If you have a disability, you may sometimes find it difficult to organise a fun day out. You’ll likely have to check first that the place you’re going to caters for your needs. Our awareness of disabilities is constantly increasing and many leisure and tourist attractions are now providing the necessary facilities to allow access for those with a disability. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the top ten best accessible days out – you may be surprised at the wealth of activities out there for you to try.
Disability-friendly activities around the UK
When it comes to choosing what to do and where to go, there is no need to travel abroad. You can have just as much fun by staying in the UK. If you have mobility problems, you may well find it problematic to travel by plane, despite there being processes in place to assist you. That said, there are many disability-friendly activities to be enjoyed in various towns and cities around the UK. Here is a brief overview of some of the sights that may interest you while on your travels.
A wonderfully quaint place, York is full of charm, character and stunning architecture, as well as being a shopper’s paradise. Despite the many cobbled streets, you’ll likely find it easier to wheel yourself along them instead of navigating the narrow pavements. It does help however, that much of the city is pedestrianised. If you’re driving there and you’re a Blue Badge holder, you’ll get free parking in any of the municipality car parks, while the Shopmobility service allows you to hire wheelchairs and scooters to assist you when getting around.
– York Minster
A must-see on your trip to York, the Minster standing today is not the original one. The first church was made from wood and built in AD627. Unfortunately, it was burnt down a little over a hundred years later and replaced by a new one, until the construction of today’s Minster back in 1080. Whether you struggle to walk unaided or have a wheelchair, there are ramped areas to help you access the majority of the beautiful Minster.
– Jorvik Centre
The overhead railway that transports visitors around a reconstructed model of Viking York has a specially adapted carriage to allow wheelchair users to experience the attraction. Should you require the use of this facility, advance booking is necessary – telephone number 01904 615505. Companions of wheelchair users are exempt from the entrance fee. While here, you can also see the Viking artefacts exhibition.
2. Cheshire – East
There’s something for all tastes in the east of Cheshire, from stunning gardens to important heritage sites and science discovery centres. The following towns operate Shopmobility schemes: Crewe, Macclesfield, Nantwich and Wilmslow. This allows tourists to hire scooters and wheelchairs on a temporary basis during their visit.
– Arley Hall and Gardens
Situated near Northwich, Arley Hall has been under the ownership of the current resident’s family for more than 500 years, and gained a “Gardens of Distinction” status on account of its herbaceous borders and beautiful rose garden. There is wheelchair access to most of the gardens, as well as the chapel and the ground floor of Arley Hall. Next door to the entrance is a restaurant, shop and plant nursery, all of which are accessible by manual wheelchairs and motorised buggies.
3. Midlands – Hereford
Steeped in picturesque rural countryside, Hereford is a great place to explore. There’s a bi-weekly market on Wednesdays and Saturdays, as well as plentiful shops and scenery to admire.
– Hereford museum and art gallery
The museum and art gallery can be reached via the ground floor library lift. Should you wish to view the Roman Mosaics and other exhibitions, the museum also offers a stair lift for those with limited mobility. The exhibitions change throughout the year but it’s easy to see what’s on the agenda simply by visiting the website.
This lively, bustling city is jam-packed with plenty of fun activities and sights of interest. Whether you’re interested in history or simply prefer a day out at the shops, there’s something to suit all tastes in Nottingham.
– Nottingham Castle grounds
Although there is not much left of the infamous Nottingham Castle these days, the grounds and stunning gardens are open to the public for viewing. You’ll find the entrance located at the top of Friar Lane. The grounds are open from 8am every day. It is worthwhile noting that some of the paths have steep inclines, so those with wheelchairs may require assistance. Further information for disabled visitors can be found here.
Boasting some of the most beautiful beaches in England, Somerset is a great place to go for a short break or even just for the day.
– Burnham-On-Sea beach
You can’t go to Somerset and not take a trip to the beach, whatever the weather. You’ll find disabled toilets and other disabled facilities on-site. Once you’ve had your fill of the beach, you may wish to simply take in the stunning views of Cheddar Gorge or try your hand at a round of golf. And of course, there are always the nearby shops in Burnham-On-Sea to hit to find a few souvenirs of your trip.
A quick look on tipadvisor.co.uk will inform you that there are 110 attractions in total in Berkshire – pretty impressive eh? Of these, many are disabled-friendly, so you may find yourself spoiled for choice.
– UK Wolf Conservation Trust
Found at Butlers Farm, Beenham, RG7 5NT, the UK Wolf Conservation Trust is a great day out, whatever your age. The trust runs regular events to promote wolf awareness and is always looking for creative ways to raise money to help take care of its ten ambassador wolves. Why not tag along on one of the walks with wolves or head along to a howl night and see if the wolves will howl back at you.
