Disabled Holiday Information

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This page is for personal recommendations of places that people have visited and found really accessible and who wish to share the information with others who have mobility issues.

Please note that unlike the rest of our site we ourselves have not visited them and we strongly recommend that you contact the accommodation providers about your own specific requirements.

If you would like to contribute to the page please e-mail us with a short text and up to two photographs. We will not add your personal details to the items unless you wish us to and we do reserve the right to edit any material we feel is unsuitable.

 

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Visiting Shrewsbury

 

(Posted by Lynne Huffam, October 2014)

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We made good use of your website during our recent visit to Shrewsbury, so many thanks for your efforts. However, the best tip we were given was to take the bus into the bus station, and then use the lifts in the shopping centre (come out of the bus station at the far left and then a short way uphill to the entrance: take the lift up to the seventh floor, walk through the shopping centre to the next bank of lifts and take it up to level 3). From here, you are only a short walk from the castle, and most of the rest of the sights are downhill.

I think that anyone of restricted mobility would benefit from this bit of advice, given to us by a chance stranger on the bus.

 

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Willow Tree Lodge - Devon

 

(Posted by Carol Talbot, February 2011)

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A great holiday home for a disabled person. I was looking for a holiday for my disabled mother and five family members and found this, unfortunately I have now had to cancel the holiday but as it took me weeks to find a great place I thought I would pass it on!!!!
 

DHI Comment:- We are extremely grateful to Carol for sending us the information on this excellent accommodation. Since this comment we contacted West Pitt Farm who have now listed in our accommodation search. For more accessibility information about Willow Tree Lodge please click here or check out their website.

 

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A Trip on the Snowdon Mountain Railway

 

(Posted by Rob Hood, May 2010)

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The Railway is located in Llanberis on the A4086 and is easily found from the main A5 by turning in Betws-y-Coed. The mountain dominates the glorious ancient landscape of North Wales and at 3,560 ft (1,065m) is a true mountain.

At the Railway Station there are a limited number of parking spaces for blue badge holders to the left of the drop-off area. Alternatively there are some additional spaces in the car park in the raised area to the left of the station with the entrance from the mini roundabout. There is then a long ramp down to the station. Parking is free for blue badge holders - £4 or £5 for anyone else.

The whole area is level and a disabled toilet is situated towards the end of the platform past the Ticket Office. The toilet is suitable for most disabled people and large enough to include a carer.

There is a free film (well worth seeing) with shopping and refreshment opportunities along with an exhibition area available prior to boarding the train. The Station Buffet has seating indoors and outdoors and also the Platform Grill for takeaway snacks and meals.

 

Because there is only one carriage adapted to take a wheelchair it is essential that you pre-book by telephoning in advance – 0844 493 8120. It is suggested that you arrive at the station at least one hour before your booked departure time.

Wheelchair users are boarded first by the railway staff via a small ramp on to the platform and then with a short and not too steep portable ramp into the rear of the carriage. You sit “sideways” and you should sit on the opposite side on the return journey in order to enjoy all the absolutely splendid views.

The duration of the return journey to the Summit Station is two and a half hours which includes a thirty minute stop at the peak where there is now a new visitor centre – Hafod Eyri. This impressive building includes some audio visual and interactive experiences together with Café Copa which serves a range of soups, hand held savouries, cakes, and drinks.

At the summit you leave the train by the ramp onto the platform and then use a lift to gain access into the Visitor Centre. The lift will easily accommodate a standard wheelchair and two adults. This centre is quite spacious with floor to ceiling glass windows to enjoy the wonderful landscape which you can also do from a small outside and very windy area.

The disabled toilet in the centre has wheelchair turning space, room for a carer and space for left or right hand transfer.

Weather conditions on Snowdon are very unpredictable and can change quickly. It is possible that if conditions become severe and trains cannot proceed to the Summit they will terminate at Clogwyn Station – ¾ distance up Snowdon. For wheelchair users, the need to pre-book makes it a bit of a gamble, as on the day the weather may well restrict your enjoyment of the glorious ancient landscape.

Further, the carriage will just about accommodate two wheelchairs and would not therefore be suitable for groups – people with any mobility problems would also find it difficult as the aisle and space between the seats are very narrow indeed.

Nevertheless the Snowdon Mountain Railway is a great day out to the summit of a majestic mountain.

Their website is www.snowdonrailway.co.uk

 

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'Independence of the Seas' Cruise Ship

 

(Posted by Ruth Parker, March 2010)

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An image of 'Independence of the Seas' Cruise Ship

This ship is the 2nd biggest passenger liner in the world. On arrival at the dock, cars are directed to a queuing system and on reaching the front of the queue luggage is taken out of the car and loaded onto trolleys by porters. At Southampton there was a covered, long, zig-zag ramp up onto the ship and manual wheelchair users and their carers might need to request assistance unless they are very fit.

Designated accessible staterooms can only be booked by phone although all the necessary information is on the website. You need to state exactly what your requirements are and they will do their best to meet them.The stateroom was one and a half times as large as the adjacent rooms with more than adequate wheelchair turning space, a 6 foot double bed - or two 3 foot singles - accessible from the right side (with the back of the chair next to the headboard). Left side access could be requested, if required. There were 2 armchairs, a sofa, a dressing table and chair and an adapted wardrobe with a pull-down rail and accessible height shelves.

Access to all decks is level and there are plenty of lifts at each end of the ship. The lifts have room for 2 or 3 wheelchairs plus about 15 standing passengers and are very quick, so we never waited more than a few minutes for a lift even at the busiest times.

