A Winter Wheelchair Staycation In Accessible Brighton And Hove

November 22, 2012 in Accessible Days Out, Adaptive Cycling, UK, Wheelchair Walks

Getting ready for winter in Brighton and Hove.  Here’s how I might be spending some of my time in the chillier months to come.

Winter Wheelchair Fun On The Seafront

Brighton Beach Wheelchairs

Wrapped up warm and going for a roll on Brighton beach. Winter has it’s advantages, I might even get the place to myself.  The beach accessible wheelchairs are available every day of the year, and are rarely booked out during the winter.  Call the Seafront Office on 01273 292716 to make a booking. They are free to use, all they require is a form of proof of I.D. and a £25 deposit.

Brighton BeachBeach Wheelchair Brighton and Hove

Easy Access On Brighton & Hove Promenade & Pier

Going for wheelchair walks along the promenade.  Eating chips and watching the seagulls from the Pier.  There are sloping walkways down to the promenade in Brighton (may be difficult to ascend without assistance). The access to the promenade is level at the Hove end. Numerous disabled parking bays and disabled toilets (RADAR key required) can be found all along the seafront. There is level access all along the Pier and 2 disabled toilets (RADAR key available at the cafe).  They also have Braille menus.

seagull on street lamp, brighton and hovebandstand brighton and hove

 

 

 

 

 

Brighton Wheelchair Bike

I will be gliding along the promenade (when it’s not raining or blowing a gale) on a Duet Wheelchair Tandem. To hire Brighton Wheelchair Bike email: brightonwheelchairbike@gmail.com.  Bring a strong person to peddle you both along the miles of seafront cycle path between just before the Pier all the way to Hove Lagoon.  Booking essential.  For other opportunities to hire a Duet Wheelchair Tandem in the UK go to Where To Rent a Wheelchair Tandem In The UK

brighton wheelchair bike - Duet wheelchair tandem in brighton and hovebrighton wheelchair bike - duet wheelchair tandem, brighton & hove

Wrapped up warm and going for a roll along accessible Brighton & Hove seafront.

Accessible Brighton Wheel

wheelchair travel, brighton wheel, brighton and hovewheelchair travel, brighton wheel, brighton & hovebrighton wheel, brighton and hove wheelchair travel,I could take my wheels on the Brighton Wheel. It’s fully wheelchair accessible. Disabled adults tickets are £6.50 and disabled children tickets are £5.  Carer tickets £4.

More Accessible Winter Joy

Feeding The Squirrels At St Anne’s Well Gardens

I heart squirrels. This park is a wonderful wheelchair walk at any time of year. Surfaced paths (there are slopes as well as level parts-strong assistant needed for some bits), disabled toilet (RADAR key), the Garden Cafe, fabulous kids playground, a pristine bowling green, tennis courts, table tennis, sensory garden, fish pond, lots of birdlife, beautiful trees and friendly (just don’t let them mistake your finger for a peanut) squirrels. For more on parks in Brighton & Hove, go to park disabled access info.

Squirrel      Squirrel Feeding at St Annes Well Gardens, Hove, Sussex      Wheelchair access St Annes Well Gardens, Hove, Sussex

Access To Great Food In Brighton & Hove

Perhaps sitting by the fire at Stanmer House having hot chocolate or afternoon tea. Maybe lunch or dinner at one of Brighton & Hove’s accessible restaurants.  I’m going to try some gourmet vegetarian nosh at Food For Friends (mention you’re a wheelchair user when booking so they can be ready with the ramp).  I also love the tasty Italian food at Carluccios, the fabulous sea views at Alfresco and the Latin American menu at Las Iguanas. Try the links at the bottom of this post for the full list of wheelchair accessible places to eat out in Brighton and Hove.

Accessible Ice Rink At Royal Pavilion Gardens

Going for a trundle in the beautiful (and organic) Pavilion gardens or even a whizz around the ice rink!  The Royal Pavilion Ice Rink is fully accessible to wheelchair users.  Off-peak sessions (when the rink is quieter) are encouraged. You must be accompanied on the ice by a competent skater who may skate for free.

Royal Pavilion Ice Rink, Brighton and Hove       Royal Pavilion Ice Rink, Brighton and Hove

(photo credits: 1-Katariina Jarvinen, 2-Jim Holden)

Brighton & Hove Winter Culture

theatre royal, brighton and hoveThe Brighton Dome booking office has a fabulous push button door (makes life easy) and a lowered booking desk for wheelchair users. They have wheelchair access and disabled facilities in all the venues and “carer goes free tickets” are also available depending on availability.  The Theatre Royal has some wheelchair accessible seating and a disabled toilet in the foyer.  Depending on availability they also offer “carer goes free” tickets, so enquire when booking.  The Duke of York Cinema, Komedia and The Brighton Centre are also fully accessible. For more accessible venues in Brighton and Hove and detailed access info on the above, be sure to check out the Fed online (link below).

Accessible Brighton and Hove Accomodation & Info

Fancy a Brighton & Hove winter wheelchair mini break?  A fantastic access guide to Brighton & Hove can be found at the Fed online.  There’s also plenty of helpful accessibility info at the Tourist Office or on their Visit Brighton website.

Dordogne Wheelchair Travel Tips Anyone?

