Directory of useful contacts
Here you will find a selection of specialist organisations and independent companies that provide advice, assistance and services to help disabled people get out and about in Britain.
Action for Blind People
Action for Blind People provides free and confidential support for blind and partially sighted people.
Blue Badge Parking Map
The Blue Badge Parking Map can show you where to park in over 100 towns and cities across the UK.
Blue Badge Scheme
Information about applying for the badge and to find Blue Badge parking bays near you.
Bus pass Scheme England
Those of state pension age and disabled people are eligible for free off-peak travel on English local buses. Passes are available from the local council. Some councils offer additional benefits such as peak-time travel.
Disabled Persons Railcard
Concessionary railcard that costs £20 annually, but allows 1/3 off most standard and first-class rail fares for those with a disability (plus an adult companion, if train travel presents difficulties). The website also has useful a link for booking assistance with individual rail operators.
National federation of Shopmobility UK
Most towns and shopping centres have a Shopmobility scheme that lends manual wheelchairs, powered wheelchairs and scooters.
Stations made easy
Search for any station via the “stations and on train” page on the National Rail website, click on the “stations made easy” icon, and you’ll see a handy station floor plan with images of facilities including platforms, to help with route planning.
Transport for London (TFL)
The TFL website provides transport accessibility information and a journey planner that allows you to find a route that suits your mobility requirements. TFL also produce a range of accessibility guides and maps, including audio and large print versions and step-free tube maps and information on assisted transport services.
Direct Enquiries is an online directory with a great London Underground accessible route planner that has platform-to-platform and platform-to-street-level information for every station.
National Express aims to run an accessible coach network: adapted coaches have a wide entrance, lift access, level flooring and a large toilet.Full details are listed on the website below.
As well as providing trained guide dogs, this organisation helps people who are blind or partially sighted to enjoy the same freedom of movement as everyone else.
BSM Driving Lessons
Information about learning to drive with BSM.
RAC Route Planner
To help you find your quickest way from A to B.
RAC Traffic News
Live traffic updates along a selected journey or a specific location.
Charitable network of centres providing advice and assessments to help people achieve independent mobility as drivers, passengers and wheelchair users.
This mobile app helps disabled drivers who can’t leave their cars when refuelling, by notifying the station so someone can help. Not all stations are signed up, but the number is growing. Available for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone.
Disabled Motoring UK
A charity and member organisation campaigning for improvements in access for disabled motorists, passengers and Blue Badge holders.
Contact A Family
Publishes a guide “Holidays, Play and Leisure” with advice on planning holidays and possible sources of funding. The guide can be downloaded for free from the website – search under “Advice & support”, then “Resource library”.
Online directory of links to further information and services, including travel, recreation, sports, holidays and accommodation.
Charlotte's Tandems lend tandems and tag-along bikes for free to people with disabilities or additional needs, so that they can ride wherever, with whomever, and whenever they like.
This website helps travellers easily compare and combine all modes of transport to the cities and towns they wish to visit across the UK and the rest of Europe.
Heavily detailed access information for restaurants, hotels, cinemas, tourist attractions, pubs, train stations and more.
A disability lifestyle website with an audio version of every article. The great travel section covers practicalities, news, issues and reviews of places to visit – not all, but plenty of the content is UK focused.
Disabled Ramblers organise and run a programme of supported disabled rambles each year. They campaign for better access while fully preserving the character of the countryside.
Advice on leisure activities and holidays for those with visual impairments, including a list of accessible museum and gallery events.
Euan's Guide features disabled access reviews by disabled people and their families and friends. The guide features hotels, restaurants, cinemas, theatres and more.
Good Access Guide
An online directory of services, businesses and venues that advertise themselves as accessible and disabled-friendly.
National Autistic Society
Features some advice on planning holidays and days out when you have a child with autism, plus lists of holiday providers and accommodation suitable for adults with autism. Also features the extensive Autism Services Directory which lists organisations providing play and leisure services.
Extensive accommodation, restaurant and attraction reviews and listings, plus useful information about the practicalities of travel.
Special Needs Kids
The ‘fun & leisure’ section on this website has some useful suggestions for days out for families with children who have special needs.
The Wheel Life
A helpful directory specialising in leisure and lifestyle, in association with thewheellife.com (a social networking site). Useful organisations, accommodation, activity holidays and tour operators are listed and there is a particularly good section on disabled sporting associations.
Walks with Wheelchairs
A fantastic database of accessible walks throughout the UK. You can search by county, distance, gradient, terrain and facilities, and even upload your own routes to share with others.
A basic and dated website, with an extensive database of things to do (not all outdoors) and facilities to help you do it. Unexciting but very useful if you have the time to trawl through, with an impressive list of accessible sports organisations.
Provides inspiration for places to go in Derbyshire, from scenic viewpoints to shopping centres, via farm shops, museums and gardens. It also details local accessible sporting activities, Changing Places toilet locations, and an overview of ways to travel around the county.
The Outdoor Guide
This website dedicated by walking, fronted by Julia Bradbury, provides inspiration, information and maps for routes across the UK. It also includes sensory walks and a selection of walks good for wheelchairs.
This website provides photo tours of walking routes in the UK. It also has plenty of detail on trail lengths, gradients and facilities en route, and all trails have been awarded an accessibility rating.
A travel and lifestyle blog for wheelchair users, with candid and personal reviews of places to stay and things to do.