All dining rooms and cafes are fully accessible. The formal dining rooms and speciality restaurants have silver service waiters who insist on pushing wheelchairs as soon as you enter the restaurant. This is always done carefully and with humour – the waiters seem to be selected on their ability to make passengers laugh!

All shore trips are graded according to mobility required – see website. A tip is to go to the Explorations Desk on board where the staff there can advise you. We found the ‘Scenic Tours’ were fine with just a few photo and wine-tasting stops. Very little walking was needed – none if I decided not to get off at any of the stops. Drivers were helpful about putting wheelchairs into and out of the luggage compartment.

Services for disabled passengers had clearly been taken extremely seriously and were well thought out and appropriate for various disabilities (see website below) both in staterooms and around the ship and the staff were clearly well trained and motivated to help as much as they could.

The website is excellent and easy to use and full of information. If you click on the link below then select Independence of the Seas/All about Cruising/Accessibility onboard.

www.royalcaribbean.com

The ‘Accessible Staterooms’ section gives a list of the features and adaptations available for wheelchair users. Further customise the accommodation for your own specific needs e-mail :- special_needs@rccl.com

DHI Comment :- Ruth has compiled a very detailed access report of her trip and if you wish to download it in pdf please click here.

Ruth is Secretary of Derby Amputee Club and you can find out more about this very friendly Club and their activities by clicking here

 

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The Shellard Hotel, Blackpool

 

(Posted by Dawn, October 2009)

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We have just returned from a wonderful 5 day stay at The Shellard Hotel Blackpool. I am confined to a wheelchair suffering from m.s. but this hotel was fab i could get round and the owner and her staff were so helpful, there was nothing too much trouble, the bedrooms are warm and comfortable along with flat floor shower room  w.c and washbasin en-suite.

Access was great. The meals were lovely and the tables were at the right height for the wheelchair. Blackpool is flat and very wheelchair friendly as a lot of the amenities are, the water park has disabled access into the pool, changing rooms toilets and cafe areas. We had a wonderful holiday and hope others will too.

DHI Comment:- For more accessibility information about The Shellard please click here or check out their website.

 

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Todsworthy Farm Cottages, Gunnislake, Cornwall

 

(Posted by a member of Shrewsbury MS Branch, September 2009)

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Somewhere must be good if you want to return for another wonderful family holiday. All major concerns like parking, access, bathroom facilities and care come into planning a break away and we couldn’t fault anything.  I was able to access all the ground floor areas in my wheelchair and the family assured me that upstairs was also very comfortable.

We were very happy with the care agency we used to get me up in a morning, shower me in the dedicated wet room and return to tuck me up at night. There was information on Doctors, District Nurses, places to eat and visit. The only down side was the poor reception on our mobile phone, as we were down in a dip.

Carers used were:-

‘Carol Spinks Homecare’ 12-14 Fore Street, Saltash, Cornwall, PL12 6JL. 01752-844832

 

DHI Comment:- For more accessibility information about Todsworthy please click here or check out their website.

 

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Trenance Holiday Chalet, Newquay, Cornwall

 

(Posted by Peter Huxley, September 2009)

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During the hot sunny weekend at the beginning of June, my wife and I decided to visit friends in Newquay, Cornwall. Every time we go down there we look for wheelchair accessible and adapted accommodation without paying a fortune in the larger hotels as I am now finding it almost impossible to use a none adapted room.

The Trenance holiday park which is a large static caravan park close to Newquay centre has a number of wooden chalets.

They have just converted one of the four berth chalets into an adapted wheelchair accessible two berth.

The park is situated on a very steep hill and we thought it would not be very suitable for a wheelchair, however, the parking is alongside the chalet and with ramped access into the chalet so there is no problem other than the parking area is on grass, so those with manual chairs may have some difficulty despite the fact that the area is level.

The chalet itself has a small kitchen (no lowered units), a lounge dining room with plenty of room to manoeuvre a wheelchair, a double bed settee that will sleep either a carer, two children or even two adults, though the chalet is only really let as a two berth, as the only bathroom is en-suite to the main bedroom. The main bedroom has two single divan beds, a dressing table, and a wardrobe with a built in safe. The huge en-suite wet floor shower room has a raised toilet, with grab rails. Thermostatic shower with over shower and hand held, a shower seat with plenty of grabrails and two sinks, one with a pedestal and one without.

Overall an excellent facility for those looking for the lower budget end of the market. It appears that we were the Guinea pigs and the first people to use the chalet and the site owners were very interested to hear our views and comments. They also told us that if this was successful they planed to convert another two chalets next year. We made a couple of suggestions but had no complaints and would recommend it to anyone wishing to visit Newquay.

 

An image of Trenance Holiday Chalet BedroomAn image of the Trenance Holiday Chalet Living AreaAn image of the Trenance Holiday Chalet ExteriorAn image of the Trenance Holiday Chalet Wetroom

 

Contact Details :- Telephone : 01637 873447 Fax: 01637 852677

www.trenanceholidaypark.co.uk

 

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Greyhound Racing at Monmore Green Stadium Wolverhampton

 

(Posted by Rob Hood, August 2009)

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This is a very popular sport and meetings take place every Thursday and Saturday Evening. There is a large car park with approximately 15 reserved parking places right in front of the main entrance. Access to the stadium building is via a platform lift ie a lift shaft, no sides just doors on each floor, and situated to the left of the flight of steps. It is large enough to take a wheelchair and three adults. You need to keep pressing the button to take you to the 2nd floor bar area and restaurant. You leave the lift by a door on your left which means you have to turn your wheelchair 90 degrees which may be difficult for long wheelchairs or those with extended footrests.