To the east of England, the county of Suffolk is fairly flat, making it ideal for those with wheelchairs to get around.
– Group hikes with the Disabled Ramblers
Although you’re welcome to organise your own trail tour of Suffolk, you may be interested in getting in contact with the Disabled Ramblers. A group of people with various different types of mobility disabilities, they simply love being in the great outdoors, and often organise rambles of varying degrees of difficulty. See here for more details.
8. Hampshire – The New Forest
– Beaulieu Motor Museum
Those interested in cars will love a trip to the Beaulieu Motor Museum, found in The New Forest, Hampshire. Wheelchairs are available to loan so there’s no need to worry about having to walk for a long distance unaided. Will full wheelchair access to the museum and an accessible toilet, getting around is easy. The latest exhibition is called Bond In Motion, and features 50 original vehicles from the classic James Bond movies – a top day out for any James Bond fan.
9. The Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight spans just 147 miles. Despite its small size, there is a wealth of activities to keep you entertained all year round. Our two coastal hotels and villages located on the Isle of Wight offer a varied choice of activities on-site. Should you wish to explore a little further afield however, you’ll find plenty to see and do in the surrounding area.
– Ventnor Botanic Garden
With an extensive and impressive collection of exotic and subtropical plants, be prepared to marvel in wonder at the sights you’ll see at Ventnor Botanic Garden. There’s disabled access around the entire garden so you don’t need to worry about missing out on any of the plants. You may even be inspired to recreate some of the exhibitions in your own garden back at home. Before you go, why not take a virtual tour of the garden?
10. Wales – Bodelwyddan Castle
If you’re travelling to Wales for the day, why not take a trip to the infamous Bodelwyddan Castle? This ancient manor house is steeped in history and dates back to around 1460. Over the years, the castle has served many purposes, including being the grounds for a private girls’ school and an area for trench warfare training during the First World War.
Nowadays part of the castle is used to house gallery and museum exhibits. Traces of the old trenches can still be seen too. Another section of the castle is of course one of the Warner Leisure Hotels’ seven country hotels. With a wide range of daily and evening entertainment options, such as cooking master classes, indoor bowls, and a relaxing salon spa, you’ll never be short of things to do onsite.
So that concludes our top ten best accessible days out. We’ll leave you with some ideas for unusual disabled-friendly activities.
Now that we’ve taken a look at some of the specific disability-friendly activities across the country, let’s take a look at a few of the more unusual activities that you can get involved in. You may find a few surprises along the way. It just goes to show however, that you can turn your hand to anything, regardless of your disability. Being on holiday is about having fun and making the most of every opportunity, and the following activities will allow you to do just that.
It may be a long time since you felt that thrill of the wind in your hair while cycling down a steep hill. You don’t have to feel limited due to your age or disability however, as there are many available options that allow you to experience cycling. Choose from bicycles with fitted stabilisers, tricycles with a supported seat, or even handcycles, where the front bicycle wheel is powered by hand. Those with sight impairments may find it easier to tandem cycle, allowing the companion to sit at the front.
If you’re an adventure lover, you may be interested by the prospect of climbing. There are many climbing centres that cater for disabled people and those needing wheelchairs. You’ll be fitted with a special harness which gives you extra support during your climb, allowing you to have as many rest breaks as you require. For the deaf and hard of hearing, there are certain rope tugs to signal your wishes to the person belaying, ideal for situations where it is not possible to communicate using lip reading or sign language.
Disabled skiing is known as adaptive skiing, and is supported by the charity Disability Snowsport UK. You’ll be issued with skis that have been specially adapted to allow you to take part in skiing down the slopes, whether you have limited mobility or require a wheelchair. If you have hearing or sight impairments, you can request to be teamed up with a trained guide to help you to feel more at ease.
– Horse Riding
You don’t have to be able to mount a horse to experience horse riding. You can build up some confidence first by riding side-saddle. If your disability prevents you from mounting the horse, you may wish to request if you can drive the carriage instead. If you’re an inexperienced horse rider, you could book an initial session to see if you like it. If so, why not then book a course of lessons?
Thrill seekers will relish the opportunity to experience skydiving. It doesn’t matter if you have a disability, as tandem parachuting allows you to take part alongside an instructor. They will take the lead in the descent and will open the parachute in time for landing, so all you need to do is lie back and enjoy your ride through the sky.
As you can see, when it comes to taking part in activities, anything is possible, even when you have a disability. With so many opportunities and support available to you, there’s nothing to stop you from having the time of your life. So use your imagine and be as creative as you like – you can guarantee that your day out will be all the more enjoyable for it.
Guide by Warner Leisure Hotels