England’s lushly beautiful countryside, vibrant cities and dramatic coastline are there for everyone to enjoy, including disabled travellers and those with access needs. There’s plenty of information and guidance on our site as to the best places to visit, where to stay, and how to get there – from assistance at railway stations, to accommodation that has been specifically assessed for those with access needs.
Whether you’re after a few days by the sea, a rural escape or a bright-lights-and-bustle weekend in the city, there is always somewhere to stay that offers comfort and support. Ellwood Cottages in Dorset has a swimming pool hoist, while Holiday Inns in Birmingham and London have rooms with ceiling hoists. For a real sense of escape, book the Hytte in Northumberland – a self-catering lodge that has won awards for its accessibility.
Disability is no barrier to feeling the sand between your toes or the tranquillity of England’s gardens and stately homes. Seaside resorts from Great Yarmouth in Norfolk to Boscombe in Bournemouth offer free beach wheelchairs, while many National Trust properties have excellent access facilities – particularly the beautiful gardens at Stourhead in Wiltshire and the atmospheric Anglesey Abbey in Cambridge.
Activity breaks are another great option, and again there are plenty of facilities for disabled travellers. Wheels for All offers adapted cycles at many centres including Cumbria, Sheffield and Northumberland, while fishermen can spend a lazy day on the water courtesy of Wheelyboats, which offer independent boating for wheelchair users at locations from Redruth to Ripon. For families, the spectacular aquarium at The Deep in Hull is ideal for those with sensory needs; particularly on a ‘Quiet day’ when lighting and sound levels are adjusted, BSL-signed presentations are available through the day and there are multi-sensory and interactive experiences.
Whatever your level of access needs, there is an organisation that can help ensure you have a safe, fun and enjoyable holiday. Holidays for All is a group of accessible holiday providers for those with higher needs. Revitalise can provide short-break and respite care at their centres in Southport, Essex and Southampton. The Calvert Trust offers outdoor adventure holidays in Exmoor, Kielder and the Lakes, while the waterways of Essex, Herts and London can be explored on a holiday boat from CanalAbilty. All boats are specially adapted with lifts and other facilities to cater for people of all abilities.
For more ideas and inspiration contact Tourism for All on 0303 303 0146.
Know before you go
Many places to stay and visit, including accommodation and attractions that have been assessed by VisitEngland, have an Accessibility Guide (or an Access Statement). Guides are designed to give disabled travellers thorough information on where they are planning to visit. So if you want to know anything from how many steps lead up to the hotel’s front door to the location of the nearest bus stop, look out for Accessibility Guides before you travel.
Confidence to book
VisitEngland’s National Accessible Scheme (NAS) highlights accommodation providers who have improved their accessibility. This means recognising hotels that have introduced grab rails or large-print menus – meaning that if you need a little extra support, or have let your glasses at home, providers have kept your needs in mind!
VisitEngland Inclusive Tourism Award winners brochure
The VisitEngland Inclusive Tourism Award winners booklet lists the businesses that have excelled in providing access for all visitors, and particularly people with impairments and other physical and sensory access needs.
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The definitive guide to accessible Britain. A leading source of information for disabled and older travellers; assessed places to stay, accessible restaurants, attractions to visit and great travel advice.
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