You need to purchase a ticket in advance which will give admittance to the restaurant and include the race card and an excellent 3 course meal. When booking ensure you request a table on the upper level as the lower tables are down 4 very steep steps. From your table you get a great panoramic view of the whole track and there are also many screens giving different views, race information, betting odds, and results. You get a choice of menu on the night and all food and drinks are waiter service. Betting on the Tote is also done from your table with the minimum stake of £1.

The disabled toilet is down 5 steps but there is another platform lift on the right hand side that provides easy access. The toilet is a right to left  transfer with a pull down grab bar and a wall mounted horizontal bar and the facility should be perfectly acceptable for most requirements.

In conclusion, it is a different and fun evening best enjoyed with a group of people. There is a very friendly atmosphere and it is good value.

www.monmoredogs.co.uk  Telephone - 01902 452648

An image of the Monmore Green Official Programme 

 

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Manna Place, Polzeath, Cornwall

 

(Posted by Pauline Rigby, May 2009)

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An exterior image of Manna Place

My name is Pauline and I have suffered from Multiple Sclerosis for 30 years. I spend a lot of my time in an electric wheelchair although I can walk round the house a little.

I recently stayed at the above accommodation with two able-bodied friends. Before setting out on holiday I was a little apprehensive despite all the positive information given on the web site. I needn’t have worried. Manna Place is a very comfortable, disabled-friendly home from home. It is tastefully decorated and easy to get around in a wheelchair. The bathroom with it’s shower wet room was super. There was a shower stool and a perching stool which put my mind at rest for ablutions! The gardens were accessible in a wheelchair and very interesting to go round.

The owner, Ann, could not have been more helpful offering additional equipment, if necessary. Ann advised us on lots of places to go, to walk, to eat, to visit all with my disability in mind.

Manna Place is well situated in one of the best spots in Polzeath with a clear view of the sea and surrounding bay area. Ann goes out of her way to make sure you have all you need to have a really wonderful holiday!

Pauline Rigby

Lancashire

DHI Comment:- For more accessibility information about Manna Place please click here or check out their website.

 

 

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Holiday Beach Hotel, Kololi, The Gambia

 

(Posted by Anon, March 2009)

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An image of a typical street in the Gambia

A typical street in the Gambia

On 10th January we flew from Gatwick to Banjul in the Gambia in Africa. After a six hour flight we were in Gambia International Airport. NB No ambilift so leaving the plane is down the steps (walking or carried in the wheelchair). We made our way to the coach that was taking us to our apartment/hotel at Holiday Beach in Kololi. The Hotel is at the end of a 100 metre slightly sloping drive made of oyster shell which is very dusty (the drive is dimly lit at night). Our two bedroomed ground floor apartment was a very short walk from the main reception area and an even shorter walk from the beach (day time temperatures 28-32 degrees- HOT!!!).

There are steps into the complex but with (steep) ramps and the paths are concrete with a fairly smooth surface.


There are small steps into the rooms, (my room no. 317 had 3 shallow steps) with a small terrace through (sliding) patio doors. It two double beds, a dressing table, a wardrobe and two single 13 amp plugs (in the corner of the room). N.B. Power cuts are the norm (you are advised not to use high demand appliances). There was a shower room with toilet and basin (all floor tiles can be slippery when damp). No view to the rear but a front view of the pool area which is cleaned daily and has a ledge all around the edge and is entered via a ladder.  On site there is a Pool bar and a restaurant (with a ramp over the step).

 

An image of one of the Hotels step ramps

One of the ramps

There is a short path (and step) to the Beach bar,(serves drinks and snacks, for those who can’t manage the sand) plus steps down to the beach which has soft white-ish sand. The local`s (Bumsters) will hassle you but a polite ‘No thank you’ will help deter them. The fruit sellers also hassle you but the juice and fruit salad is wonderful.

There were plenty of places to eat on the Serragambia ‘strip’ (once you have run the gauntlet of the ‘Bumsters’ with their verbal hassling) and every type of cuisine can be found. This short street is very busy and chaotic. The driving is very nerve racking as there are cattle and people all over the road!!! Tarmac roads are very rare as the majority of roads are sand and very very rough. (N.B. Don’t forget, you are in one of the poorest parts of Africa).

During my stay I visited many tourist places as well as meeting the local people and a school. Go with guide for a good experience but beware who you choose, as there are some rogues out there!!

I was prepared to do some walking but I ended up leaving the chair behind on all occasions and used my walking stick as accessibility in Gambia is not provided for (but you will have plenty of help from passers by).

We all see pictures on the TV (or other media) but the poor conditions that they learn in and live in is still a shock when you see them ‘First Hand’.

Flights from the UK cease from April to October, except with Gambia Experience www.gambia.co.uk/default.aspx.

The extra effort put in to this holiday made it a worthwhile experience that has very good memories and I will return soon.

 

 

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Marhaba Palace, Port El Kantaoui, Tunisia

 

(Posted by Alan Thomas, February 2008)

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An image of the Hotel Entrance

The entrance to the hotel

Being a wheelchair user, I was very cautious about the accessibility of the hotel I had chosen in Tunisia. However even though the ramps in Tunisia are steep and some times there is no “dropped Kerb” and the step down to the road is fairly high, access within the hotel is very good with ramps on all steps. Most floor coverings are marble (NB marble is slippery especially when damp). On my stay I met a few “mobility impaired” people who told me they found the hotel good for the area.

The staff are very helpful (if you tip them) and they will do all they can to assist.

There are four lifts (as well as stairs) to all seven floors situated at opposite ends of the huge (flat) reception area (which has magnificent centre candelabra). There is short pile carpet on all the other floors which does not hinder wheel ability.

