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Accessible Holidays with Calvert Kielder – Bradbury Chalet Review

I’m always on the lookout for wheelchair accessible holidays within the UK, so when I discovered the fantastic Calvert Kielder I knew I had to make a booking.

Calvert Kielder was created in 1976 for people with disabilities to enjoy a range of outdoor activities that were fun as well as accessible. Calvert Trust has grown so much that it now boasts three centres; Exmoor, Kielder, and Lake District. There is something for everyone, including activity drop-in days, self-catering holidays, respite care, and activity holidays to activity days.

So last month I got to spend my birthday in the middle of the forest at Calvert Kielder, and it was one of the best birthdays I’ve ever had. As our Nephew was coming along with us on this trip, we didn’t want to book somewhere that involved a long drive, so Kielder was the perfect choice due to its short two and half hour drive from home.

Arriving at Calvert Kielder

Calvert Kielder is set amongst Kielder Water and Forest Park, so you can imagine how beautiful it is. Trees and water for as far as your eye can see.

Accessible Holidays with Calvert Trust Kielder Calvert Trust Kielder Reception Centre

We arrived around 3.30pm and headed for the reception to check in. The reception desk has a lowered section for wheelchair users, so this made it easier when I was speaking to the staff.

Even though check-in is at 4pm we were given our key and allowed to head off to our chalet. We were also given an information pack full of menus, activities, local information, and more.

Calvert Trust Kielder Forest

It was freezing outside, so we were glad to be able to get to our lodge early, get dinner, and enjoy the rest of our night. Our lodge was located a short drive or walk from the reception centre.

The Bradbury Chalet

Our home for the next three nights was the stylish Bradbury Chalet, which we all fell in love with as soon as we stepped inside. Even from the outside, we could tell we were in for an amazing time.

Accessible Holidays with Calvert Trust Kielder The Bradbury Chalet

With the car parked under the carport, my partner and sister began to unload the umpteen bags (bearing in mind we were only there for 3 nights) while my nephew and I went inside to get out of the cold and have a look around.

Accessible Holidays with Calvert Trust Kielder The Bradbury Chalet telescope view

The chalet felt warm and welcoming despite the icy temperature outside. The first thing my nephew spotted was the telescope sitting in the living area, facing out onto the beautiful forest view.

The view could be seen from the open-plan living, kitchen, and dining area through the bi-fold patio doors, which opened onto the private terrace.

Living area of The Bradbury

I loved the open-plan layout as there was so much space to move around, and I didn’t feel restricted as to where I could go in my wheelchair. It was perfect!

Accessible Holidays with Calvert Trust Kielder The Bradbury Chalet living area

The living area had a large flat-screen TV with Freesat/DVD, a comfortable sofa and armchairs (I even parked my bottom on one of these), and a range of books and board games.

Accessible Holidays with Calvert Trust Kielder The Bradbury Chalet kitchen

The kitchen was one of my favourite areas (even though I don’t can’t cook). I loved the modern look with the pop of colour in the cabinets. The open-plan kitchen made it easier to observe my meals being prepared for me (it’s a hard life I lead, haha). The kitchen had state-of-the-art appliances and gadgets. The cabinets were easy to slide open, and there was a pull-out pantry too.

Accessible Holidays with Calvert Trust Kielder The Bradbury shower chair

The wide hallway separates the living and kitchen areas from the bedrooms. There were two bedrooms and two bathrooms, as well as two cupboards, one of which stored a shower chair.

Master Bedroom Suite

My room was the master bedroom suite with a king-size bed and ensuite bathroom. The bed was comfortable and had the most luxurious bedding to keep me warm during cold nights.

Calvert Trust Kielder The Bradbury master bedroom suiteCalvert Trust Kielder The Bradbury master bedroom suite discreet overhead hoist

You’d never know that this bedroom has an overhead hoist for disabled guests, as it’s fitted discreetly inside the units surrounding the bed. I thought this was a great feature to save space and something I’d never seen before.

Space at each side of the bed for wheelchair transfers and big button telephone

There were mirror wardrobes on one side of the bed and plenty of space on the side with the hoist. This meant there was enough space to park your wheelchair either for manual transfers or when using the overhead hoist.

A telephone with big buttons was placed beside the bed, which is ideal for people who may struggle with regular telephones.

Master Ensuite Bathroom

The master ensuite bathroom was another favourite and one of the coolest rooms within the chalet. It was a huge hit for us all, especially for my nephew.

The bradbury master ensuite bathroomColour changing lights control

One of the features that my nephew loved was the colour-changing lights, which could be adjusted from either inside the shower, next to the bath or at the bathroom door. He had a great time changing the lights to whatever colour he wanted, but orange was his favourite (this boy loves the colour orange).

