Access all areas

By | Category: Travel news, Travel tips & opinions

With the London2012 Paralympic Torch Relay underway and only five days to go until the Paralympic Games, VisitEngland looks at some of the country’s greatest visitor attractions, accommodation options, and holidays for travellers with accessibility needs

VisitEngland’s Accessibility Manager Ross Calladine says: “As the country gears up to host the biggest Paralympics the world has ever seen, all eyes are on us once again – this time looking at our provisions for accessible travel experiences. This is a great opportunity for us to showcase England’s superb accommodation offerings and iconic attractions offering the warmest welcome to visitors with access needs”.

VisitEngland has long-known that visitors to England needn’t compromise on location or style to guarantee accessibility and facilities. Here, the national tourist board looks at some of the country’s visitor attractions, accommodation options and holiday operators blazing the trail for accessible tourism.

See the sites
With national pride at an all-time high, now’s the perfect time to get out and experience this glorious country of ours. Many of England’s most popular tourist sites are fully geared up for visitors with accessibility needs. The extensive ruins and treasures of the Roman Baths complex in Bath are beautifully preserved and presented using modern interpretation. The attraction has recently received recognition following the recent installation of two new lifts, tactile exhibits for visually impaired visitors and the launch of a British Sign Language audio guide.

Old Trafford

Whether or not you’re a Manchester United supporter, the stadium tour of the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ is a must for footie fans. Get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of this world-class sporting venue, see the players’ changing rooms and simply soak up the atmosphere. Accessible throughout, the stadium has plenty of spaces reserved for wheelchair users and companions and offers a Disabled Supporters’ Booklet.

Cornwall’s multi-award-winning attraction The Eden Project works with the Sensory Trust to find creative approaches to physical access. The attraction has fully-trained staff on hand to assist visitors with mobility or sensory impairments, from parking to site navigation and access.

The RSPB is working hard to improve access at its main nature reserves and more than 20 reserves now have an access statement available to download. Visitors wanting to know more about the layout of the café, the length of the trails or accessible parking facilities can now request the access statement prior to travel.

Eden Project

Stay the night
For luxurious accommodation in the New Forest, look no further than Chewton Glen. This privately owned country house hotel has an award-winning spa, swimming pool, fine dining restaurant, golf course and hydrotherapy pool, all set in 130 acres of picturesque grounds just 90 minutes from London. The hotel combines top class facilities with accessibility provisions, offering wheelchair access to all room categories, wheelchair adapted shower facilities, and an accessible spa changing area. Beyond the facilities of the property and its accommodations, the comprehensive staff training programme ensures the staff anticipate guests’ every need.

Gold ‘medallist’ in the VisitEngland Access for All award 2011 was Hoe Grange Holidays. Comprising four accessible self-catering log cabins in the Derbyshire Peak District, Hoe Grange is fully equipped and wheelchair friendly, and combines a ‘home from home’ atmosphere with excellent accessible facilities. Ideal for families and groups, Hoe Grange Holidays is rated suitable for assisted wheelchair users under VisitEngland’s National Accessible Scheme – and they even allow you to bring your own horse!

Morton’s House is a charming 16th century manor house, now converted into a 21-bedroom hotel in the picturesque village of Corfe Castle. The hotel offers a selection of individually decorated rooms, a 2 AA Rosette fine dining restaurant and has been rated suitable for independent wheelchair users and hearing impaired under our National Accessible Scheme.

Package it up
Take to the open seas with the Jubilee Sailing Trust. This charitable trust operates the world’s only tall ships in the world specially designed to be crewed by people of mixed-abilities. Costs have been subsidised on every voyage to make the adventures as affordable and inclusive as possible, even offering extra bursary funding and fundraising advice for those individuals who might struggle to afford the full voyage cost.

Can Be Done Holidays has specialised in original and pioneering wheelchair-accessible holidays, tours and short breaks since 1985. They can tailor-make itineraries according to your preferences, and can arrange self-drive holidays for greater flexibility, offering both standard and adapted vehicles.

Adventurous travellers can try out new activities or hone existing skills in everything from watersports, climbing and abseiling to zipwire and archery at The Calvert Trust at Kielder Water. This holiday centre in the Northumberland National Park offers accommodation and activities for disabled travellers and their families. A member of the National Accessible Scheme, all accommodation provided at the Calvert Trust is fully accessible for wheelchair users.

VisitEngland provides tips and ideas for people with physical and sensory needs at www.visitengland.com/accessforall

0saves
If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,