It won’t be too long until the weather gets a bit brighter and warmer and we begin to think about taking a summer holiday. We’ve put together a few postcard portraits of places offering specific ideas for disabled people.

From Able Magazine #110 (March/April 2014)

At a time when many of us are watching the pennies, holidays might seem like an expense to be avoided. Fortunately, there are plenty of companies offering pretty competitive rates. Even so, finding value for money isn’t just about cost, it’s about what you get in return. Hotels without inclusive facilities are more widespread and to be honest, can often offer a better deal on price. What they can’t give you is the peace of mind that you find when you know you’re in the hands of somebody with both facilities and experience of hosting disabled guests.

Many of the accommodation providers here invite guests to contact them before booking to ensure that they’re able to provide the correct service. Nobody likes a nasty surprise or a disappointment and so things like equipment or access needs can often be discussed and resolved before you arrive.

Being able to relax about the accommodation and facilities enables the disabled tourist to look forward to a few days of proper peace and relaxation.

maisondeslandesMaison des Landes, St.Ouens, Jersey

Jersey makes a great case as a holiday location. It’s not too close but not too far away either and benefits from some of the finest weather in the UK. Maison des Landes has been welcoming disabled guests since the 1960’s and many of them have returned time and again and not just because it’s a specialist provider of holidays for disabled people.

Jersey is a beautiful island and people that don’t drive or (don’t want to drive) would genuinely miss out if they didn’t take at least a bit of time to explore. Collection from the harbour or airport (in a specially adapted minibus) is included in the price and guests can also join daily sight-seeing tours that take in places of interest and Jersey’s renowned beaches. (Evening tours featuring theatre visits or bowling can also be arranged according to demand and availability).

Maison des Landes endeavour to provide everything guests might need including: electric beds to ceiling hoists, as well as wheel-in wet rooms and a large, readily accessible hydrotherapy pool.

Tel: 01534 481683

liveabilityLivability, Llandudno, Wales

The West Shore hotel is located within easy reach of the Snowdonia National Park, Isle of Anglesey and Conwy Castle, ideal for those looking for a mix of heritage and fresh air. Or of course, you might choose to visit the genteel Welsh town of Llandudno in order to promenade along the Victorian peer, visit the contemporary art galleries or unlock the secrets of Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland.

The accessible accommodation at West Shore is very well appointed and includes: electric bed raisers, hoists, grab rails in the toilet and wheel-in showers. There are also options to hire scooters or wheelchairs (and oxygen) enabling part time or full time users to pack lightly and really explore this beautiful region properly.

Tel: 01492 876833

I Need A Holiday Too, La Roche Derrien, France

The town of La Roche Derrien is a place of real character and charm situated in Brittany. It provides a perfectly peaceful village backdrop for a relaxing vacation (although it is also in surprisingly close proximity to the Breton beaches and several other towns and attractions).

I need A Holiday Too is based on the idea that it’s not just disabled people that need a break, but that their carers could do with the same. In fact there are care/support packages available and the hotel can even accept direct payment options.

The accommodation is centred in an old cotton mill, now six contained and accessible apartments. Despite strict French building guidelines, the apartments are all on a single level, giving everyone complete convenience. All of the apartments have tiled floors, wide doors, turning circles, level access showers and raised toilets with grab rails. There are also options for free hire of hoists, pressure mattresses and other equipment.

Discounted rates for ferry crossings with Brittany Ferries can be arranged.

Tel: 0033 296 915597

Screen Shot 2014-02-14 at 10.00.28Crathie Holidays, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Royal Deeside is certainly well named – the rugged Scottish countryside and in particular the mountains, are simply majestic. Crathie sits close to Balmoral Castle, the place Queen Victoria chose to find peace and tranquillity, just as successive members of the Royal Family have ever since.

Not only is the scenery idyllic, the accommodation is superbly presented and is a worthy winner of a Thistle Award from the Visit Scotland organisation. Crathie offers four wheelchair accessible self-catering cottages within the restored Manse Courtyard of the historic Crathie Kirk.

Each cottage has been designed to feel warm and homely and as far from a ‘clinical’ environment’ as you can get. Nevertheless the facilities for disabled people are excellent and there is a full access and equipment statement for each individual cottage on the Crathie website.

This is a holiday for people looking for fresh air – even if you don’t want to climb mountains, the cottages are surrounded by a fenced play area and security gate, making it an ideal setting for families that include disabled people.

Tel: 013397 42100

LooeOctBocaddon Holiday Cottages, Cornwall

Despite being located near to several busy coastal villages the location of the Bocaddon Holiday cottages is both tranquil and rural. In fact they’re six miles inland from Looe, Polperro & Fowey where the country is noted for its natural prevalence of wild flowers.

