OUR friends at VisitEngland have come up with some of the best accessible travel experiences including outdoor adventures and award-winning attractions.
Roman Baths, Bath, Somerset
The Roman Baths is one of the finest historic sites in northern Europe and its many accolades include being named the Accessible & Inclusive Tourism Award Gold winner at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2018. The site is 90% accessible to wheelchair users. Visitors with hearing or visual impairments can enjoy the site using the British Sign Language or fully descriptive audio tour and tactile models. The venue also provides information for visitors with autism and potential claustrophobia.
Tel. 01225 477786
LEGOLAND Windsor Resort, Berkshire
The resort offers a Ride Access Pass, which is a virtual queuing system designed to help guests who need extra assistance or are unable to queue due to a condition or disability. There’s also a Total Sensory Space, the first dedicated sensory facility of its kind in a theme park.
Tel. 01753 626416
Bear Grylls Adventure, Birmingham
The attraction uses a variety of sensory effects including audio, visual, touch and smell designed to enhance the overall experience of each area. In the last year, the venue has been recognised twice for its accessibility facilities. The attraction’s event days (supported by Bear and his team) welcome guests of a variety of ability levels, many achieving things they may not have thought possible.
Tel. 0121 725 2616
Eden Project, Cornwall
Eden has a dedicated Access Team. You can pre-book an Access Guide to help you get around. The site offers a range of complimentary mobility aids including wheelchairs, powered chairs and an all- terrain Tramper mobility scooter, as well as electric golf buggies driven by volunteer stewards. Braille guide book available on site and a text reader that can be borrowed to read and interpret signs.
Tel. 01726 811911
Alton Towers Resort, near Stoke, Staffordshire
Accessible & Inclusive Tourism Award Silver winner at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence last June. This year, working with AccessAble and the Business Disability Forum, the team has overhauled and improved services in many areas including Changing Places facilities, Ride Access Passes, wheelchair hire, hearing loops/ear defender hire, mobility scooters, accessibility maps and installation of quiet spaces to support those with sensory issues. Also, there’s a new online Accessibility Guide.
Tel. 01538 704671
The Blackpool Tower and Sandcastle Waterpark, Lancashire
The Tower has good accessibility for visitors with reduced mobility. Carers also go free. Having won multiple VisitEngland access awards, Sandcastle Waterpark welcomes guests with a wide variety of access needs with all staff having received accessibility and autism awareness training. Facilities include pool accessible wheelchairs, wide access gangways, four poolside wet rooms, poolside lockers, private treatment room and there’s extra help for people with assistance dogs.
The Deep, Hull, East Yorkshire
One of the most spectacular aquariums in the world, The Deep is committed to accessibility for all visitors. Free use of mobility aids, including electric scooters, wheelchairs and walking aids. Sensory packs are available. Each week (during term time).
The Deep holds Tranquil Tuesdays, where lights and sounds are subdued from 3pm until closing time. There are also two Quiet Day events a year with British Sign Language interpretation.
Tel. 01482 381000
Surf the sands on the coolest seats on Merseyside
SIX beach wheelchairs are proving to be a red-hot attraction at New Brighton and West Kirby beaches for people with mobility difficulties.
Cllr Yvonne Nolan, chair of the Wirral Adult Social Care and Public Health Committee, said: “We know that this is something which many people have been asking about for some time, so it is great that we have been able to provide the funding to not only purchase the equipment, but to also make them free to hire.
“This specialist equipment gives access to the beach and to the water for people who had previously been denied it due to their disability or mobility issues and their use will bring so much enjoyment.”
There are three different types of wheelchair available – two that need pushing and a powered one, available only at the Floral Pavilion.
All chairs are equipped with support straps, cushions and harnesses.
You can book the chairs through the Floral Pavilion website or the Wirral Leisure booking system (www.activewirral.com/leisurehub) for chairs from the Watersports Centre.
Tel. 0151 666 0000
The Magnificent Seven accessible beaches in the UK …
Go Outdoors have come up with their list of top accessible beaches
Brighton and Hove, Sussex
One of the most accessible in the country. Ramps to the promenade, Changing Places toilets (with equipment such as hoists, curtains, adult-sized changing benches and space for carers) and accessible walkways.
This southern beach has fully accessible cliff lifts and land trains, providing access to both the pier and beach, which you can also access along the promenade. You can get sand wheelchairs at the Beach Office.
Conveniently situated close to the town centre, with direct wheelchair access to the beach and toilets via a level tarmac path. Sand wheelchairs available.
A very accessible beach, thanks to flat walkways from the main car park to the sand. The toilets, which are adjacent to the beach, have good disabled access – a standard now for the majority of the Lincolnshire coast.
Roseisle Forest, Burghead, Scotland
Wheelchair users can access the forest on a flat tarmac path. It’s then an easy trek along a wooden boardwalk to an accessible look-out, where you can enjoy the coastline scenery without getting sand stuck in your wheels.
Poppit sands, Pembrokeshire, Wales
For those wanting an active beach day out, Pembrokeshire’s Adventure Wheelchair Walk at Poppit Sands could be the place for you – a 380m walkway with spectacular views. However, if you prefer a more leisurely pace, nearby Aberporth beach is an excellent choice too, with both having wheelchairs available to hire. There’s also an accessible luxury Safari Tent with a campfire nearby, just five minutes drive from Aberaeron, situated between three Welsh national parks.
Whitley Bay, Newcastle
A stunning coastline with a picturesque lighthouse, minutes from an accessible car park.
What makes this beach so accessible, however, is its all-terrain wheelchair called a ‘Hippocampe’ which you can rent to access this stunning part of the North East.