Beautiful architecture, iconic sights and a rich history that brings travellers from all over the world flocking to our doorstep, we’re well and truly spoilt for interesting attractions here in the UK. However, as anyone with mobility issues will understand, taking accessibility for granted isn’t always the best way to get your big day out off to the best start.
Fortunately, over the past few years, accessible tourism has come on in leaps and bounds in the UK and disabled visitors looking to get to know Britain may be pleasantly surprised at just how many key attractions can be visited with ease. Here are a few of our favourites for that next mini adventure:
Perhaps one of the most recognisable landmarks of London, the walkway over the spectacular Tower Bridge offers a breathtaking view out over the city. Lifts ferry passengers to all levels of the two towers, including the exhibition centre where displays enhanced with induction loops, subtitles and scripts are in operation; there is also an accessible route for those visiting the underground engine room. Factor in that disabled visitors and carers can enjoy free entry, and you’ve got yourself an experience where the price is most certainly right.
If you’re looking for a family day out, you can’t go far wrong with a trip to London Zoo. Although the 36-acre Regent’s Park site consists of a number of impressive listed buildings, the zoo is surprisingly accessible with nearly all of the halls and enclosures suited to wheelchair users. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the attraction, assistance dogs are unable to accompany visitors. However, it is possible to organise a volunteer-assisted visit instead.
Standing testament to one of the world’s greatest tragedies, the Belfast exhibition dedicated to the doomed HMS Titanic is one of the UK’s leading tourist destinations. Titanic Belfast is situated just down the road from the shipyard where the Titanic was constructed; this attraction offers a fascinating insight into the building of and life on board the infamous ship. The Circulation galleries are wheelchair accessible and come equipped with integrated hearing loops. Plus, the centre offers Shop Mobility scooters, subject to conditions.
Fans of all things sweet rejoice! Cadbury World in Birmingham is fully accessible with lifts, ramps and low-level exhibits enabling disabled visitors to get up close and personal with a whole universe of chocolate. Here, you can live out your Willy Wonka fantasies and explore the production of this delicious product as well as indulge in a few samples. Wheelchairs are accommodated on the Cadabra ride and there are accessible toilets on every floor. Additionally, guide dogs are permitted, although they are not allowed in the chocolate production areas – a dog-sitting service is on hand at these locations. Scripts, an infrared hearing system and BSL tablets are also available.
For those that do love to be beside the seaside, a trip to Brighton is a must. But if the English weather prevents a visit to the seafront, there’s always the excellent and accessible Brighton Sea Life centre on hand to transport you to an underwater kingdom. Brighton Sea Life is a little bit different to others of its ilk in that it is the world’s oldest working aquarium and presents the wow factor with its vaulted Victorian ceilings. Expect to see more than 150 types of sea creatures in a wheelchair accessible setting – the only part of the centre that is inaccessible is the auditorium, but talks can be heard from the tunnel and staff will be on hand to answer questions for anyone who cannot enter. Registered disabled carers get free entry to this attraction, too.
Although you might not be travelling too far from home, it could still be worth purchasing medical travel insurance, particularly if you are planning to bring valuables along for the ride. Whether you’re planning a short jaunt or a long haul trip, Medical Travel Compared can help you find the best insurance policy for your travels - even if you need cover for a pre-existing medical condition.
You might also be interested in our Accessible Accommodation Checklist guide.