If you need a holiday but you have a wheelchair or other mobility issues, finding the right kind of break for you can be challenging. Thankfully, the tourism industry is beginning to respond to this previously unmet need and more and more destinations are now opening up to disabled travellers and their families.
If you love the countryside and like the thought of staying in a converted barn or stone cottage but you’re put off by the stairs, you could try Sykes Cottages. They provide a range of cottages all over the UK and Ireland, many offering ground floor accommodation, wet rooms so you can shower easily, flat access and even mobility aids on request.
For example, Dolphin Bach in Wales is a charming cottage with romantic exposed beams and a stunning elevated view over the welsh coastline. Every room is completely on ground level with wide doors to allow a wheelchair to pass through. It also has an accessible wet room and the possibility of hiring additional mobility aids. Sykes Cottages have dedicated telephone advisors who can help you choose the best cottage for your needs.
Premier Cottages use Visit England’s National Accessible Scheme so that all their properties that are accessible are advertised with a yellow badge to identify them. Any property with a yellow badge is accessible for those with mobility difficulties, visual and hearing impairments. As each cottage is different, they are scored for their ‘disabled friendliness’. Level 2 cottages may have a maximum of three steps whereas a level 4 is suitable for a full time wheelchair user. At least half of all their luxury holiday cottages have ground floor bedrooms and bathrooms.
If you want to try camping but can’t put up the tent on your own, you could try a yurt holiday. Yurts are far more luxurious than regular tents, some are wheelchair accessible and they all have the added advantage of being already erected so that you don’t have to struggle with tent poles.
The Yurt Retreat provides a yurt – Larch Yurt – with a wheelchair ramp and flat access. The interior is spacious enough for any mobility aids with proper beds so if you’ve got arthritis or another pain condition you won’t have to endure the discomfort and impracticability of sleeping in a sleeping bag on the floor.
You won’t have to struggle across fields at night when you feel the call of nature, either, as Larch Yurt offers it’s own bathroom with a disabled accessible shower.
Go Glamping have several glamping yurt parks throughout the UK. Some of these are flat access and have disabled facilities on site such as disabled accessed toilets.
Accessible Recreational Vehicles
If the idea of a yurt seems too chilly to you and you like your mod cons, you could take an RV instead. They are expensive and you’ll need a good credit rating or a comfortable income in order to purchase one, but they are the ultimate in on-the-go luxury and it’s really like having a home on wheels.
Some RV models are disabled accessible so that wheelchair and mobility aid users can still enjoy the freedom of an RV break. Coachbuilt Independence Motorhomes, for instance, have 22 different models of disabled accessible motorhomes with features like driver wheelchair docking systems, wheelchair ramps and winch, height adjustable bed, flexible layout and wet room. Who says you have to stay at home?
If you’re a disabled parent and you want to holiday somewhere that has plenty of entertainment to keep them happy, you could visit Park Dean Holiday Park. Their range of parks have facilities including swimming pools, shows, kids clubs, on site toddler groups, teens club, sports and wifi access. They have wheelchair accessible accommodation at St. Minver, Looe Bay, Torquay, Hayling Island, Sandford, Nairn, Lochloy, Sandrum Castle and Wemyss Bay. Accommodation includes wheelchair ramps, extra wide doorways, raised toilet bases, grab rails for toilet, flat access shower and wide corridors.
Butlins is another great option when you’ve got kids. They offer a free fairground and splash swimming pool, playgrounds, children’s discos, cinema and lots more. You can reserve a ground floor apartment for a fee of £15 which will be returned to you on arrival at the resort when you present them with a copy of your Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment. Budget and silver rooms and apartments are quite small and may be awkward if you have a wheelchair but they do have a limited number of silver and gold rooms with wheelchair ramps at the door and extra space inside. These have been fully adapted for use by disabled people. Staff can carry your suitcases to your apartment and collect them again at the end of your stay. If you are coming by car, there are disabled parking spaces directly outside the accommodation.
You can request accommodation that is near to all the entertainment so you don’t have to go far.
Wheelchairs and mobility scooters can be hired from the hire shop. Half-board restaurants are self-serve but if you find this difficult you can ask the staff for waiter service and they will be happy to serve you.
The staff at the Skegness resort will escort wheelchair users to the beach on request. All you have to do is ask and then send them a text when you would like to come back to the resort. With so many activities in one place and staff on hand, Butlins makes going on holiday easy.
Warwick Castle Glamping
If your child or grandchild likes knights and castles, you could visit Warwick Castle and camp in a medieval tent. Glampers are also treated to a medieval banquet and can take part in archery, jousting and falconry. The tents are all accessible, have proper beds and are beautifully decorated. There is an option for a larger tent called the King’s Tent that is more spacious if you have a sizable disability aid. It has the added luxury of a four poster bed with red velvet curtains.
There are disabled accessible toilets nearby and the medieval hall for dining is also accessible. Beware, though – the shower units are up a few steps so if you can’t use steps you may not be able to use the showers. Stays on the site are only one night, two days and there is a sink and running water in the disabled toilet that can be used which is what other disabled guests have done. Some areas of Warwick Castle are hilly, as one would expect in castle grounds, so there may be some areas you cannot access. Alternatively, you could take a personal assistant or family member to help you access those.
These are just some of the holidays available to people with disabilities so you can travel wherever you want to go with few restrictions. Where will you try first?