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10 Accessible Winter Activities That Aren’t Sports-related but Still Super Fun!

I have never embraced the cold weather, despite the fact that I have always lived in Scotland, which is notorious for being chilly for most of the year. Winters are especially difficult, and being cold is my kryptonite, which makes everything more difficult due to having Muscular Dystrophy.

Normally, you can find me at home in hibernation while I wait to emerge in the spring, but these short, cold days and long, dark nights can be difficult. It’s easy to get stuck in a cycle of not wanting to do anything other than stay under a blanket. But this year, I’ve been trying to find ways and activities to help stave off the winter blues when I’m not working.

10 Wheelchair Accessible Winter Activities

Here, I’ve included some of my favourite accessible winter activities as well as a few suggestions of things I’ve done in the past for both indoor and outdoor fun. These are not solely wintertime activities, by any means. Although they can be enjoyed all year round, I’ve discovered that they don’t require much time spent outside in the cold. Please share any tips you may have in the comments section.

1. Have a Bake-off

2020 was the year we were all baking bread. Remember mine and Allan’s failed attempt at making banana bread in this YouTube video? Baking is a great way to spend a cosy day at home. And is there anything better than the smell of home baking?

2. Plan a Future Holiday

The winter months can feel like they are never going to end, but I try and use that time to think ahead to spring and summer by planning holidays and places to visit on days out. I can’t wait for nature walks and beach days with my family. It feels good to have events to look forward to in the warm weather.

Emma sitting in a beach wheelchair on the beach at the edge of the water. Emma is looking out to the sea smiling.

RELATED: WheelEEZ® Beach Wheelchair Conversion Kit

3. Go See a Show

To escape the cold and immerse yourself in culture, check out a musical, a cinema, or a local theatre show. Stream a performance on YouTube if none are available nearby or you would rather stay at home. If you want to enjoy a day out at the cinema or theatre, check if you are eligible for a free carer/companion ticket. The CEA Card entitles you to one free ticket for a companion to go to the cinema with you. The Access Card is another scheme that makes booking tickets easier if you have a disability of any kind.

Emma sitting a few rows from the front in the wheelchair space.

RELATED: Accessibility In Cinemas: How Wheelchair Accessible Are Cinemas?

4. Go Wheelchair Ice Skating

You can try wheelchair ice skating at any time, not only during Christmas. Give your local ice rink a try. Indoor ice skating might not be as cold as outside ice skating, or maybe that’s just wishful thinking on my part. Wrap up warm and then relax with a hot drink. The first time I tried wheelchair ice skating was at the Edinburgh Christmas Markets. Instead of watching from the sidelines, it felt fantastic to join in with everyone skating around the ice rink. And I never had the fear of falling down.

5. Create a Home Spa Day

Winter calls for a little additional pampering, especially for our skin, which can get dry from the cold weather and the central heating in our homes. Pick up some spa treats, then unwind with a moisturising face mask, candles, and soothing music. I have also previously shared my 8 easy self care tips to relieve muscle fatigue for times when I’m feeling rundown and experiencing muscle fatigue and pain.

Emma is sitting up in bed wearing green satin pj top with flamingoes. Emma is looking out the large ceiling to floor window overlooking the city.

RELATED: 8 Easy Self Care Tips to Relieve Muscle Fatigue

6. Visit Museums and Galleries

Visit a local museum to learn something new. It’s a perfect winter activity to spend a few hours looking through the galleries and engaging with the interactive exhibits. You can get even more out of the experience by taking advantage of the free tours and workshops that some museums offer. Don’t forget to stop by the museum café for a nice drink and a snack.

Emma sat in her wheelchair inside The Victoria Gallery at The McManus

7. Watch a Movie Marathon

There are some days when nothing but TV will do. Put on your pyjamas, grab some snacks, and get cosy for a movie marathon. Choose your movie marathon based on a topic, genre, or your favourite actor. Invite your friends or family over and turn it into an event. The best part of that is that you won’t have to worry about accessibility because you’ll be comfortable in your own home.

8. Visit your Favourite Cafe

We recently stopped for lunch at one of our favourite cafés (Cafe Aina) before going to the cinema. Despite the fact that winter days with blue skies may also be the coldest, being inside the cosy café was even more welcoming. We ate an excellent Greek-inspired lunch at a window table while watching passersby coming and going on the historic Stirling Street. The image below was taken when we first went to the cafe a few years ago, and it has remained a favourite ever since.

Emma sitting at a table with a burger and huge portion of fries on the plate. Emma is wearing a purple cardigan and a purple blouse.

9. Get Crafting

Any type of arts and crafts activity will keep your hands and mind occupied. I recently learned how to cross stitch and have amazed myself with how much I enjoy it. Another thing I like to do is paint with watercolours. Now is the perfect time to knit yourself some winter woollies if you want to give knitting or crocheting a try. Or perhaps there’s another hobby you’ve wanted to try for a long time.

A close up of Emma's hands resting on a cross stitch pattern.

10. Take a Road Trip

Whenever we want to get out of the house for a few hours, we like to take a mini road trip and enjoy the many scenic drives that Scotland has to offer. The Three Lochs Drive, which offers a peaceful escape amidst stunning landscapes, is one of our favourites. If you bring some snacks, a flask of hot tea, and a blanket, you can keep warm and cosy in the car.

Ford Tourneo WAV parked up on the side of the road. There is a loch and mountains behind the car.

But if you do want to try an accessible winter sport activity…

Go Adaptive Skiing

My first experience with accessible sports as a wheelchair user was adaptive skiing with Disability Snowsports UK. And I’d advise anyone who wants to try it to do so. Despite my weak upper body core and limited strength, I was able to manoeuvre the sit-ski by making little head movements. It was a great experience to go down the slope multiple times with my excellent ski instructor by my side.

I hope you found this post helpful! Feel free to share any of your own tips and favourite accessible winter activities in the comments.

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A full body side profile shot of Emma sat in her power wheelchair with the giant Kelpies behind her. Emma is wearing a wooly hat and a puffer jacket. Text in the centre reads "10 Accessible Winter Activities to do indoors or outside".

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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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2 Responses

  1. Brilliant ideas.
    A few years back now Nathan and Cerys went ice skating around the Tower of London – such an experience, and Cerys loves a home spa day xx

    1. Ice skating around the Tower of London sounds fantastic! What an experience that must have been. I don’t blame Cerys for loving a home spa day…I could be doing with one myself right now 🙂

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