November 8, 2012 in Adaptive Cycling, France, Wheelchair Walks

The Dordogne is a beautiful region but from what I’ve seen so far it wouldn’t be the first place I’d recommend as a great wheelchair travel destination.  The greenways (voie verte car free paths) are lovely. The historic architecture is fascinating.  Our campsite was great. I just didn’t really find any riverside wheelchair access worth reporting and some of the information I received was misleading.  It’s a big region, so maybe I have missed out on some great accessible areas and attractions?  Dordogne wheelchair holiday tips are welcome. Please comment below if you can add anything to my findings.

Accessible Camping Near Sarlat

Nice campsite. Great pool. We were pitched very near the facilities which have a disabled toilet and shower.  The entrance to the pool is wheelchair accessible. It’s one of those where you have to get pushed through the shallow water to get in.  I wouldnt have been able to reach the lock on the gate to the pool either without assistance. There is also a cafe with internet access. While being out in the country, Camping Les Acacias is in a great location for trips to Sarlat and is near to the greenway (voie verte). You can drive to the nearby Vialard entrance and park right next to the car free path.

 

 Sarlat

Wheelchair access, Sarlat, DordogneSarlat has some impressive old buildings. The main tourist bit is fairly flat but moderately bumpy. We are not talking full on cobbles, but the surface is quite bumpy in some places.  It’s a good place to visit if you love historic buildings and don’t mind a bit of wheelchair vibration.  Eventually I opted to stay in one place and people watch.

 

Wheelchair travel, Sarlat, DordogneSarlat, Dordogne, wheelchair access

 

 

Domme

Nice place to visit.  The drive up was quite steep, the village is perched on a hilltop. There is disabled parking and toilets near the main square.  Adjoining the square is a long balcony with lovely views of the valley and beyond.  This is the main attraction. There are tourist shops, ice creams etc and restaurants. We couldn’t stray too far from the square due to the steep slopes but it was definitely worth a visit for the fabulous views.

Domme, Dordogne, wheelchair access

Wheelchair Accessible Gardens?

Les Jardins Suspendus du Marqueyssac

I wanted to visit Marqueyssac but I was advised against it by the receptionist at the campsite. He said that the paths were too steep for the wheelchair and that I would have problems.  He said that Eyrignac would be better. Also the Eyrignac brochure had the “Tourisme at Handicap” label so I decided to take his advice.  I also just read a thread in a France forum about Marqueyssac having brand new disabled toilets halfway up the steepest hill imaginable, so maybe he was right.

 Jardins du Manoir d’Eyrignac

Jardins du Manoir d'Eyrignac Wheelchair access infoJardins du Manoir d'Eyrignac, Dordogne, Wheelchair access infoDisappointed. I chose to visit these gardens because they have the “Tourisme et Handicap” label, so I had expectations.  Have Tourisme et Handicap even been there? And if so, did they notice the GRAVEL !!??  My carer managed it but we did see an elderly man struggling to push his wife in a wheelchair.  It’s often much easier to push a wheelchair up a steep hill on a smooth surface than it is to push on the level through gravel.  There is also a couple of widely spaced steps to the gardens in the photos.  So why no ramp? Or why not move a bench to easily make a side entrance with access?  A lot of the gardens are not accessible even to the able bodied as mentioned in this comment I found on the net ”Eyrignac was too formal, lacked plants and a lot fenced off to public. They said there was wheelchair access but it was very limited and gravelly”  So why advertise it as wheelchair accessible when it’s not?  Okay rant over.

Wheelchair Walks & Wheelchair Bike Rides

Vialard to Aillac

The best thing about this area for me was the greenway (voie verte).  We accessed the greenway from Vialard and then rode to just past Aillac.  We didn’t carry on past there as there was a really steep bit.  So we turned back and then went down over the river on the bridge towards Grojelac.  The ride back to Vialard was up hill on the way home.

Voie Verte, Aillac,  Dordogne, wheelchair travelVoie Verte, Car free Bridge, Dordogne, wheelchair walk

 

Calviac to Peyrillac

The best day out we had in the Dordogne was on the greenway between Calviac and Peyrillac.  It was mainly flat and smooth and the access onto the path was good at Calviac.  A great day out in the countryside, gliding alongside the elusive river, past villages, cornfields, the old station of Carlux and at one point through an old tunnel which was lovely and cool inside in contrast to the heat of the baking hot sunny day outside.

Voie Verte, Dordogne, wheelchair travelVoie Verte, Dordogne, wheelchair walks

 

 

 

 

 

 

I really enjoyed our wheelchair bike rides on the voie verte.  These car free paths are a great resource for easy access wheelchair walks. We did find that a few of the access points are too steep for wheelchairs though.  A map with the wheelchair access points (like the one they have in Burgundy) would be very useful.  On the map below the green line is the greenway and the red line is the road.

voie verte map dordogne wheelchair walks on greenways

 

Dordogne

Local Community Protecting The Countryside

anti fracking banner dordogneOn the way back from one our wheelchair bike rides, we came across an anti fracking banner drop in one of the old villages. At first I was alarmed to be reminded of the threats to our agriculture, ecology and ground water from Hydraulic Fracturing. But later found that Fracking is still banned in France, it was just a politically engaged community staying vigilant.  I hope the people of the UK will be just as vigilant in protecting our countryside in the coming months. If you haven’t heard of Fracking yet, you can watch the documentary Gasland on Youtube, also Britain & Ireland Frack Free and Frack-off.org are good resources for the UK.

 

Dordogne Wheelchair Travel Tips Welcome

We still had a great time in the Dordogne despite the access issues. The weather was great and we made the most of it.  If you know any accessible attractions worth recommending please share with us. Dordogne wheelchair holiday tips are very welcome.

 

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