As a wheelchair user, travel can sometimes be intimidating and might even be seen to be prohibitive. But the UK has some truly fabulous sights and attractions that have been made accessible. It is easier than you might imagine to find places for a wonderful day out or a longer trip; there is something for everyone. Here is a just a small selection of great ideas for wheelchair-friendly trips.
1. Take in a Show in London Town
London’s West end remains one of the world’s greatest cultural attractions. Centred on Soho, the theatre district is noisy, vibrant and exciting. A great deal of effort has been put into making theatres accessible to all and going to see a show is one of the most fun things to do. From blockbuster musicals to one-man shows, there’s always something new in Theatreland.
Take a package deal to a London theatre and you also have time to spend seeing some of the great sights of the UK capital.
2. Experience Life on the Slopes at Chill Factor
One of the great legacies of the London 2012 Olympics is an increased number of sports facilities for the disabled in the UK. If you want to try your hand at snow sports, head to Chill Factor in Manchester.
This is a very disability-friendly venue that uses adaptive equipment and provides specialist instruction and support. You can try your hand at skiing and snowboarding, and most facilities are on the ground level.
3. Relive History at Titanic Belfast
Being a recent addition to the UK’s great attractions, the Titanic Exhibition in Belfast is fully accessible and was designed with wheelchair users in mind. There are also integrated loop systems for the hearing impaired and plenty of seating areas for wheelchair pushers to rest.
The Titanic Experience is a fascinating tour of the story of the “unsinkable” ship from the growth of the industries that built it to the disaster and its enduring appeal. Original artefacts are on view and the five-star Sunday afternoon tea whisks you back to 1912.
4. Explore the Sights of The Scottish Capital
Named as one of the most disabled-friendly cities in the UK, Edinburgh has a multitude of attractions that makes it ideal for a weekend break or a week-long trip. Things to do include
- Visiting Edinburgh Castle
- Shopping on the Royal Mile
- Enjoying a walk in the Royal Botanic Garden
- Taking a bus tour
- Visiting the Scotch Whisky Experience
- Having fun at the Fringe Festival
5. Spend a Day at The Beach
Even with the vagaries of the British climate, some days are just meant for a visit to the beach. For a beach that is easily navigated by wheelchairs and has safe waters for bathing, Broad Haven Beach in Pembrokeshire is a top choice. The beach has all-terrain wheelchairs available to hire (book in advance). Pembrokeshire is also a beautiful county for a longer stay.
Other wheelchair friendly beaches in the UK are:
- Summerleaze Beach, Bude, Cornwall
- Whitmore Bay, Barry Island, South Glamorgan
- North Berwick Beach, Scotland
- Port Stewart Strand, Northern Ireland
- Boscombe Pier Beach, Bournemouth, Dorset
6. Support the National Trust at Beningbrough Hall
Under their “Access to All” scheme, many National Trust properties have been made wheelchair friendly. Including castles, gardens, and country houses, the properties are scattered all over the UK.
Beningbrough Hall, in between York, Harrogate and Leeds has plenty to see and do to make a full day out. An Italianate palace, the large country house has interesting architecture and beautiful gardens. The galleries are run in partnership with the National Gallery and there are interactive rooms where you can learn how to make your own art. You can step back in time to a Victorian laundry or explore the woodland trails. Kids will love the wilderness play area.
7. Get an Adrenaline Rush in the New Forest
If you’re up for an adventure, head to Hampshire’s stunning New Forest. As well as there being wheelchair-friendly trails and horse riding, there is plenty of fun and challenges to be had at Avon Tyrrell.
Suitable for all ages, Avon Tyrell is a huge outdoor adventure centre. It offers more than 40 activities, all of them accessible to all. Hoists and special equipment mean you can do a whole host of heart-pumping activities including
- Climbing wall
- Canoeing and kayaking
There’s more than enough for a fun-filled day or a longer stay in on-site accommodation.
Whatever your level of access needs, there is an organisation in the UK that can help ensure you have a safe, fun and enjoyable holiday. Websites will provide useful and often very detailed information to enable you to plan your visit or trip.
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