About the National Paralympic Heritage Centre

Stoke Mandeville is widely acknowledged as the birthplace of the Paralympic movement and the National Paralympic Heritage Centre at Stoke Mandeville Stadium celebrates and explore this unique history. The displays showcase the determination, sportsmanship and vision that gave the world the Paralympic Games including:

  • The life and work of Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann.
  • Key milestones in the journey from the 1948 Stoke Mandeville Games to the present day Paralympic Games.
  • The development of wheelchair sports.
  • Paralympic ceremonies.

Vicky Hope-Walker's interview with BBC Three Counties radio can be listened to here: 

Visitor information

Vicky Hope-Walker standing at the entrance to the National Paralympic Heritage Centre

Free Admission

Opening Hours
Monday 12-6pm
Tuesday 12-6pm
Wednesday 10am-6pm
Thursday 10am-6pm
Friday 10am-6pm
Saturday 10am-6pm
Sunday 10am-6pm

During school holidays, when activities are planned, the centre may be closed for up to 30 minutes.

Group Tours and Talks
For more information and to arrange a group tour follow this link

Getting to, and visiting the Heritage Centre

Heritage Centre events & activities

Origami Paper Crane activity sessions in 2020

The countdown to Tokyo 2020 is now underway! To celebrate the Paralympic Summer Games we would like to create a display using 100s of paper cranes. These will be featured at the Paralympic Heritage Flame Lighting event at Stoke Mandeville Stadium to launch the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Summer Games

Join in the countdown by coming along to one of our origami making sessions taking place at the Paralympic Heritage Centre on:

Friday 21st February, 11-12:30 and 14-15:30
Friday 17th April, 11-12:30 and 14-15:30
Friday 29th May, 11-12:30 and 14-15:30

Why paper cranes? At the last Paralympic Games in Tokyo, in 1964, paper crane garlands were given to the Paralympians as a symbol of ‘good luck’.

If you would like to order a Paralympic paper crane pack to make at home (£1+postage), please contact us at [email protected] 

Paper crane garlands from the Tokyo 1964 Paralympic Games

Spectators brought garlands of paper cranes to wish the athletes good luck Origami paper crane garlands
©Sally Haynes ©Ian Brittain

Paper crane maker Momoho Yamada's story

Extract from The Mainichi, Japan's National Daily,  

Momoho Yamada was born with cerebral palsy, he spent his adult life building ties between people with disabilities and the non-disabled. Kunisuke, his brother, believes that the 1964 Tokyo Paralympics changed his younger brother's life.

Momoho was unable to move his body as he wished, he started making paper cranes to exercise his hands four years before the Tokyo Games. He used his mouth to hold the origami paper on a table and folded cranes with his disabled hands. Kunisuke recalls,

He may have used his feet, too.

Learning that the Paralympics would be held in Tokyo in the summer of 1964, Momoho thought of donating his paper cranes to the event. After his mother wrote a letter to the event organiser about her son and his cranes, Momoho was invited to the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games on November 8th. Until then, Momoho had only gone out in his neighbourhood. He later recalled the moment he learned that he had been invited, saying,

It was a joy that could lift me up to heaven.

Read the full story here

Available daily

Just a quick visit? Try out our family trail when you arrive. There's also activity sheets for families and schools. 

Tours of the Heritage Centre

Arrange a tour for your community group, business team or simply for those visiting Buckinghamshire. For more information click here

Makaton and Touch Tours

Coming soon!

BSL Tours

Our first BSL tour took place in July and we received some wonderful responses:

The exhibition is wonderful. I enjoyed the tour very much and found it interesting. The BSL interpreter used a lot of expression and she was very clear.

More BSL tour dates will be added to our Autumn events schedule.

School sessions

  • Formal 45-minute sessions for schools available for KS 2-4.  Subjects catered for.
  • STEM, English, PSHE, Citizenship, Art and Design and other cross-curricular activities.
  • Online resources for use as either part of your self-led visit or to compliment your formal sessions.
  • Self-led trails.

For more information about any of our activities contact us on 01296 489929 or email [email protected]

Highlights from 2019

Chiltern Heritage Festival

As part of the Chiltern Heritage Festival, on Friday 4th October visitors had the opportunity to meet Paralympic swimmer, Stephanie Millward MBE and listen to her story. The groups enjoyed a site tour and a tour of the Paralympic Heritage Centre with a talk about the Paralympic Movement. 

We received some wonderful feedback from the day.

Very much enjoyed the visit to the paralympic heritage centre. Thanks to Steve and Vicky for hosting. Would definitely recommend that people learn more about this great contribution to Buckinghamshire history.

Stephanie Millward MBE speaking to a group sat at tables as part of a tour to the National Paralympic Heritage Centre Vicky Hope-Walker, Stephanie Millward MBE and Elaine Phiri in front of the entrance to the National Paralympic Heritage Centre Stephanie Millward MBE in front of the Sports Wheelchair Evolution display at the National Paralympic Heritage Centre

    Meet the Paralympian Day

    On Wednesday 14th August, we had a great day with Naomi Riches MBE, Paralympic adaptive rower, sharing her story and experience of competing at an elite level. The day started with a Business breakfast, followed by a Q&A and 'have a go at rowing' sessions, and a tour of the Paralympic Heritage Centre. Read more information about Naomi here

    Naomi Riches MBE sharing her story at the Meet the Paralympian business breakfast Naomi Riches MBE sharing her story at the Meet the Paralympian Day Naomi Riches with visitors at the Meet the Paralympian

    Visitors from a diverse range of groups

    We have been delighted to welcome such a diverse range of groups to the Heritage Centre this first year. With Tokyo 2020 on the horizon we have had many Japanese visits from official government groups, to design and communication teams. It has offered us a great opportunity to share our artefacts from the second ever Paralympic Games which took place in Tokyo in 1964. Student groups from universities have visited, representing a wide range of courses, from sport to medicine, teaching to SEND, bringing their energy and questioning. Many other groups; businesses, network partners, event sponsors, young farmers and a wonderful elderly group from Birmingham, some with a connection to disability others out for a group travel tour to somewhere different. With every visit we learn and extend our own knowledge and are reminded of the power of the Paralympic heritage to change negative perceptions towards disability through a unique and inspiring international sporting movement.

    Visitors having a tour of the Paralympic Heritage Centre University students having a tour of the Paralympic Heritage Centre

    Share your stories

    Please get in touch if you have any stories connected to the Paralympics and disability sport. You can contact us at [email protected] 

    Follow us on twitter and facebook using #paraheritagestories


    The National Paralympic Heritage Trust is supported by the British Paralympic Association, WheelPower - British Wheelchair Sport, Aylesbury Vale District Council and Buckinghamshire County Council, with grant aid from:

    Logo of AIM Biffa Award Logo of AVDC Community Chest Logo of Heart of Bucks Logo of the Heritage Lottery Fund Logo of Rothschild Foundation Logo of the Wellcome Trust
    Image credit: Stoke Mandeville Stadium courtesy of More Leisure