The rooms are big, (with sea views to the rear and town views elsewhere). The bathroom has an over shower-bath, basin, hairdryer and clean towels every day with a separate toilet (which is on the small side). The hotel is a very large H shape (with the beach side in the shade after mid-day).

There is maid service every day (very thorough) and a laundry service is available. The restaurant has 3 levels (accessed by steps or ramps) and the food is served “Buffet” style with plenty of choice and quantity (N.B. you always have the same table every night).

Breakfast is in a different room again buffet style and plenty of choice.  Waiters direct you to your table and some tables are wider than others (good for a wheelchair).

The hotel has a shop, hair salon, ‘a la Carte’ restaurant, fitness centre, tennis courts, mini golf, sauna and massage suite, indoor (heated) and (large) outdoor swimming pools.  NB you may encounter very small ramps, or even a step within the grounds of the hotel. There is a very short path to the beach approximately100 metres with a pool and a beach bar.

Entertainment was a bit scarce but it was December (not the high season). Christmas and New Year GALA dinners were waiter service, 7 course meals (menu issued in advance, so you can notify them of any dislikes/allergies ). There was also music and dancers during the celebrations and a visit from Father Christmas on Christmas morning.

It is a short walk to the Marina (along the beach or via the road) and the town of Port El Kantaoui is also only 2 minutes walk along cobbled pavements or you can “wheel” on the road (as I did) but beware in a wheelchair (or even crossing on the crossings) you feel a bit of a target from any form of transport.  You will get plenty of attention from locals trying to sell you things or to get you to go to their shop or restaurant. There are many tours and excursions available from the hotel (or tour operator).

 

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Quarrymill Walk, Perth, Scotland

 

(Posted by Alyson Johnston, July 2007)

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I like going for walks and find it nearly impossible to find any suitable for my mother and her wheelchair as so many that say they have access are a nightmare when you actually get there. However I would like to recommend the Quarrymill walk just outside Perth on the Scone road as it is ideal for wheelchair users particularly as it is close to the Upper Springlands Centre that offers day services for disabled adults. I would give it a five star rating and there is even a cafe. I would also really like to encourage disabled people to visit Perth. The city is very wheelchair friendly with easy access to car parks, shops cafes etc. In contrast to Stirling where I find the castle and city are not easily accessed.

 

 

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Rhondda Heritage Park, Lewis Merthyr Colliery, Trehafod

 

(Posted by Alan Thomas, May 2007)

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My visit coincided with the Launch of Adult Learners Week by the WEA (Workers Education Association). The event was very well attended as this is a popular attraction.

 

An image of Rhondda Heritage Park

The entrance

 

There are parking spaces for disabled near the entrance. NB The whole (outdoor) site is on a very gentle incline (not enough to prevent “manual” wheelchairs getting about though some areas are natural smooth cobblestones).

An image of the lift area

The lift area

 

Entrance is via large glass doors. To the right is the reception area and a gift shop. To the left are the toilets (with designated disabled facilities) and a (smallish) lift to the upper level. On this level, you find the café (self service), N.B. The café can become very crowded at busy times. Also on this floor there are conference rooms and a large exhibition area.

Downstairs are a few exhibitions of the history of the colliery and local life during these times. It is here where you can join a guided tour of the site including 'an Underground Tour'. This goes through some old buildings N.B.there are low light levels, loud noises and strobe lights.

You will see film clips of life in the mine, from here you put on Safety Hats enter a lift and go down to a mine. You will experience the conditions the miners had to work in. A 'simulated' explosion is witnessed before you exit on to the surface. N.B. The underground tour is as accessible as can be made possible however a manual chair user will need assistance as the ground is uneven with loose gravel and it is damp (in places). Also the mine has railway tracks that are present all along the route and need to be negotiated.

After this tour you are free to look around the site at your leisure. At the far end there is a children’s play area with plenty of playground activities to be found.

I had an enjoyable day, even though the ground is a bit rough and dusty it is worth a visit.  More information can be found at:-

www.rhonddaheritagepark.com

 

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Poachers Leat, Carnhell Green, West Cornwall

 

(Posted by Martin and William Whittlesey, May 2007)

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We found this well equipped Self catering accommodation quite by chance through a web search. It is located at the rear of the owner’s property and is all one level with easy access. It is set in a quiet country village just off the A30 within easy reach of all local sights and attractions.

The views from the bedroom and lounge are across wide open countryside with sea glimpses, we found it an ideal place to unwind and relax.

The en suite is a wet room and the owner also provided us with a shower chair to suit my father's needs.

We would heartily recommend it as we have done to friends and family.

http://self-catering-acommodation-in-west-cornwall.5u.com

 

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Jubilee Sailing Trust

 

(Posted by Melissa Harding, March 2007)

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For anyone that wants to try a holiday with a difference I recommend sailing with the Jubilee Sailing Trust (JST). The JST are the only organisation in the world to have 2 fully adapted tallships equipped and designed to take disabled and able bodied people on an adventure holiday with a difference..

I have been fortunate to voyage on both Nelson and Tenacious.  My last trip was to Antigua where we picked up Tenacious and travelled to the British Virgin Islands stopping off at St Barths and Virgin Gorda and also passing Montserrat, St Martin and the infamous Necker Island to name a few on the way.

Every disabled person is paired up with an able bodied “Buddy” or you can bring your own!  I have gotten on very well with the buddies picked for me on both voyages.

