Travelling the world is a must-do for people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds, and usually, the restricting factors are time and money, but if you are born with a disability or have an accident and are required to use a wheelchair all the time or from time to time you may encounter problems that even time and money can’t overcome. To help make travel dreams possible we have put together a list of 3 of the best wheelchair accessible destinations for inspiration and in no particular order.
1. London, United Kingdom:
Whilst London tubes and buses are not the best of fun, they tend to be busy and uncomfortable for anyone, the wheelchair access is excellent. Most tube stations, especially major stops, have installed lifts and wide doors to allow a wheelchair to easily roll on and off. The same accessible features are found on many of the buses, even on public service, without any prior notice or booking. Explore wheelchair accessible public transportation in London.
Beyond the public transport system, there are some excellent attractions that make entertainment and sightseeing easier than ever before. This list includes some of the landmarks immediately called to mind when London is mentioned; The London Eye, Buckingham Palace, The Tate Modern, The Natural History Museum, and many more! Discover more wheelchair accessible attractions in London.
London does particularly well on disability-friendly public toilets – something you would hope you never have to think about, but unfortunately, most public toilets can be ill-equipped or quite simply have no access ramp! Accessible toilets can be found in most train and tube stations, of which there will never be one more than 5 or 10 minutes away.
In addition to this, there are accessible toilets in parks, hotels, and local attractions. London operates a National Key Scheme (NKS) for disabled toilets, and you can have your very own key for a small price, plus postage. That key works throughout the UK at any disabled toilet. You can also purchase a guide that shows you the locations of every single toilet, so you’ll never be caught short!
In terms of food, London is one of the gastro capitals of the world, with world-class and Michelin star chefs running restaurants throughout the capital. However, most of these require advance booking, so if you’re looking for something a little more off the cuff – why not try the Park Lane Restaurant? It sports typical London prices but the menu is wide-ranging and the portion size is generous. As with everything we recommend in this article, Park Lane has wheelchair access and staff who will be more than happy to go the extra mile if you require assistance.
2. Sydney, Australia:
Travelling to Australia conjures images of the outback, mountains, and quite probably terrain your day-to-day wheelchair just can’t handle. Not so! Taking a city break in Sydney is incredibly easy for wheelchair users. The local authorities are continually investing and developing the city to be accessible to all, which means you can visit the landmarks such as the Sydney opera house and Harbour bridge, but also find some super places that nobody goes to –so you’ll have to hop on the excellent public transport for an adventure yourself. If you are in need of some inspiration you could visit some beautiful landmarks, such as the Sydney Opera House and next door to that is the Circular Quay where you can marvel at the steel arc of the Harbour Bridge and pay the Museum of Contemporary Art a visit. Get tips on wheelchair accessible attractions in Sydney, Australia from a local.
When it comes to hotels, hostels, and even the humble B+B, it’s easier than ever to find somewhere to accommodate you. If you get in touch with your chosen venue and inquire about your needs, more than likely people will jump through hoops to accommodate you – and that’s in addition to the lifts and ramps lots of hotels already have installed. It might be a little bit of extra hassle to send e-mails if you’re half a world away, but the same can be said of any destination. The important thing is, that Sydney is wheelchair friendly and has a wonderful climate. The Pensione Hotel for example has great access to all public areas throughout the hotel, from specialist equipment to help you in and out of the swimming pool to ramps and larger bedrooms on the ground floor to accommodate you.
3. Portland, Oregon, USA:
Portland is the King of accessibility with a public transport system that is fully optimized for wheelchair users. Public buses, the Max light trains, and street cars are all fully equipped for wheelchairs, motorized and self-propelled. Portland has got a great attitude towards wheelchair users with a range of facilities from shopping centers, major attractions such as theme parks, and even national parks becoming equipped with the latest technology and must-haves from hydraulic ramps to help you on and off of Greyhound buses to wide decked walk-ways.
Portland itself has some great things to do and places to see, all of this canvassed by the beautiful city itself. The forest park is a great place to start, some paths are not ideal but others are level, well maintained, and allow you to fully immerse yourself in real nature as opposed to a tailored garden environment. Speaking of gardens the International Rose Test Garden, founded during WW1 showcases some of the best and most beautiful roses of European descent. But if food is what you’re looking for you could immerse yourself with culinary delights! Voodoo has invented some of the best and craziest donuts in the entire USA (ever had a coffee glaze sprinkled with bacon?!) and is well worth a try.