Thanks to the increasing popularity of the National Accessible Scheme, which helps those within the tourist industry to make their attractions more accessible to people living with disabilities, it is easier for those with mobility, hearing or visual impairments to enjoy the same types of UK based days out as able bodied people.
A good starting place to look for ideas is the Easy Access Britain Guidebook, or the Rough Guide to Accessible Britain. This gives ratings for attractions in terms of access, disabled toilets and power scooter loan or access.
Here are five suggestions for fun, accessible days out in the UK.
1) The Eden Project, Cornwall: This collection of geodesic biomes, which house some of the world’s most diverse plant life, makes for a great day out for nature lovers and those interested in conservation. There are events throughout the year, including performances with wheelchair accessible platforms for concerts and exhibitions.
2) Monkeyworld, Wareham, Dorset: If primates are your thing, you can see 150 varieties here, in fantastic landscaped enclosures. All of the enclosures have lots of swings and trees for the monkeys to play on and there is also a similar adventure area for children, which includes a wheelchair swing. There is a disabled toilet near the entrance and a selection of 25 motorised scooters or manual wheelchairs. For the visually impaired, there are sensory statues and guide dogs are allowed. There are also Braille guides in development.
3) Chester Zoo, Chester: The zoo and gardens cover 110 acres and there are over 400 different species of animals. One of the UK’s top zoos is also one of the most accessible attractions for people with disabilities. There is special car parking, ramped wheelchair access, concessionary fees for carers (no fee for those pushing a wheelchair), easy access around the zoo, and a special lift to the upper floor in the Kingdom of the Red Ape. The Cafe and shop are both wheelchair accessible. Hearing Loops (which transmit sounds electronically to hearing aids) or a pre booked sign language tour are available, as well as special access for the visually impaired.
4) Whitby, North Yorkshire: Fancy a day at the coast, with sandy beaches and a fantastic fish supper? This fishing town is laid out on the banks of the River Esk and many of the attractions are level for easy wheelchair access. This is also a great location for everyone’s favourite pastime of people watching, as the town attracts many Goths and bikers. For drizzly days, there are the wheelchair accessible Whitby Abbey and the Captain Cook Memorial Museum.
5) Legoland, Windsor: Yes, one more for the kiddies, but also for grown ups who like to access their inner big kid. It is 95% accessible to wheelchair users, with very friendly and helpful staff. There are many rides available to wheelchair users, including the Jungle Coaster, the Sky Rider, Duplo train and boating school. There are some wheelchairs for hire and registered carers (with those they care for) can come along for free.
Published by Gowrings Mobility. Gowrings are leading the way in wheelchair accessible vehicles, with a wide range of new and used mobility cars. http://www.gowringsmobility.co.uk