An image of Melissa on deck being helped by her buddy Zoe

(Being helped by my buddy Zoe)

 

Be warned this is not a lazy holiday you are expected to help sail these tallships. There are no passengers, you are part of the ships crew and are expected to do as much as you can and everyone has to take their turn in the galley, and helm the ship!

You can even be heaved up the foremast in your wheelchair if you wish to be. 

up the foremast in your wheelchair image

We were even hoisted over the side of the ship to have a swim in the Lagoon at Virgin Gorda!

 

Trips can take place anywhere in Europe and the Caribbean. You can even grab yourself a bargain holiday if you keep an eye on the website. The price of the trip includes food but you do have to pay separately for flights.

The great thing about these voyages is you get to see places that are not tourist hot spots.

If you decide to take a JST holiday you will not be disappointed. But be warned you will return with the “JST BLUES” and will be booking your next voyage very shortly after returning home!

Don’t forget to pack your gloves! (for pulling on ropes!)

www.jst.org.uk  

 

 

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Confortel Hotel, Fuengirola, Costa Del Sol, Spain

 

(Posted by Alan Thomas, March 2007)

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I stayed at this very impressive (4-star) hotel from the 4th – 11th March 2007. It has only been open for 2 years and standards are very high with attention paid to cater for customers with a disability. 

An exterior image of the Confotel Hotel

 

The hotel has mostly tiled floors (marble) or short pile carpet in other areas. It has 15 floors, 180 rooms (14 specially adapted) 3 lifts (room for 1 wheelchair plus 3 people) and all controls and signage are in English and Braille. The fact that there were a lot of people using mobility aids/wheelchairs was a good sign of easy access.

Reception can arrange to hire (locally) any mobility equipment or accessible transport as well as organise tours and provide any information you might need. A Taxi waiting area is within a few yards of the entrance door.

The underground car park has a lift (lift door 31 inch wide) to:- Ground floor ? Reception, lobby (with customer internet access) and bar/TV room. First floor ? Dining room (buffet service with plenty of staff to assist and outstanding choice of food). Second floor ? Pool area (with wheelchair hoist). N.B. The pool is in shade after 1.30 pm.

An image of the Pool

 

The rest of the floors are dedicated to rooms. The South facing rooms have a balcony and the North facing rooms have large windows looking over the town. During my stay I viewed the Accessible rooms and they were all en-suite with a roll in shower (with chair and room for a carer) grab rails, a basin at a suitable height, wide doors and the room was large enough to manoeuvre a wheelchair.

I stayed in one of the regular South facing rooms the main door was 30 inches wide with balcony (a 7 by 6 inch step) through the patio door. All rooms are en-suite, (toilet 16 inch high) over shower bath, twin beds plus a sofa bed, wardrobe, safety box, colour- remote control TV, telephone, fridge, air conditioning.

I would recommend this hotel to anyone with mobility problems, especially as I met another customer (with a motorised chair) who had been here for 6 months and who was very pleased with his stay.

This LUXURY hotel (with a very polite and welcoming feel to it) is part of this hotel chain:-

http://en.confortelfuengirola.com

 

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Visiting Fuengirola on the Costa Del Sol in Spain

 

(Posted by Alan Thomas, March 2007)

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Fuengirola is a great place for a person with limited mobility. All the pavements are smooth with plenty of road crossings (with “dropped” kerbs N.B. some of these crossings can be a little rough but nothing to worry about).

It is a very flat (for miles) and the beach has ramps and walk ways for wheelchairs to go down to the sun beds on the sand. Most of these have a waiter service for drinks or meals. Fish are caught and BBQ-ed within a few yards of you.

An image of the beach path

One of the beach paths

 

There are a multitude of restaurants and cafés along this resort with every cuisine imaginable available (even British). The staff are very pleasant and will do anything to make sure you have an enjoyable meal.

Transport is NO problem there plenty of Taxi`s (accessible taxi`s are easily arranged) and a regular bus service to most places. The train runs through this town. There are two stations, one is totally NOT accessible due to a very steep ramp. However the main Fuengirola station has a wheelchair lift down to the ticket office and to the platform via turnstiles (a wide turnstile is at the right hand side). Getting on to the train is via a step from the platform N.B. I was not allowed to go on to the platform to check this out due to communication problems and from what I could make out for SECURITY reasons.

There is a marina along the beach from where there are many boat trips. I was told by the operator “Wheelchair, no problemo”. However I didn’t have time to go on one of these as I was on my way home.

Excursions to many attraction’s are readily available. I took one of these to visit Gibraltar. This was a good place for a day out sight seeing and shopping. There was plenty for the tourist to do in the town. N.B. accessible toilets are NOT very prominent. I did find one in the town hall square (at the far end of the main street). It is opened via an intercom to a remote operator who will unlock the door by remote control. You can tour the rock (by mini-bus) even go on the cable car up to see the rock and Monkeys.

An image of the toilet in the square

Gibraltar (the toilet in the square)

 

As there were quite a few mobility aids and wheelchairs being used in FUENGIROLA it reinforced the view that it was an ideal place for any disabled person to take a holiday. (N.B. I presume it does get very, very busy at the height of the season).

 

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Fuengirola Zoo, Costa Del Sol, Spain

 

(Posted by Alan Thomas, March 2007)

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One day during my holiday was spent at Fuengirola Zoo. This is unlike any (usual) idea of a Zoo. As the information leaflet says “Here you will not find cages or bars”. YOU ARE VERY SAFE. The animals are housed in a natural enclosure within walls of (large) bamboo canes and the viewing areas that are behind have thick (very clean) glass.

The whole site is accessible (wheelchairs might need a bit of assistance on some of the smaller slopes). It has paths made out of concrete or paving stones through out. 

