Travelling doesn’t necessarily have to involve jumping on a plane and jetting off to a foreign country. Sometimes staying close to home can be just as exciting and exactly what’s needed to recharge those batteries and clear the mind. That’s exactly what we did when myself, partner, Mother-in-law and Toby the dog were invited along for a fantastic weekend stay at The Rings, a luxury and accessible holiday cottage in Fife, Scotland.
Taking the Scenic Route
The smell of snow was in the air as we made our way across the Forth Road Bridge. Views of the new Queensferry crossing dominating the landscape. We headed ever higher up the A92 towards Fife where we’d be spending two glorious nights at The Rings. Before reaching our destination we made a brief pit stop for our weekend supplies. These proved to be crucial…as we were in for a cold and snowy weekend.
Arriving at The Rings
As we approached the farmland in which The Rings is set in, it was clear to see why this accessible holiday cottage is the perfect getaway from the everyday stresses and strains of daily life. It’s difficult to describe how beautiful the setting and The Rings itself is. We all couldn’t wait to get inside and have a look around our home for the next few days.
Before heading inside we admired the grass-covered roof and as big fans of Grand Designs, The Rings was reminiscent of an episode of the TV show.
We parked our car at one of the entrances (yes, more than one entrance, but I’ll explain why later). The driveway is covered in gravel and as a wheelchair user that usually isn’t a perfect match, but the owners of The Rings have come up with a great solution to prevent our wheelchairs from getting stuck in the gravel. The gravel sits in a tray so it doesn’t move or sink when wheelchairs drive across. This is something I’ve never seen before and it is such a unique and thoughtful touch. Wooden decking surrounds the entire cottage, which provides a flat accessible surface.
Accessible Holiday Cottage
The Rings is an accessible holiday cottage with a unique set-up. Accommodating up to 16 people in 8 bedrooms, each with its own ensuite bathroom and 2 living/kitchen/dining areas. What makes The Rings unique is how it can be either one large cottage for a family or group of friends or separate sections/rooms for individual families or couples.
This is achieved by a movable wall separating the two living areas (as you can see in the photo above). So no matter how big or small your family is, whether you are going away with a group of friends or as a couple, you’ll be able to create your own setup to suit your needs.
We were the only guests during our stay so we were lucky to have the whole cottage to ourselves. This was great as we got to see the entire cottage, which made us understand and appreciate its uniqueness even more.
The wide accessible hallway ran through the middle of the cottage leading off to the accessible bedrooms and studios. The hallway and bedroom doors were all lockable so even if there are other guests staying in the cottage you can still maintain your own privacy.
All eight bedrooms were beautiful and individually decorated with names such as Topaz, Garnet, Ruby etc. They all have their own entrances via French doors, which is handy and convenient when there are other guests staying in the cottage. You will be able to come and go as you please without having to go through the main entrance.
Having the run of the whole cottage made the decision of where to sleep much harder (especially for an indecisive person like myself), but we eventually decided on Onyx and my Mother-in-law choose Sapphire.
The Onyx is a spacious bedroom with an ensuite bathroom (wetroom shower and bath) and French doors leading outside onto the decking. The comfortable twin beds provided clearance underneath for portable hoists if required. However, there is also a ceiling track above the bed leading into the bathroom. If you require the use of the hoist motor during your stay make sure you request it during the booking process.
Touch-sensitive lamps on the bedside cabinets allowed us to choose how much light we wanted whether soft or bright. The main lighting is operated by a dimmer switch, which is perfect for relaxing at night.
One of my favourite features in each room is the dressing table/desk area. Other than the bathroom, this is an important feature in any accommodation I stay away from home. It’s important that I have somewhere I’m able to comfortably do my hair and makeup, which I can easily access and roll under without banging my knees. This dressing table was perfect. The white wire drawers underneath the dressing table are helpful to people with dementia as it helps them to be able to easily see what is in each drawer.
There is even a clothes rail in all the rooms that can be pulled down to make it easier for wheelchair users and to prevent people from stretching. How cool is that?
