A guide to holidays and tourism for disabled people. For those with mobility problems, learning and physical disability or mental illness.
The question of access is a key factor. You may want to feel confident about access to the accommodation, to the attractions you want to see and leisure facilities you wish to use before thinking about anything else. Or you might put, type, destination and price of holiday first, and then look at the issue of price.
Should you opt for group holidays tailored for disabled people? These can save you the time and trouble of organising things for yourself. You are actually guaranteed access and assistance. But you might get less choice. And you might not always want to be with a group of disabled people. You can find more information in the English Touring Board’s leaflet The National Accessible Scheme, and the Welsh Tourist board’s leaflet Discovering Accessible Wales.
Before deciding you need to have as much relevant, up-to-date information as possible. Tourist attractions which subscribe to the English Tourist Board’s National Code of Practice for Visitor Attractions (The Visitor’s Charter) will have considered the requirements of disabled people with special needs and made suitable provision where it applies.
In Scotland attractions which are accessible or have some accessible facilities (eg. Car parking, toilets, eating places, shops, on-site transport) may display one of three wheelchair symbols. These correspond to the three categories of accessibility (see below).
National Accessible Standard
There is a National Accessible Standard for tourist accommodation denoting three categories of accessibility:
Category 1 accommodation likely to meet the needs of all wheelchair users, including those travelling independently;
Category 2 accommodation likely to meet the needs of wheelchair users accompanied by a capable helper;
Category 3 accommodation likely to meet the needs of those who can walk short distances and climb at least three steps. May not be suitable for wheelchair users.
Accessible public toilets
Access to the 9,000 locked toilets around the country is available via the Radar National Key Scheme key The Radar Key offers disabled people independent and accessible toilet facilities. Providers of disabled toilets fit Radar locks to ensure their facilities are in good condition. Over 25 years the scheme has been adopted by 400+ local authorities and many transport, retail and leisure providers.
Rail travel with a disability
If you have special needs when travelling by rail visit Information for disabled passengers
Information on accessibility travel in Ireland can be found at https://www.ireland.com/accommodation/articles/accessibility/
Find out more at the VIATOR website
Tourism for All
This service is the UK’s central source of travel and holiday information for people with physical, sensory and learning disabilities, older people, carers, one parent families and those on low income. The computerised database holds information on all aspects of holidays and travel in this country and overseas.
- Call: 0845 124 9971
- International: +44 1539 726 111
- Email: email@example.com
Tourism for All UK
1 Pixel Mill
44 Appleby Road
The British Isles
The national and regional tourist boards all publish lists of accommodation which are graded using the Nation’ information on accommodation is handled by Holiday Care Service 01293 771500
The English Tourist Board
Northern Ireland Tourist Board
Visit the East of England
Heart of England Tourist Board – this resource has closed
The Tourist Information Centres – London
Visit North East England
Visit North West England
Visit South East England
Places of Interest for Disabled People
ACCESS PROJECT (PHSP)
Publish well researched access guidebooks to London, Paris and Israel/Palestine
You can obtain information about facilities and access for disabled visitors and tourists available through some national tourists boards. You can obtain information at their offices in the UK. Offices are listed in the London phone book or alternatively you can obtain them through Directory Enquiries if you live outside of London. You can find information regarding travel to Paris and the surrounding hotels and areas online from travel and accommodation websites.
Consider visiting Paris for a city Holiday that is sure to have appropriate accommodations on tourist attractions and hotels alike.
Other Sources of Information:
The Central Bureau forms part of the British Council and provides advice on all forms of educational visits and exchanges. It also publishes a range of guidebooks on volunteer work, working holidays, home stays and exchanges for people of all abilities.
English Heritage produces a Guide for Visitors with Disabilities with details of access and facilities at properties. Available free of charge in standard, large print, Braille, and cassette versions from: English Heritage,
Family Carer Support Service – Holiday information guide 2017 for people with learning disabilities, family carers, organisations and support groups.
Access for everyone – The National Trust is for everyone, and we want to make it easy for disabled visitors to enjoy the places we care for.
Passport Agency has produced a guide – Applying for a Passport: A Guide for Customers with Disabilities – which explains the facilities for customers who are deaf and hard of hearing, blind and partially sighted, and those who use wheelchairs. https://www.gov.uk/passport-services-disabled
The Youth Hostel Association welcomes people with disabilities and has a number of hostels accessible to wheelchair users. https://www.yha.org.uk/
Help with holidays and respite care Social services departments may assist disabled people with the cost of a holiday and may provide transport and facilities. Your social worker may also apply on behalf of families with children to the Family Holiday Association for holiday funding
The Disability Aid Trust welcomes applications from those who would like to take a break but cannot afford to pay the extra expenses of essential helpers. To qualify your application must be supported by a bona fide organisation, doctor or social worker, willing to verify that you meet the scheme’s requirements.
Orange Badge Tenerife – Orange Badge Tenerife offer mobility equipment for hire in Tenerife, including mobility scooters & wheelchairs.
Tele / Fax 00 34 922 79 73 55 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
UK Number: 0151 808 0808
Revitalise – A national charity providing respite care in a holiday setting for disabled people and carers for over 50 years. Revitalise also offers inspirational opportunities for volunteers through one of the largest and most diverse volunteering programmes of any UK charity.
If you want to enjoy what’s in your local area, many local editions of the phone book have a section at the beginning called Arts Access’. It lists Cinemas, Theatres, Natural History attractions, Exhibitions, Museums and Galleries, Sports and Leisure Venues and Assistance Organisations, keyed in according to: entrance accessibility, special WC, induction lop/ infra red, wheelchair accessibility and loan, lift and hoist (at pool), lift, accessible bar/ restaurant, help available, disabled parking, wheelchair spaces. For other places telephone in advance.
It is worth contacting your local authority social services department or leisure department to see what activities they provide. Many council swimming pools and sports centres have facilities and instruction for disabled people. Your library may have a list of special groups locallyTo develop or follow-up particular interests or sports, there is a wide variety of groups dedicated to disabled people, many with active local branches. They cover the spectrum from angling to yoga. There are many Art, sport and leisure organisations and interest groups dedicated to disabled people..