It’s summertime, and with the glimmers of sunlight breaking through the seemingly permanent layer of cloud that seems to cover these great isles, we get the intense desire to break free of our routines and escape to a change of scenery. If you’ve got nothing planned yet, we’ve got some accessible summer holiday suggestions that will get you out of your four walls and into something a little different.
By Katie Campbell
What: Short break in Scotland’s capital
Price: £240 per night
During August, the entire world looks to Edinburgh as it becomes the arts capital of the world. If you love comedy, drama, performance and dance, you’ll love the Fringe. Stay in a stunning apartment in Trinity, which is located not ten minutes from the city centre and easily reached via Edinburgh’s ultra-reliable fleet of Lothian Buses. Outwith August, there’s still loads to see in Scotland’s capital, including the array of historic architecture in the Old and New Towns, the famed Royal Mile on the journey up to Edinburgh Castle, or a spooky tour to meet one of the city’s many ghosts. This apartment has a whole host of accessibility options available for those who choose to stay there, including grab rails, ground floor facilities, an electric bed, accessible bathroom, and hoists.
What: A weekend in Germany’s second city
Price: Available upon request
This stunning hotel, located in the dynamic northern German city of Hamburg, has accessibility at the forefront of its mind and in all aspects of its being. The hotel lists incredibly detailed information for those visiting, much like the old German cliché of over-preparedness, so no guest will go without. Hamburg is Europe’s third largest port, and the city is dripping in history, through its period as a sovereign state before the unification of Germany in 1871, and its destruction and rebuilding due not only to the bombing raids of World War II, but the infamous Great Fire of Hamburg in 1842 and the North Sea flood of 1962. The city is home to more than 40 theatres, 60 museums and 100 music venues, meaning while on your summer holiday you’ll never be far from a source of German culture.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
What: Seven nights at one of Disney’s premier holiday locations
Price: From £1878
You may be surprised to learn that the Happiest Place on Earth is also one of the most accessible for family holidays. Every little kid dreams of getting to spend time in Disney World, and there’s no reason that families who live with disability can’t fulfil this dream, too. The park offers a huge number of adjustments for a wide variety of impairments, meaning that most families will be able to organise their dream Disney holiday with accessibility in mind. Animal Kingdom Lodge is the most highly-rated of all Disney hotels, and features an 11,000ft2 pool, along with a huge host of exotic animals who live alongside guests and roam the grounds of the African-safari inspired hotel, which is based on a kraal – the Afrikaans word for a group of village huts, which is typically surrounded by a fence.
What: A seaside holiday in one of the camp’s three locations
Price: Available upon request
Take a summer holiday at one of the three Butlin’s camps in the UK, with resorts open in Bognor Regis, Minehead and Skegness for holidays which can be enjoyed by the whole family. Butlins offer a whole host of accessibility options for families, meaning holidays at the camp can be created around the guests’ accessibility requirements. Adapted rooms are available, and scooters, wheelchair and oxygen hire can be arranged in advance. Each Butlin’s resort features a Splash Waterworld, a Skyline Pavilion and a fairground, so kids and big kids alike can enjoy a splash around in the waterpark, entertainment from the Redcoats and a whole host of fun fairground rides and activities. Each resort has their own Special Needs Co-Ordinators to ensure your fun-filled holiday goes off without a hitch.
What: A 12-day tour of the Kruger Safari and Cape Town
This tailor-made tour shows the best that South Africa has to offer, including its famed wild safari and its oldest city, affectionately called the Mother City by locals. The safari portion of the trip allows you to spend time hanging out with incredible wild animals up close, and allows you to pet a wild cheetah as well as befriend Jessica the Hippopotamus. After you’ve had your fill of nature, you’ll be able to head back to the camp to enjoy a traditional boma dinner, usually consisting of delicious barbequed meat which is enjoyed under the glittering night sky. Both the New York Times and Daily Telegraph have called Cape Town the best place in the world to visit, and holiday-goers will enjoy the combination of culture, heritage points like Robben Island, and wildlife on offer to them in the heart of the city.
What: Tailor-made 11-day tour of Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto
Price: From £3,330
Venture out of your comfort zone for your summer holiday and head east to enjoy everything that Japan has to offer, from the sprawling megalopolis of Tokyo to the bowing deer of Nara Park in Osaka and the traditional Shinto and Buddhist temples in Kyoto. The decision to hold the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo has meant a rapid and radical shift towards inclusion for both Japan and its people, so getting around one of the most jam-packed and interesting countries on Earth will now be significantly easier. This tour, operated and organised by Responsible Travel, is catered towards wheelchair users, and is designed to be accessible in every way for them, including pre-planned activities and hotels. It’s never been easier to explore the vibrant and interesting culture, the incredible history and the mind-blowing food of Japan. Please don’t be afraid to try the sushi – it’s really good!
What: Seven nights in a luxury beach resort
Price: From £1,355
When you think of Heaven on Earth, the picture that springs to mind is likely to look an awful lot like the Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort in Sri Lanka. It’s located deep inside a secluded rocky outcrop, offering your own private slice of paradise from which to enjoy everything the country has to offer. If you’re looking for a place to relax and get away from everything, look no further than here. The hotel offers a romantic getaway for couples too, offering everything from a spa, tennis and gym equipment, to cookery classes and wine tasting. The hotel offers Premier Beach Access rooms to disabled guests, which have been adapted to allow for easy access to those with a variety of impairments and wheelchair users. There’s also wheelchair access to the terrace, meaning no-one has to miss out on the stunning views.
What: Seven days on a stunning Greek island
Price: From £2,000
Stay for a week on the glorious Ionian island of Ithaca, deemed by the great Greek poet Homer to be the home of the legendary king Odysseus (or Ulysses if you’re from the Latin school), nestled off country’s western coast. This summer holiday is about taking everything at your own pace. Enjoy lazy strolls around the island, lounge beside the pool, enjoy the responsibly sourced food and drink, and take in nature, all at your own pace. Some reviewers have said it can be a challenge to get to the traditional Greek house, but once you get there, all the effort is entirely worth it. Owners Marilyn and Spero are there to help accommodate your every need as you unwind in the jasmine-scented garden or take a swim in the crystal-clear ocean by the white sand beach.
(Originally appeared in the Jun/Jul 19 issue of PosAbility)