The ensuite bathroom in our room (onyx) has both a wetroom shower and bath. The toilet had space on the left-hand side for wheelchair transfers. Although there aren’t any fixed wall-mounted grab rails on each side of the toilet, there is a range of movable grab rails available that may suit your requirement. Please speak to the owners if you have any questions or need information on the grab rails.
Personally, I need wall-mounted grab rails that can pull up and down. I need wall-mounted grab rails for stability, balance and to feel secure. Therefore the moveable grab rails did not work for me.
It was interesting to discover that the mosaic wall tiles behind the toilet also help people with dementia due to the contrasting colours.
The bathroom sink was similar to the dressing table in that it was a good height for my wheelchair to roll underneath with banging my knees. A range of luxury toiletries was also provided, which is always nice when travelling especially if you want to pack light or have just forgotten to take our own.
I did find it tricky to navigate in the narrow width under the sink as it was receded into the corner of the wall. The basin itself was also difficult to reach as it was raised several inches from the worktop meaning I couldn’t lift my arms up and over the basin independently.
Spa bath & Electric Bath Seat
There is also a fantastic spa bath with an electric bath seat in the lovely Opal room. I’ve never had a bath in about 20 years as they are typically not very accessible to people with physical disabilities. However, when I saw the bath seat I knew I had to try it out.
I can honestly say it was the best bath I’ve ever had. The bath seat rotated out of the bath to make transferring easier. The leg support was good and kept my legs in a comfortable position the whole time. Once I was seated I then used the controller to rotate and lower myself into my hot bubble bath. It was pure bliss. The bubbles intensified when I turned on the jets. It was amazing to be able to sit in the bath fully supported by the seat and just relax.
After my pamper session the bath seat raised me out of the bath and rotated 90 degrees. Sitting comfortably with my legs still supported my boyfriend was able to dry my legs etc. He found the raised height of the bath seat much easier and saved him from having to bend and hurt his back.
This ensuite bathroom also has a shower and a ceiling track from the bedroom to the bathroom. The Rings have a great selection of equipment for use during your stay including different types of shower chairs. The shower chair pictured above is the one I used as it is similar to what I have at home.
Lounge & Kitchen Area
We were lucky to have access to both Henderson and Machray living/kitchen and dining areas during our stay. We mainly used Henderson and it was the perfect place to gather as a family throughout the day and for relaxing at night watching movies on the large wall-mounted TV. The TV has Netflix so we signed into our account and enjoyed our movie nights.
I also played my first ever game of monopoly at The Rings. Can you believe I’ve never played monopoly before? I’m happy to say I won and it wasn’t beginners luck. I’m just a fantastic property owner! I never knew Monopoly was so much fun.
The Henderson kitchen has a great rise and fall sink, so there is no excuse for not washing the dishes or making the next round of teas. Although I can’t physically manage any of those chores, I still wanted to try out the lowered sink to see what it’s like for wheelchair users. It’s great to have this available for wheelchair users who have more upper body strength than myself.
Stunning Views & Acres of Land
Both living areas had large ceiling to floor windows looking out onto the acres of farmland and wildlife. The French doors lead onto the decking where you can sit and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to sit out due to how cold and snowy it was. I can imagine it being pure bliss during the summer months while enjoying a BBQ and the warm summer nights. However, we loved watching the snowfall from the comfort and warmth of the lounge.
Later we decided to head outside with Toby to enjoy the winter wonderland. It was lovely! By the end of our stay, we had experienced all fours seasons, which made our stay even more special and unique.
The Rings is a fantastic accessible cottage that is sure to make your next accessible holiday one to remember. The owners, Moira and David are the best hosts you could ask for. They are extremely friendly, welcoming, caring and attentive. The whole weekend was brilliant, but my personal highlight was the electric bath seat as it allowed me to enjoy the best bubble bath I’ve ever had. If you’re in need of a break in a beautiful location and you think the access features I’ve mentioned will suit your needs, then I recommend you consider a stay at The Rings.
*A special thank you to Moira and David at The Rings for hosting us during our stay. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and completely based on my own experience.