Seaside to wilderness — UK’s best disabled activity holidays revealed


TRAVELLING can throw up challenges at the best of times but for people with disabilities, there can be extra obstacles to negotiate.

Comedian Rosie Jones, who has cerebral palsy, has travelled Great Britain to stress test a host of activities.

Comedian Rosie Jones travelled Great Britain to stress test a host of activities

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Comedian Rosie Jones travelled Great Britain to stress test a host of activities
Rosie's outings have been documented in Channel 4 online series Mission: Accessible

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Rosie’s outings have been documented in Channel 4 online series Mission: Accessible

The 30-year-old’s laugh-out-loud outings have been documented in four-part Channel 4 online series Mission: Accessible.

Rosie says: “As a disabled person, it can be seen to be really hard to go on holiday. But I love where I live and I wanted to celebrate the places and the activities that are accessible for disabled people.

“I also wanted to show that just because a person is disabled, it doesn’t mean that they have got to have a boring holiday.”

Ellie Ross reveals the highlights of Rosie’s action-packed trip around the UK.

Brighton, East Sussex

THIS seaside city is one of England’s most inclusive destinations, with oodles of accessible attractions.

Its most famous landmark, Brighton Palace Pier, is wheelchair accessible from the pier car park and its restaurants and bars are on the same level.

Brighton is one of England’s most inclusive destinations

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Brighton is one of England’s most inclusive destinationsCredit: Getty – Contributor

Staff are trained in disability awareness protocols, there are braille food menus and guide dogs are allowed. See brightonpier.co.uk.

Further down the seafront, the British Airways i360, right, towers 162m above ground and offers unparalleled views across the city and the English Channel.

The viewing platform moves up and down and is accessible from beach level, thanks to a wheelchair-friendly lift.

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Features include hearing loops and display information in audio and large print. See britishairwaysi360.com/plan-your-visit/accessibility.

Carers get complimentary tickets at Brighton Sea Life, the world’s oldest aquarium (it opened in 1872). See visitsealife.com/brighton/plan/accessibility.

And those keen to watch a drag show can head to The Queens Arms, which has step-free access and exceptional table service. See theqabrighton.com.

The South West

LAND of cheddar cheese, Banksy and rolling hills, the West Country is one of the most accessible places to visit on a short break.

You could descend into the hidden caves of the Mendip Hills, to explore life underground. You will be in safe hands with caving expert Marcus, who has years of experience of working with people of different abilities.

Descend into the hidden caves of the Mendip Hills, pictured, to explore life underground

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Descend into the hidden caves of the Mendip Hills, pictured, to explore life undergroundCredit: Alamy

He’s able to tailor routes to the group, so everyone can have their own adventure, whatever their needs. See learntocave.com.

Or how about trying axe throwing? Whistle Punks in Bristol holds sessions specifically for wheelchair users and people with visual impairments, and staff are trained in deaf awareness. Book in advance to get your own lane. See whistlepunks.com/location/bristol.

For culture, head to the M Shed museum, on Bristol’s quayside. It gives a glimpse into the city’s history through objects and art. Inside, wheelchair-accessible lifts featuring spoken announcements will whisk you to the right floor.

In Somerset, Brean Down is a natural pier overlooking the Bristol Channel. It’s packed with rare plants and even has a Roman temple.

You can explore it with an electric, all-terrain mobility scooter (tramper), from the visitor centre. See nationaltrust.org.uk/brean-down.

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Wales and Shrops

WITH its network of waterways, Shropshire is ideal for a boating break – and these can be super-accessible if you know where to look.

Lyneal Trust offers canal boat holidays for people with disabilities, ranging from day trips to week-long voyages.

Boating breaks can be super-accessible if you know where to look

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Boating breaks can be super-accessible if you know where to lookCredit: Getty Images – Getty

Departing from Lyneal Wharf, you’ll travel down the Llangollen Canal, which weaves backwards and forwards across the Shropshire and Cheshire borders and into the Welsh county of Clwyd.

The three barges – Shropshire Maid, Lass and Lady – are specially designed with ramps, hydraulic lifts and wheelchair-friendly bathrooms.

They also have hydraulic steering so wheelchair users can take part in steering the boat along the idyllic waterways. See lyneal-trust.org.uk and canalability.org.uk.

Across the border in Wales, afternoon tea calls.
Pontcysyllte Chapel Tea Room, in Llangollen, is housed inside the refurbished Bryn Seion Chapel.

It has wheelchair access and plenty of space inside the tea room, which serves everything from jacket potatoes to sandwiches and freshly roasted coffee. See pontcysylltechapeltearoom.com.

Scotland

A ROMANTIC trip to the countryside that also caters to your every need can be a tall order.

But that’s what’s in store at The Rings, in the Fife wilderness.

The Rings, in the Fife wilderness is fully accessible

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The Rings, in the Fife wilderness is fully accessibleCredit: Alamy

This fully accessible cottage sleeps up to 16 people (divided into separate, self-contained apartments if preferred).

There are ceiling track hoists in three of the bedrooms, plus some ensuite wet rooms and sound-proofed walls for guests with sensory impairments.

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The whole building has wide corridors and doors, and there’s even a wheelchair-accessible vehicle on site. For more details, see therings.co.uk.

Then you could end your trip on a high – quite literally.

The Scottish Gliding Centre provides gliding experiences for those with disabilities.

Soar through the sky in an adapted glider with a qualified instructor manning the controls.

The clubhouse is also accessible, with facilities for wheelchair users.

For more info, see scottishglidingcentre.co.uk

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