The main entrance has steps with a ramp built on the left side. You go through the gate where they take a souvenir photo (for you to buy).

 

An image of the Zoo entrance

Zoo entrance

Your experience now starts!! You go along the paths viewing the animals, (plenty of variety but not Elephants or Giraffes). The Crocodiles are SCARY up that close.

Half way round there is a Café, where you can sit and look over the zoo. There are also toilets and a children’s play area here. To one side there is a demonstration of  “Forest clearing” and the “Animal behaviour Exhibition”. From here you carry on through the maze of paths past many animals and birds via (very stable) wooden bridges.

On one path there is a very big tree through which the staff take small groups into the enclosure with the Lemurs. This was very safe and also very exciting. The Lemurs were very interested in my wheelchair as they are very inquisitive. As you can see from the photo they climbed all over it while I sat on a wall.

 

An image of Lemurs in Alan's chair

Lemurs on my chair

Just before you reach the exit there is another restaurant. It had plenty of room and accessible toilets (door key behind counter). Next to it was the Zoo gift shop and counter to buy your souvenir photo.

The zoo website is www.bioparcfuengirola.es/en you can get a good idea of the experience before your “great day out”.

 

 

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Cardiff Airport (Wales)

 

(Posted by Alan Thomas, March 2007)

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This is a fairly modern airport with good accessibility. It has large revolving doors to the check-in area with lowered access to the telephones and other facilities.

 

An external image of Cardiff International Airport

 

Two lifts at the right hand side of the check-in take you up to “Departures”. Situated here are a selection of shops, food outlets, information desks, cash-points, bars and toilets.

 

An image of the departure lounge

Once you are through passport control to the “departure lounge” there are more shops, restaurants, bars and toilets plus the “departure gates”. From here the staff will escort you to your plane.  There are plenty of information screens situated throughout.

The “Arrivals” area is just the same but without the lounge and restaurant. Instead there are baggage reclamation “carousels” and the exit hall with toilets, car packing offices and tourist information about your stay in Wales. All this airport is “step free” the floor throughout being smooth (adding to the wheelability).

Website - www.cwlfly.com

 

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Malaga Airport (Spain)

 

(Posted by Alan Thomas, March 2007)

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Malaga airport is very, very BIG and very, very busy. For mobility impaired customers there are many golf cart style buggies to take you about the airport. 

 

An exterior image of Malaga Airport

 

There are around 80 ?check-in? desks in the departure lounge. (N.B. this is due to double very soon as building work is well underway).

 

An image of the check in area

 

After “check-in” and one of many passport controls you go through to the “departure lounge”. This is huge with information desks, plenty of seating, toilets and lifts to the first floor food outlet and shopping area. You go back down to the lounge to access the “departure gates” (via another passport control). Here there is another (smaller) lounge with food outlets and toilets.

Staff will help you at every stage (once you conquer the communication barrier).

Throughout there are information screens (N.B.  some of the information is NOT up to date, so keep your wits about you) !!!!! My experience was of “utter chaos” with the whole airport operation (even my getting there on time).  My advice is to get there in plenty of time (in fact best to “double” the advised advance time)!!

Airport website :-

www.aena-aeropuertos.es/csee/Satellite/Aeropuerto-Malaga/en

 

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Hyde Park Lane Bungalows, Playa de los Pocillos, Lanzarote

 

(Posted by Alan Thomas, January 2007)

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After my recent 1 week stay (January 07) here I can recommend Hyde Park Lane Bungalows, Playa de los Pocillos, Lanzarote to other wheelchair users.

 

An exterior image of reception at Hyde Park Lane Bungalows

The resort is built on a very, very slight slope (don’t worry it is very 'slight') I could easily get around on my own. Some paths are narrower than others, not under 1 metre though. During my stay I saw a few other wheelie users which is a good sign that access is good.

The staff here and as on the whole island are only too willing to help when you need it (one even put my jumper on me when it got a bit chilly).

Some bungalows do have one step, but many are level (please note though that the patio tiles can be slippery when wet). I was in bungalow 54 at the end of the site. It was very quiet here but I presume closer bungalows will have noise from the pool or passing holiday makers.

My bungalow had level access from the path via the patio to the door.

It had the following specifications:- Front door width  28 inches [threshold 1 inch] / Bedroom door 27 ¼  inches / Bathroom door 27 ¼  inches. Switch height 32 inches / socket 10 inches (2-pin), Over bath shower (mixer tap), single “Grab Rail” at opposite end, toilet 14 inches high.

There is a supermarket on-site but it is under ground down a very steep slope, best to ask somebody to go for you or go into town.

The pool (pictured below) has access from the restaurant (side) via steps (4), flat access is about half way around between the bungalows (this access is not sign posted, so keep an eye out for it!!)

 

An image of the Pool area

 

The HPLB has a good menu or buffet from its restaurant, or there is the pool bar that serves bar snacks. Quality of food is good.

When going to anywhere on the island the pavements are a bit lacking in “grip” at times being a tiled surface. Sometimes their maintenance is not 100% and some “kerbs” are on the high side and the ramps can be steep. One that I had particular difficulty with was replaced during my stay.

DHI Comment :- These apartments do not have their own website but are featured by one of the main holiday operators.

 

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Visiting Lanzarote

 

(Posted by Alan Thomas, January 2007)

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During my stay at Hyde Park Lane, Puerto Del Carmen, Lanzarote, in January 2007 I visited many visitor attractions. All the towns are “packed” with gift shops, bars and restaurants.

