As we enter a second lockdown, many of us, once again have had to put our travel plans on hold for the time being. But just because we can’t travel at the moment doesn’t mean we can’t plan a holiday for when restrictions are lifted again. Staycations are becoming so popular – they are even being endorsed and encouraged by the government! So if you’re looking for an accessible destination for your winter vacation, look no further than our top suggestions.
The home of ballroom dancing and iconic illuminations, Blackpool makes for a wintery paradise of a holiday destination. This Lancashire seaside resort is a popular choice for people looking for a beachside escape – whether that’s just to try some fish and chips or to soak up the soothing sea air. But Blackpool also prides itself on being accessible to every visitor who comes to stay. The trams that run through the city are all wheelchair accessible and major attractions like the Pleasure Beach, Madame Tussauds and even the Blackpool Tower have wheelchair-friendly entrances and can accommodate any visitor with a disability. The Sandcastle Waterpark was even the Gold winner of VisitEngland’s Access For All Award.
Harrogate is a Victorian spa town in North Yorkshire, steeped in history and brimming with culture and activities. Not only does the town play host to international festivals in music, theatre and art, it’s also famous for its local spring waters and the iconic Betty’s Tea Room. Getting around the city is easy, with the Harrogate Bus Company having dedicated spaces and facilities for wheelchair-bound riders. The historic Ripley Castle, just a few miles out from the centre of town, is also fully accessible, with a wheelchair ramp leading up to the front entrance – perfect for anyone looking for some local history.
Breathe in the crisp, clean Yorkshire air as you step into its historical capital. Set within the Yorkshire Dales, the city perfectly blends contemporary and modern culture with traditional architecture and history around every corner. Whilst cities aren’t always the most accessible places to visit, York prides itself on making the city accessible for all – despite the historical nature of much of its top sights. The city works alongside Be Independent to help people find accommodation to suit all of their needs, as well as running a ‘Dial and Ride’ service specifically for people who may struggle with traditional public transport to get them wherever they need to go.
If you want to head out of England and move into Scotland, Glasgow might just be the place. As Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow offers a little something for every kind of traveller. Despite the historic nature of the city, much like York, Glasgow is highly accessible to disabled individuals. If you want to explore the city from the comfort of a sight-seeing bus, there are specific tours that are fully accessible to wheelchair users and their families. Or you can take a visit to the beautiful and serene Hogganfield Loch, which is fully accessible by wheelchair. Even in the very centre of the city, along the ‘Style Mile’ and an abundance of restaurants, cafes and bars, reviewers have noted how accessible and open the best attractions truly are.
Heading further South and we turn to Brighton, one of Visit England’s Access For All picks. This iconic seaside town on the South East coast prides itself on having something for everyone who visits – and this includes travellers with disabilities. Visit the iconic Brighton Pavilion and tour the ground floor of the palace built for King George IV or explore the art installations in the gardens – all of which come with hearing loops and tactile/braille maps to help you find your way around. There are hundreds of restaurants to try and places to see art and culture, all of which pride themselves on their accessibility to every visitor who comes by.
The Peak District
It might seem slightly ironic that somewhere called the Peak District would be accessible to disabled visitors, but you would be surprised. The rolling green hills of the Derbyshire countryside are home to grand estates and beautiful, untouched scenery – perfect for hiking, biking and climbing – but it’s also taken significant steps to become more accessible for anybody who visits. A real highlight of the area is Chatsworth House, the stately home which featured as Pemberley in the 2005 adaptation of Pride & Prejudice. Wheelchairs are available for hire on a tour around the house and there is a dedicated accessibility team on-site to help with any queries you may have when you visit.