There are few better ways to get out and explore the wilder side of the UK’s countryside than by taking a camping trip.
From family getaways with activities for children (of all ages) to adventures with friends, or even romantic breaks, with camping and caravanning, you can do it all.
The idea of going camping or caravanning may seem slightly daunting. As much as anything else, it’s a break away from your comfort zone, and an experience that introduces new sights and obstacles that you may not face in your daily life. However, living with a disability doesn’t mean that you can’t experience and enjoy every aspect of a Great British camping holiday. With a little extra preparation, you could soon be cruising down the most beautiful roads in the UK, enjoying a campsite barbecue, or just relaxing with your family.
Getting creative with your camping style
Very often, when people think of camping, they think of those tiny little tents that struggle to accommodate one person, let alone a whole family. When you’re camping with a disability that affects your mobility, it can really pay to think outside of the box and get creative.
Choosing an alternative accommodation style can make camping much more accessible, giving you freedom to enjoy your camping trip without worries over where you’re staying.
Many camping and caravan sites across the UK now offer alternative accommodation, such as cabins. Spending your holiday in a beautiful rustic cabin, nestled in the countryside certainly has benefits for mobility, but also takes the charm of
camping with your family to a whole new level. Many modern camping cabins are either at ground level or ramp accessible, with full sized doors that are perfect for wheelchair users. Choosing a cabin can give you the freedom to enjoy a bigger space
with many extra facilities, such as wetrooms, interior handrails, lowered units, and much easier access to parking.
The recent trend of ‘Glamping’ has led to the emergence of yurt camping across the UK. The circular canvas tent, normally constructed with a wooden floor, is a completely different take on the classic camping experience and has the added benefit of easier access thanks to the solid flooring. With many of the amenities you’re used to at home, like electricity and real beds, a yurt camping trip is both spacious and glamorous.
If you’re after a slightly more traditional feel to your camping trip then a jumbo tent could be a wonderful choice for you. The bigger floor-space makes the tent much more spacious, and perfectly suitable to fit the whole family. Choosing a tent with full sized doors will make it simpler to traverse with a wheelchair, and the extra space is ideal for raised camping beds for people who have difficulty lowering themselves to the ground.
Adapted motor-homes and caravans
If a campsite isn’t for you, then an adapted motorhome can offer that true taste of a home away from home. With an adapted motorhome or caravan, you have the guarantee that the space is always accessible and you’re not going to get any unpleasant surprises at a hotel or campsite, if their premises aren’t quite as accessible as they’d said they were.
Not only does an adapted motorhome give you the freedom to enjoy a camping holiday on your own terms, but you can use it all year round. Whether you’re visiting friends who don’t have homes that are easily accessible, or you fancy a trip abroad, having peace of mind over your transport and accommodation can make a trip away much easier.
Motorhomes can include ‘drive from’ adaptions for wheelchair users, with specially fitted hand controls. Modern motorhomes can also come with wheelchair lifts, winches, ramps, and specially designed doors for easy access.
Very often, you’ll find that adapted motorhomes have specially adapted furniture that allows for a greater space to be cleared in the middle of the motorhome. These aspects include being able to fold away the cooking and washing facilities, as well as folding sitting and sleeping furniture.
To really increase the comfort level of your motorhome or caravan getaway, you can also opt for a motorhome with wetroom facilities or specialised beds (with ceiling hoists). The best caravan and motorhome adaptation companies will consult with you to design the space and features around your needs.
Accessible camping and caravan parks
There are a large number of accessible campsites around, from the stunning Lake District in Cumbria to those with glorious sea views in Devon, Cornwall or Dorset.
Cofton Country Holidays, Devon
Located in the seaside town of Dawlish, Devon, Cofton Country Holidays has full disabled facilities, with a selection of easily
accessible touring pitches designed for wheelchair users, alternative holiday home accommodation, and wheelchair-friendly
access to onsite dining and leisure facilities. There are onsite entertainment and fishing facilities, as well as toilets and internet access, with some of the best Devonshire scenery just ashort distance away.
Camp Katur, Yorkshire
Camp Katur is an ideal destination for anyone after a truly private glamping experience. The beautifully appointed accommodation has disabled facilities, including disabled toilets in the glamping village and main entrance, and wheelchair access to public areas, the bar, and reception. The site also offers extensive additional amenities like showers and a communal barbecue area.
Park Cliffe Camping and Caravan Estate, Cumbria
With an onsite cafe, internet access, and laundry facilities, this campsite offers a taste of luxury in a rural and beautiful location. The entrance to the amenity block is ramped for easy access, where you’ll find disabled toilets and showering facilities. Multiple taxi services operate in the local area that can make it easy to get out and about, with taxis that can accommodate wheelchair users readily available. The site also features tent pitches for large tents, onsite sleeping pod accommodation, and rentable caravans.
Information on campsites across the UK with filters for campsites with disability access: www.campsites.co.uk
Helpful information on getting started with caravanning and camping holidays: www.freedomtogo.co.uk
Information on pitching sites in the UK, as well as those that allow for jumbo tent pitches: www.pitchup.com
A charitable organisation that hosts weeklong camping experiences for disabled people in the UK: www.woodlarks.org.uk
A vast range of glamping destinations in the UK and abroad with fi lters for disability access: www.goglamping.net
ABLE Magazine’s travel section is sponsored by Post Office Travel Insurance