The Volcanoes at Timanfaya (Montanas del fuego de Timanfaya) are a very popular attraction. There are buses (these are included in the admission fee) which take you on a tour of the volcanic landscape please note the route is along very narrow roads. One bus has a lift for wheelchairs.

 

An image of the bus wheelchair lift

 

Also they have demonstrations of the heat that is produced by the underground temperature, this heat is used to cook food assumingly for the on-site restaurant which incidentally has superb views of the surrounding area below. There is a gift shop to buy souvenirs of your visit. The park staff will do their utmost to ensure that you have an enjoyable time.

On the way back I went for a ride on a camel, a very worth while experience.

 

An image of Alan during his camel ride

Another attraction is a Submarine 'dive' on a real Submarine (a yellow one) in Puerto Calero Harbour. You go on a tour of the harbour entrance, and see all the under water life and a few shipwrecks.

Afterwards, you go to their shop to pick up a certificate of your adventure, from here you can purchase photos of you (that they have taken) and gifts.

Puerto Calero, is a very modern and up coming Marina, with many bars and restaurants along the Quay. Further South, on the island is the port/town of Playa Blanca.  From here you can catch the ferry to the neighbouring island of Fuerteventura.

Travelling North, There is spectacular views, from a mountian top view point “Mirador Del Rio”— don’t forget your CAMERA!!

All along the (eastern) coast are the towns of Costa Teguise, ARRECIFE (Capital and airport terminal ) Puerto del Carmen (with its bustling nightlife)  and Playa Blanca at the Southern tip. There are buses that run at regular intervals along this route, with plenty of bus stops, plus Taxis or you can hire a car.

When exploring the towns, the pavements are sometimes lacking in maintenance and some kerbs are a bit on the high side. The surfaces can be slippery when damp but I found them very manageable.

 

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Walleden Farm, Highbridge, Somerset

 

(Posted by Colin Wall, January 2007)

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I would like to recommend Walleden farm in Somerset. There are currently 2 new log cabins both 3 bedroom, 33’’ inch doors wider than average, and a wheelchair access ramp. It has a bathroom and an additional wheelchair entry shower room about 7 ft square. It is located in rural Somerset with fishing on site. The owner has had a head injury himself and has designed this holiday accommodation specifically for disability users.

DHI Comment:- For more accessibility information about Walleden please click here or check out their own website.

 

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Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales

 

(Posted by Alan Thomas, December 2006)

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An image of Cardiff Millennium Stadium's white steel 'spiked' framework

 

This impressive building is usually the home of major Rugby events, in the city of Cardiff. You CANNOT mistake this building, with its “spikes” of the framework made of  white steel.

Over the Christmas 2006 period, it has been used to host “FUNDERWORLD” an indoor theme Park. (The Stadium has a roof that can be opened and closed).

The Stadium itself is a fairly new building, with disabled access to all parts ( but bear in mind, it is mainly a sporting venue !!). It has many entrances, but the disabled parking is through gate 3. From this underground car park, the attendant will be in radio contact with ground staff who will come and assist you through corridors and lifts to the middle of the stadium.

The inside is very clean and well lit. Floor coverings are easy for wheelchair users to “wheel”. The double doors (a lot of them) are wide enough for a wheelchair to go through with a single door open.

There are many toilets dotted about the stadium (NOTE SOME ROUTES TO THESE HAVE SOME STEPS, BUT THERE ARE OTHER FLAT ROUTES AVAILABLE). 

 

An image of the toilet facilities 

 

The pictured toilet is on the main entrance level, where the Rugby Teams arrive, along past the changing rooms and the media interview rooms and down to the pitch via the “Players Tunnel”. The pitch is of special design and can removed for events like the one I attended, leaving a smooth tarmac surface (like a normal road). 

The Millennium Stadium has its own website www.millenniumstadium.com with all the information to hand.

I would like to add that the staff of the Stadium are very helpful and informative, nothing seemed to be any trouble for them.

DHI Comment :- For more accessibility information about our visit to the stadium, please click here or check out the short review on our Cardiff Area Page.

 

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Yr Hen Dderwen, Camarthen, Wales

 

(Posted by Alan Thomas, December 2006)

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An exterior image of Yr Hen Dderwen

 

“ Yr Hen Dderwen”  is a Wetherspoon establishment in Carmarthen, Wales. (The street it is on has only a few disabled parking spaces but there is a car park within a few hundred yards although some of the pavements are very narrow). It is a fairly busy pub (at peak times) with a restaurant and is all on one level.

There are a few tables outside the front (some on a small rear balcony). The entrance is via  double “swing” doors inside the bar area has a tiled floor, with (smooth) carpet in the eating area. Tables and chairs are of “heavy” wood but can be moved about (to aid the wheelchair to go close to the table).

The meals they serve (ordered at the bar) are fairly large, they have plenty of choice on the menus which is uniform throughout the Wetherspoon chain.

The disabled toilet is halfway along (between the restaurant and drinking area). It is opened with a “RADAR” key (If you do not have one there is one behind the bar and they will come to open it for you) it has plenty of “grab rails” and is brightly illuminated

An image of the toilet facilities

                

N.B. (the main toilet is down some stairs).

All the Wetherspoon outlets have a large screen television (low volume) showing a news channel  with subtitles so you can keep up to speed with the world.

 

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Theatr Mwldan, Abertefi, Cardigan, Wales

 

(Posted by Alan Thomas, November 2006)

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An interior image of Theatr Mwldan

This cinema, in Cardigan, West Wales, is well worth a visit. I have been on numerous occasions, as a wheelchair user I found it particularly good, for access, with a public car park at the rear of the building, with direct (flat) access to the cinema via a automatic door, into the foyer.

