All too often, England is divided into north and south, leaving vast areas overlooked and undiscovered. A trip to the east of England, however, will take you on a journey of discovery, including
The east of England includes parts of Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Lincolnshire, Suffolk and Norfolk as well as Cambridgeshire and even Essex. It’s a vast area, meaning that this feature is a mere introduction. As a general rule though, the east of England is somewhat quieter than other regions and has an unchallenging ‘flat’ landscape – which in many cases, can making touring that little bit easier.
Having said that the east of England, and especially Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk is blessed with what’s known as the ‘
The magnificent Norman cathedral sits above the modern part of the city, at the top of the aptly named, ‘Steep Hill’. Best advice is to drive to the top to enjoy the old city, including the cathedral (although the streets are quite narrow and parking is pretty limited).
The cathedral is one of England’s finest buildings, crammed with exquisite architectural features, stained glass – and of course, the tiny Lincoln Imp – frozen in myth on the Angel Choir frieze. The entire ground floor is accessible by wheelchair with the exception of three of the side chapels.
There is a tactile model of the building and touch exhibition as well as an audio guide and Braille descriptions (and accessible toilet facilities).
National Space Centre
The National Space Centre presents six interactive galleries, the UK’s largest planetarium, and the iconic 42m high Rocket Tower. The museum collection
features startling artefacts relating to Space and astronomy such as vintage and modern instruments, spacesuits and even full-size space travel hardware.
The centre has clearly worked hard to make sure that displays are accessible and that appropriate facilities are available for all. For instance, the Sir Patrick Moore Planetarium has an induction loop and includes space for six wheelchairs (wheelchairs are available or loan). Seating is available
throughout the galleries, large print information is available on request and most audio exhibits are subtitled – and touch tours are available with prior booking. www.spacecentre.co.uk
North Norfolk Coastal Path
The east of England also has a rugged side, as illustrated by the coastal path of north Norfolk which stretches the 45 miles between Hunstanton and Cromer. Naturally, you don’t have to take on the whole distance, with ‘bit-marching’ popular. The Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership has specific easy access routes available on their website which
can be downloaded, visit:
IWM Duxford, Cambridgeshire
The Imperial War Museum
The Imperial War Museum has a good reputation for access and facilities at all of their museum sites but the vast space available at Duxford has enabled them to put in plenty of disabled toilets in what is an entirely wheelchair accessible
Visitors with visual impairments are invited to touch the aircraft. Audio guides are available but need to be pre-booked (see contact details below).
All audiovisual exhibits have subtitles and support hearing loops, and assistance animals are welcome.
Tel: 01223 499314
Where to stay…
The Lin Berwick Trust runs a self-catering cottage in Norfolk.
Tel: 01787 372343
Wicken Fen Nature Reserve, Cambridgeshire
Visitors to Wicken Fen can get up close to more than 8,000 species of wildlife, including 88 different species of snails, slugs and bivalve shellfish, not to mention birds such as the often illusive bitterns and marsh harriers.
This huge diversity makes it one of the most important wetlands in Europe – as well as being one of the oldest – based on areas where historic management for sedge-cutting and peat-digging has taken place for centuries.
The reserve is navigated via a raised boardwalk, ideal for wheelchair users, although some care needs to be taken if the weather is wet since it can become a bit slippery. There’s a choice of a half-mile stroll or a more demanding
There are other paths as well but these can be challenging due to tree roots and boggy patches and some disabled people (and wheelchair users) are likely to need some assistance. It’s also a great place to bring your dog, but they must be kept on a lead.
Wheelchair accessible hides are dotted along the way and Braille and large print information