The bradbury shower and steam room with mosaic seat

The shower and steam room had a lovely mosaic seat, but if you prefer you can also use the shower chair instead as there was enough room for it. The shower controls were positioned within reach and there were chrome grab bars for support.

The bradbury jetspa bath and TV

The jet spa whirlpool bath was massive and had a TV built into the wall with a waterproof TV remote. There is no hoist or bath riser to help you in and out of the bath, but if you can manage independently you may find the wide ledge around the bath helpful to sit on while lowering yourself in and out.

The Bradbury master ensuite accessible toilet

The toilet was opposite the bath, but there was lots of space for manoeuvring my wheelchair. The position of the toilet allows for left-hand wheelchair transfers and there is enough space for the use of a portable hoist. Chrome grab bars were on each side of the toilet for extra support.

The Bradbury master ensuite accessible sink

The roll-under sink was perfect as it was a good height and size, which meant I was able to wash without any difficulty. The sink had hand towel hangers built-in so it was easy to wash my hands etc. without having to reach too far for a towel.

Twin bedroom and second accessible bathroom

The second bedroom has twin beds that can be joined to make a double bed. This is where my sister and nephew slept. I found this bedroom to be a lot smaller and there wasn’t much space for a wheelchair to move around. A flat-screen TV was wall-mounted opposite the beds.

There was a second toilet in the hallway, which was also smaller than the master bathroom, but there was still enough space for my wheelchair. It had a pedestal sink, walk-in shower and toilet. Grab bars at the toilet and inside the shower. The colour-changing lights are also featured in this room.

The Private Patio Terrace and Hot Tub

The Bradbury has a lovely private patio terrace with garden furniture, a BBQ grill and a hot tub. Everything you’d need for a fun, relaxing time with friends and family.

The Bradbury Patio Terrace and Hot Tub - exterior

What I loved the most about the patio terrace was that it was completely private and even though there was a chalet on either side of ours, it was difficult to actually see them which was down to the stone wall shielding us. This provided privacy for the hot tub and gave a true sense of being secluded in the forest.

View from The Bradbury at Calvert Trust Kielder

The view was absolutely stunning. It was lovely to wake up in the morning and look out at the frost-covered trees. It gave the feeling that Christmas was just around the corner.

The Bradbury Patio Terrace

It would be lovely in all seasons, but I would love to experience a stay in this lodge during the summer months when the weather is warmer and we could enjoy a few BBQs in the sun.

Sparklers and Stargazing

The patio is well-lit at night with spotlights and a nitecrete™ illuminated path, which glows in the dark. We found this helpful when we were outside star gazing, as Kielder Forest has some of the darkest skies in Europe. It’s a truly magical place to see the stars in all their glistening glory.

As we were celebrating my birthday at the chalet we decided to take a pile of sparklers to have some fun with on the night of my birthday and even though it was -4 outside we had a great time.

On-site Restaurant

There is no need to leave the site during your time at Calvert Kielder if you don’t want to. As our holiday was self-catering we made sure we had enough food and drink to last the duration of our stay. However, we did order takeaway food from the site’s very own restaurant/dining room on our second night, which was my birthday.

Takeaway food from Calvert Trust Kielder Dining Room

All we had to do was choose what we wanted from the menu and call the number provided in the information pack. All orders must be placed by 4pm and collected by 5.30pm.

Blowing out the candles

The food was really good and although we were all stuffed, we made sure we had room for the lovely gluten-free birthday cake my sister made for me. She did so well making it and it tasted delicious.

Telephone and music system

The Bradbury was full of the latest technology and mod-cons. The telephone, radio/music system, colour-changing lights, iPod docking station, and remote-controlled blinds were some of the featured gadgets within the lodge.

Final Thoughts on Calvert Kielder

The Bradbury Chalet at Calvert Kielder was the perfect choice for our accessible holiday to the Northumberland Forest. It exceeded our expectations and left us wanting to return again (and very soon). Not only was The Bradbury stylish it was also accessible. This was a refreshing experience as all too often accessible lodges can seem very hospital-like, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Calvert Kielder has got it all worked out from the range of accessible chalets to the accessible outdoor activities. I even got to try a few of the outdoor activities during my time there. I have a post detailing my adventures trying Calvert Kielder activities.

You might also enjoy

Calvert Kielder Straker Chalet Review

Accessible Activities with Calvert Kielder

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Meet Emma

Hello I’m Emma. My mission is to show you the possibilities of accessible travel through my travel guides, tips and reviews. I also share personal stories, live event reviews and more.

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4 Responses

  1. Wow it looks lovely. We stayed with Calvert Trust a few years ago but our lodge wasn’t as modern as this. I love the activities available on site too from archery to swimming x

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