The three cottages are all converted from old stone farm buildings and have been awarded a Gold Award for self-catering accommodation by Enjoy England. The clever and comfortable interior design meets the needs of all visitors and the extensive gardens are also a delight.

This is a holiday in the countryside to its tips, given that this is still a working farm and still produces food for guests, particularly at the start of the day and is perhaps why the cottages have a reputation for providing a superb breakfast.

Tel: 01503 220192

Fowl Green Farm, Whitby

Fowl Green Farm is nestled in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park. The owners clearly cherish their location since it has been built into almost every aspect of the visit. This traditional farm still operates but does so with respect to the surrounding environment.

The fabric of the accommodation has also been developed from original farm buildings. Although they are presented in a modern, accessible way, there are still telltale hallmarks from their usage during the last 300 years. All of the self catering cottages are accessible to wheelchair users and have ground floor bathrooms complete with wheel-in showers.

Pets are allowed to stay by arrangement.

209895_149543821778076_6698427_oTregoose, Lagos, Portugal

Funchal Ridge looks out from its secluded, yet elevated position over the local countryside. Not only is it close to the beautiful coastline but is also just a short distance from the towns of Lagos and Luz in the west of the Algarve.

Tregoose welcomes disabled guests and continues to develop and has purchased new specialist equipment for the accessible apartments. There is also full wheelchair access to the patio, games room and swimming pool.

If you want to go away with a large family or a group, both apartments can be booked (and are linked together). It’s possible to accommodate up to 10 people (and two cots) and for further convenience a wheelchair adapted Fiat Scudo or Volkswagen T5 is available for use.

Tel: 01209 714314

SV400068Treworgans Farm, Cornwall

Cornwall is a stunning part of the UK. Not only is it rightly famed for it’s incredible coastline but it is also the scene of restful gardens and home to many of the country’s finest attractions, including: The Eden Project, The Lost Gardens of Heligan, The Tate St Ives and The National Maritime Museum.

The welcome at Treworgans is always warm; and I’m not just talking about the complimentary Welcome Hamper that includes cake and fresh bread from the AGA, as well as locally grown vegetables, other farm produce and fresh flowers for your room. This being Cornwall, you’ll also be invited to tuck into a Cornish cream tea before you settle in.

The gorgeous barn conversions provide a beautiful rustic and relaxing backdrop to your stay whilst, of course, meeting high standards of accessibility. All of the accessible bedrooms are completed with an ensuite wetroom with non-slip flooring (and include a wheel-in shower, wheel-under wash basin and toilet equipped with a drop arm rail). Similar adaptations have been applied to the kitchen – even the hob can be lowered for your convenience – ideal for preparing meals that you could choose to enjoy on the accessible outside decking.

Tel: 01726 883240

hoe_grangeHoe Grange Holidays, Peak District, Derbyshire

Enjoy England and Visit England have both seen fit to vest Hoegrange Holidays with top awards over the past few years, meaning that their overall offering must be pretty special. Indeed, they’re very good at coming up with new ideas to keep disabled visitors coming back (as if you’d need an excuse to revisit the beautiful Peak District).

New for 2014 is the Scandinavian barrel sauna; fired by logs and lit by candlelight it’s supposed to be a great way to lose the stress – and certainly, the benefits of saunas to circulation and respiration are well known. Fortunately, if that’s not quite adventurous enough for you, there’s the opportunity to hire a Boma 7 off-road (powered) wheelchair – basically a licence to roam the Peak District at will.

All of the log cabin accommodation is accessible with spacious wheelchair friendly bedrooms and wet-rooms.

Tel: 01629 540262

bondwebThe Bond Hotel, Blackpool

This is a great choice for people looking for a traditional seaside holiday – Blackpool being one of the UK’s best known seaside destinations.

A respite break allows disabled people and their carers an opportunity to relax. Holidays With Care supports the Bond Hotel with care packages delivered by expertly trained staff and are suitable for disabled people with physical, sensory, intellectual and mental impairments.

The Holidays With Care packages can include: dedicated personal care, including 24-hour full care as well opportunities for disabled visitors to try new experiences under the guidance of staff who will help to encourage participation.

Tel: 01253 341218

accesstravelAccess Travel is a specialist travel agent for people looking for wheelchair accessible accommodation. The properties used by Access Travel have all been inspected with this in mind and offer a good level of access for people with impaired mobility. Whilst not all of the accommodations are designed for independent living, they can discuss accommodation requirements and make suitable recommendations to guests. Access Travel provides options for disability tourists both in the UK and all over the world, all with the assurance that they’ve been selected with care.

Tel: 01942 888844