As we head into the summer months and the weather starts to improve, people up and down the UK will begin to start thinking about taking a break for a few days, getting out and about and visiting new places.
With overseas travel restrictions introduced due to the Coronavirus pandemic, it’s likely that the number of ‘staycations’ will increase this year, as people remain on these shores and experience all the wonderful sights the UK has to offer.
But what about those with a disability? There are approximately 1.2 million wheelchair users in the UK – that’s around one in every 55 people. There are plenty of ways to travel on public transport such as trains and buses, as well as privately thanks to cars and other vehicles from the likes of Allied Mobility, but which are the most wheelchair-friendly cities, and what can you do there?
For a little bit of everything, why not head to the Northern Irish capital. History buffs can learn about the city’s famous shipbuilding heritage in the Titanic Quarter, which has plenty of surfaced paths. There is a museum dedicated to the world’s most famous vessel, where level access to the entrances and lifts inside make for easy mobility. Alternatively, if you want to soak up some of the nightlife, the Cathedral Quarter has plenty of bars and restaurants as well as dropped curbs and tactile paving.
A recent study found Liverpool to be the most wheelchair-friendly city, with 2.9 accessible taxis per 1,000 people. Famous for its musical roots, it represents the birthplace of The Beatles, and you can learn all about the fab four aided by plenty of features including lifts, assistance dogs and sign language. The Beatles Story is a place where all music fans can come together to revel in the tales of the world’s most iconic band.
The Welsh capital has developed into a teeming, multi-cultural metropolis over recent years, and you can get a great feel for the city via a wheelchair-accessible Aquabus. On dry land, you might be interested to check out the Wales Millennium Centre, the Welsh Assembly Building or the National Museum, which offers free admission, disabled parking and a wheelchair loan scheme.
If it’s character and charm you’re seeking, look no further than this glorious corner of Norfolk. For a spot of culture, why not take in a show at the fully accessible Theatre Royal or the Norwich Playhouse. Or, the Sainsbury Centre offers a wide range of sculptures, exhibitions and displays – perfect for fans of the visual arts, while there is disabled parking close to the building and the ability to loan a manual wheelchair.
For a real melting pot of culture, architecture, history, shopping and nightlife, it’s hard to top Scotland’s largest city. The Kelvingrove Art Gallery offers an abundance of amenities for disabled people. If retail therapy is more your thing, then the St Enoch Centre is fully accessible for wheelchair users, with lifts to all mall and car park levels as well as sensory maps and a Quiet & Safe Space for those with learning difficulties.