They do not have toilets on every level, but with the lifts and escalators, they are pretty easy to get to. I didn’t check in the main toilet areas if there was an accessible stall within those; but I went in one of the dedicated disabled toilets and again, it was pretty standard and spacious. Something I did notice was that the mirror is positioned lower, presumably for wheelchair users to be able to see into it comfortably, however, if you are standing, depending on your height, it cuts off your head. I couldn’t stand and see all of me in the mirror, I had to bend my head down if I wanted to see my face. I just thought that was quite an odd thing because they could have just easily made the mirror the full height of the wall like the ones in the changing rooms, and then everyone would be able to see themselves fully in it. It’s only a minor thing though and otherwise, the toilet was great.
At all of the till points, there is an accessible till counter on the end of each row of tills. It is marked with a wheelchair symbol hanging above it. When you want to pay, rather than queuing up in the often long queues, you can just go straight to the accessible till. If there is nobody on it, don’t worry; just go and wait at it and one of the staff members will come and serve you there as soon as they are available. Also, I forgot to get a picture, but at the custom tee/tote printing, there is an accessible screen (that you use to design your item) that is on a Jointed “arm” so it can be pulled out and lowered for access if you are using a wheelchair etc.
Now I’ll be honest, I didn’t check what the tills or anything were like here with regards to accessability as I went and sat down straight away as I was exhausted from our walk to the store and my Mum went and ordered for us. In terms of seating though, there are booth style seats as well as tables with separate chairs. The aisle between the tables is pretty spacious so a wheelchair should fit fairly comfortably at most of the separate tables, but I’m not sure how comfy it would be on the end of a booth table as due to the sides of the table, I’m not sure how close in a wheelchair could get.
I mentioned earlier about the seating areas by the changing rooms, but I also noticed another large seating area on the lower mezzanine floor near the cafe. It was set off to the side and again, it just looked a nice area that you could go to if you needed a rest or were feeling a little overwhelmed and needed some quiet time.
Also important to note is that all the clothes rails etc were arranged quite well in terms of space between them. A wheelchair would definitely have navigated fairly easily between aisles and racks etc. Of course, space will still always be an issue at busier times and when we first tried to go to the store in the afternoon, it was absolutely HEAVING. You could barely move as there were so many people, but I’m sure once the store has been open a bit longer and it isn’t as busy, it will be much easier. We went back to the store the following day when it opened at 8am and it was 100% better then, so if you are planning to visit quite soon, I would definitely recommend getting there as early as you can when it would be much quieter.
I also wanted to say how friendly and helpful the staff members were that we spoke to. We spoke to several, just asking where we could find things etc and they were all very friendly and happy to help, even when it was very busy. We also spoke to a lovely lady called Stacie who I believe was the customer liason manager and she was so incredibly kind and helpful! She gave us lots of info about the store and a map (yes, the store has a map because it’s THAT BIG) so you can ask a member of staff and they will be able to provide you with a map too.
In general, I was super impressed with the store. When we arrived in the afternoon on the first day, I was really worried that we wouldn’t get chance to look around properly as it was so, so busy and too overwhelming for me; but as I say, if you try and go as early as possible like we did the next day, it should be much quieter and easier to look around. I’m sure in the coming weeks it will get quieter anyway, but it had only been open a few days when we went, plus it was half term as well so it was just manic.
I hope you will have found some of that information useful. Again, it isn’t a completely comprehensive guide as I was struggling myself health wise when we were there so I covered as much as I could remember. It’s also important to note that I was not using my wheelchair so although I have spoken about how things might have been for wheelchair access, I can’t know for sure as I wasn’t using mine when we were there. However, hopefully so,e of the information may help you in planning a visit and if you have any other questions, please do ask and I will help if I can.
Thanks for reading, and you can check out some other pictures showing some fun details in the store below.