Everyone loves a day out whether it’s a trip to a nature park, a walk through the woods or to a museum in the city. For most people, this is a simple thing to do that doesn’t involve much planning other than looking into the cost and location. However, there is much more planning involved to ensure you have an enjoyable day out if you have a disability. The following are some of my tips on how to plan an accessible day out.
1. Where to go
The first thing you need to do is decide where you want to go. There are great websites such as Euan’s Guide with lots of reviews on accessible places to go and things to do. This provides a host of ideas, making it a great starting point for planning an accessible day out. I enjoy reading reviews by people with disabilities as it helps build a picture of the accessible facilities and services available. You can then decide whether or not it will meet your needs. The Rough Guide to Accessible Britain is another source of great ideas for accessible days out.
2. How accessible is it?
Using dedicated websites like Euan’s Guide will ensure you find great accessible days out. It covers everything from transport and parking, access, toilets, and staff. However, if you choose to do general google searches for things to do in your local area, it’s important to do your research. You can call or check the website of the place you want to visit for more information. Most should now have a dedicated page on their website detailing accessibility information on things such as guide and assistance dogs, wheelchair access, accessible toilets, audio and descriptive facilities, BSL interpretation, blue badge parking etc.
3. Travel and transport
You’ve chosen where to go for your accessible day out, but how do you get there? Is it only accessible by car or can you get there by public transport? If you’re going by public transport it may be necessary to plan your journey ensuring each stop and bus/train station is accessible. Book any assistance if required especially if travelling by train and you require assistance on/off the train as you may need to pre-book assistance up to 24hrs beforehand, particularly unmanned stations). These are important things to think about to ensure your day out is as enjoyable and stress-free as possible. After all finding yourself stranded at a train station isn’t much fun.
4. Planning ahead
Planning your accessible day out doesn’t just involve choosing where to go or how to get there. It also involves planning ahead for other eventualities.
Things to reconsider:
- If you have limited mobility you may benefit from hiring mobility aids such as a wheelchair from the place you are visiting. Enquire beforehand that there are facilities for hiring wheelchairs if needed.
- Accessible toilets are extremely important for people with disabilities. Some accessible toilets just aren’t big enough and in these cases, changing places are required. Changing places have more space, an adult-sized changing bench, and hoist). Check with the place you’re visiting if they have changing places or check on the changing place’s website.
- Many accessible toilets are part of the National Key Scheme (NKS) which means they can only be used by people with a Radar NKS key. I’d highly recommend getting a key to allow you easy access to these toilets when needed. Looking for a member of staff to help can be frustrating and time-consuming, which isn’t ideal if you’re in a rush to use the toilet. It can also feel like asking for permission to use the toilet, which I personally don’t like.
- Most attractions offer concessions for people with disabilities and carers. Checking with them beforehand will ensure you take the appropriate proof of disability that’s needed to be eligible for the discounted prices or free admission. This could be particularly important for people with invisible disabilities. Proof of disability may include a copy of a benefit award letter – Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Carers’ Allowance. Disabled Blue Badge and Access Card may also be sufficient enough.
These are some of the things I do when planning an accessible day out. Hopefully, these tips will help you have an enjoyable, hassle-free and accessible day out with friends and family.
What are your tips on how to plan an accessible day out?