The Lake District is a popular holiday destination and was recently the first UK National Park to be named a world heritage site. It’s not difficult to see why, with stunning countryside and outdoor activities to suit every level of ability.
My favourite is Tarn Hows, a stunning, accessible walk near Coniston.
It’s really popular with locals and tourists, particularly in the summer, and a fantastic place to go for a picnic. The mountain views are there for everyone to enjoy, regardless of age or ability, as the circular track is suitable for buggies and wheelchairs. The National Trust have a Tramper all-terrain mobility scooter available to use. It’s free of charge and visitors can book a time slot (giving 48 hours’ notice) by calling 015394 41456. For those who just want to take in the views, there’s also an accessible parking spot/view point just for disabled visitors.
Miles without Stiles
If you want to explore the Lake District, the great news is that there are more than 40 miles of routes without stiles, suitable for wheelchair users, buggies or those who find walking a challenge. You can find out more on the Lake District National Park website.
Coniston Boating Centre
For more even more accessible adventures, Coniston Boating Centre has a specifically adapted wheelchair accessible boat with a movable ramp. It can accommodate up to three wheelchair users. The top speed is six mph, and the boat is perfect for wheelchair anglers.
The Lake District Calvert Trust offers wonderful experiences for disabled people who want to enjoy the countryside and test their limits. They are accessible to people of all ages with sensory, learning or physical disabilities, including those with the most complex needs for which most outdoor centres cannot cater. They endeavour to run as many activities as possible out in the wider Lake District so that our residents also get to explore one of the most beautiful parts of the UK. Schools, groups, families and individuals are all welcome. As well as abseil and climbing walls there a fully accessible zip wire, challenge course, facilities for canoeing and kayaking, archery, horse riding and sailing. The centre also boasts a hydrotherapy pool, sensory room, games room and lots more. The setting, on the shores of Bassenthwaite is simply stunning, in the kind of environment that is usually off-limits for disabled people.
Theatre by the Lake
After a day of exploring, enjoy a relaxed evening at the Theatre by the Lake. Hailed as the most beautifully located and friendly theatre in Britain, it offers Captioned, Audio Described and Relaxed Performances, as well as full wheelchair access, lifts, accessible parking, induction loops and facilities for assistance dogs.
Irton House Farm
For accommodation, a good choice in a tranquil setting is Irton House Farm. A working sheep farm of 246 acres in the Lake District National Park, commanding superb views from the farmstead over Bassenthwaite Lake and Skiddaw. Immaculately kept self-catered apartments offering spacious and comfortable self-catering holiday homes, for 2, 4 and 6 people. All include wet rooms and ground floor accommodation making them fully accessible for disabled visitors. They’re also dog-friendly (by arrangement) for pets and assistance dogs. The accommodation is very spacious, with wet room showers, accessible kitchens, helpful aids and equipment, amazing views and such a homely, non-medical feel. There are plans to modernise the interiors but keep the farmhouse, country cottage look and feel. In the long term, the plan is to convert one of the farm buildings into a central place where guests can meet, chat and enjoy a drink by an open fire, and events can be hosted.
Carrie-Ann Lightley is a traveller, a blogger and an inspiration for the less mobile traveller. She doesn’t let her Cerebral Palsy slow her down from enjoying the world, near and far. Living with the mantra of ‘there is always a way’ her travel blog provides expertise and inspiration for accessible travel. Visit Carrie-Ann at https://www.carrieannlightley.com