Once in the building there is plenty of room, for a wheelchair, the floor is smooth “slate" tiles, with no obstacles in the way. (see photo above). Any gradients to the floor are very small, slopes, wide with handrails. 2 screens and 1 theatre (with some “live” performances) are available, on 3 floors, with a lift (button operated) to all floors. (see photo below).

An image of the lift

 

An accessible toilet is on every floor. The auditoriums all have a Hearing “loop”. Wheelchair spaces are all within a few metres of the doorway, assistance is always available from the polite staff. A Café area is in the main foyer, with the booking counter, one side, shop the other side.

Their website  www.mwldan.co.uk has all the information you may need, including seating plans. Plus a “tourist Information” office is situated here.

 

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FREEDOM ON HOLIDAY

 

(Posted by Ray & Carol Burton, November 2006)

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I think that most people, who have a close relationship to a wheelchair, have had misgivings about going away for a break without facing enormous difficulties with both travel, and accommodation that is really suitable.

We were very pleasantly surprised at the treatment that we received both at Luton airport, and with Easyjet, both of whom deserve a medal for the way that they look after disabled people.

We arrived in Spain and were greeted at arrivals by our hosts, who had come to collect us in a wheelchair-adapted vehicle. This alone, takes away the worry of suitable transfers. We immediately felt comfortable and relaxed, knowing that we were in the hands of people who knew what they were doing, and were so friendly, that we almost felt that we were going home.

The trip took about 40 minutes, this meant that the whole journey lasted just over three hours from Luton, to the doorstep of our delightful home-for-the-week.

La Sonrisa is well equipped with proper hospital beds, wheelchairs if you need them, and hoists etc. you can even employ a carer for assistance with washing and dressing Everything in the bungalow is level, although the whole place is built on the side of a hill, and has a rather steep drive from the main road.

Transport, we feel, is essential, and to that end, we had the use of a wheelchair car for the week that we were there. Going away on holiday with a wheelchair is one thing. To have the freedom that a car gives is sheer delight. We were never in the hands of taxi drivers that is if you can find one that caters for chairs. We could come and go as we pleased.

The cost of the hire car was about one third of what you would pay in this country for the same facility. 

As I said before, La Sonrisa, is set on the side of a hill, and is most pleasantly laid out to give both good views in all directions, as well as a good level of privacy for disabled guests and their carers. You feel very much like human being, and never like a “special case”.

Although development is on going on the site, it is only at a slow pace, with the owners doing all of the work. There is no hint of the building site horrors that are often a part of the “Spanish Hotel Holiday”. The whole scheme is being developed in a tasteful and considerate way, and will, no doubt, benefit many more ” less -than-able” holiday makers, as time progresses.

The place where it is situated, is only a short journey from the centre of Benidorm, and therefore can offer all that a major coastal town can provide for the person that enjoys the hustle and bustle of a busy place. But the peace and quiet that is accompanied by beautiful scenery is bound to tempt people to relax and chill out, in very comfortable surroundings.

There are two swimming pools both accessible for anyone. Where else could you relax by the poolside, or cool off in the water, with such a wonderful view of the hills and mountains that stretch into the distance. To this end, there is a useful hoist at the poolside, to allow a gentle descent into the water for those unable to enter the pool under their own steam.

Whilst the accommodation is on a room only basis, the hosts are now able to offer breakfast and evening meals for guests that wish to partake.  All that is required is that Marianne needs to know in advance, when you would wish to eat, so that fresh supplies can be bought in to cater for your meals. I would add that the place is, understandably, becoming popular, so last minute bookings may not always be available. Now I have become a representative for them to help others enjoy what we have found.  If I can be of any assistance to anyone needing to know more, I can be contacted on telephone at 01234 – 266981, or by E-mail; ray.burton5@ntlworld.com.

DHI Comment :- There is a link to La Sonrisa's website on our Links Page.

 

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Wern Bach

 

(Posted by Trevor Mytton, September 2006)

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Wern Bach is a small working farm about 8 miles from the North Wales coast, and its house boasts one of the few ceiling-track hoists currently available. I decided to try it out for 4 days along with my wife.

Please bear in mind that I use an electric tilt-in-space wheelchair and so found some things more difficult than a manual wheelchair user would. In my opinion, this B+B would be superb for the more agile self–propelled user.

The property is situated in its own lane and is accessed by a ramp through the front door. However, the doors remain standard width throughout the building and are wide enough for most users. The ground-floor bedroom has twin beds and the hoist will go directly from the bed to the Clos-o-mat automatic toilet in the en-suite bathroom (It is advisable that hoist users bring their own slings). In addition, there is a wheel-in shower cubicle with shower chair (which I could NOT use because there was no lateral support [i.e. armrests]) I could not get close enough to use the hand basin either, because my footrests came in touch with a ledge that concealed the plumbing, but this could be overcome by detaching the footrests on a manual chair.

The bedroom also had a TV and tea/coffee making facilities and was tastefully decorated throughout. There was also a lounge where guests could relax and watch a wide-screen TV with SKY and DVD player. The full English breakfasts were out of this world, although a choice of other breakfast foods were available too.The host is very friendly and helpful and is always willing to take on board any suggestions that wheelchair users have in order to make their stay even more comfortable. Our stay at Wern Bach was indeed that, and represents very good value for money! She has a good knowledge of the area with lots of ideas on places to visit. I would have no problem in recommending this facility to any manual wheelchair user.

The website address is: www.disabled-holidays-wales.co.uk

DHI Comment :- This property features on our ceiling hoist fact sheet that can be downloaded from the publications page.

 

 

 

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