Owners of over 400 historic properties, English Heritage operate an Access for All policy and an Access Guide featuring properties with good provisions for visitors with limited mobility and sensory needs.
Every establishment assessed by Enjoy England has completed a detailed Access Statement; they’re not available to download but you can ask the hotel to send it to you before you book.
Experience Community CIC
Not-for-profit organisation that provides video guides, photographs and written information about tourism, attractions, facilities and walks in Yorkshire for disabled and older people. They also organise day trips using accessible vehicles, tour guides and providing personal assistants.
Essential companions of disabled visitors get free entry to National Trust properties, with an annual “Admit One” card. The members’ handbook provides access advice and the website has a decent level of detail about each property, with some larger attractions providing a downloadable access statement. Predictably with heritage sites, certain properties have some inaccessible areas, but the dedicated Access for All team is working to make improvements. For particular needs provision, call the site ahead of your visit.
The National Trust for Scotland
The largest conservation charity in Scotland looks after myriad places to visit from castles to coastlines. All their attractions have a basic level of access information on the website.
Undoubtedly the most useful regional tourist board website. It’s not perfect, but the Accessible Birmingham section has tips on getting around Birmingham, including a link-up with Direct Enquiries to provide photo journeys of routes to tourist destinations from the nearest public transport. Birmingham City Centre Partnership run two great schemes – Meet and Greet to help people get around 0121 6162 259 and Wayfinder Talking Signs for blind and visually impaired people.
This website has an online list of accessible accommodation and some access information for attractions but unfortunately the fairly comprehensive “food and drink” listings section doesn’t include access details.
Under “plan your trip” drop-down on the main menu of the website, there’s an option for “Accessible Britain” in the “Getting around Britain” sub-section , where you’ll find an overview of useful links. One takes you to a more detailed online “Guide to Britain for Disabled Travellers”.
The Scottish Tourism Board runs its own quality assurance scheme for disabled access. Accommodation and attractions are searchable on the website using accessibility criteria.
The English tourist board runs an Access for All scheme on their website which includes mini-guides to short breaks across the country, and practical information. Their National Accessible Scheme rates the accessibility of accommodation in England. It also helps tourism businesses make improvements in access and the level of information available to visitors.
The website of the Welsh tourist board links through to a wide variety of accommodation and activities. Both are accommodation and attraction search facilities have a “provision for disabled visitors” filter option.
Discover Northern Ireland
The Discover Northern Ireland website has suggestions for days out and itineraries plus lists of events and festivals in the various different regions – plus, of course, links to accommodation and activities.
The “Access for All” area on this website has overviews of fifteen national parks, covering trails, Tramper hire, parking and other facilities.
Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
Provide a range of benefits and services for people who are ill or disabled and their carers, including the Disability Living Allowance.
Department for Social Communities
Information on social security benefits in Northern Ireland.
Driver & VehicleLicensing Agency (DVLA)
Information about driving licenses, learning to drive, vehicle registration and car tax, for Northern Ireland see nidirect.gov.uk
Provide pensions, welfare and support services to members of the Armed Forces and veterans, including the War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement.
Disabled Holiday Info
Useful website with advice on accessible attractions, transport and activities in selected regions of the UK.
Founded by two friends with spinal muscular atrophy who have travelled the world, this claims to be the world’s leading platform for booking accessible accommodation.
Disability Holidays guide
A good directory for booking accessible holiday accommodation and supported breaks, with lots of UK places.
Disabled Access Holidays
An online travel agent, with a decent amount of accessible accommodation in the UK.
This holiday specialist has a user-friendly website that allows accommodation searches to be filtered by access need and region – there are plenty of UK options to choose from. They can help with booking for children and have a tips page on travelling with a child with Autism.
Vision Hotels are part of Action for Blind People offering accessible holidays for everyone.
Wallops Wood Cottages has welcomed many guests to our M1, M2, M3, H1 and V1 rated, ground-floor, accessible, self-catering holiday cottages. Located in the South Downs National Park in the beautiful Meon Valley, within easy reach of London, Winchester, Petersfield, Chichester, Southampton and Portsmouth.
An Arts Council of Wales initiative providing specific access information to plan a theatretrip in Wales. Cardholders are entitled to a free ticket for their carer at all the participating venues – the list is not comprehensive, but growing.
This website provides a decent level of access information for many of the UK’s major theatres. Each venue has a seating plan (with some photos of views from seats) and an Access section.
A charity providing captioning and live subtitling services to theatres and arts venues. The What’s On page can be searched by region or date.
A directory of audio-described events at theatres and museums around the UK.
An organisation promoting the use of BSL in the arts. The What’s On page has an eclectic, but somewhat limited list of events.
With a range of very active forums on topics as diverse as special needs and style and beauty, as well as regular articles, advice, blogs, reviews and campaigns, Mumsnet is one of the web’s biggest portals for parents.
Offering support to those affected by arthritis. The website has active discussion forums on a comprehensive range of topics, and provides advice on topics such as exercise and arthritis.
Action on Hearing Loss
Formerly the RNID, Action on Hearing Loss provide support and advice to those affected by hearing loss. The community area of the website is an excellent resource.
BHF – Heart Matters
This FREE service from the British Heart Foundation offers a unique package of support and information for people looking to improve their heart health.
Information, advice and support for carers from NHS Choices. Provides details of services on offer, as well as step-by-step guides to everything from managing finances to young carers.
Carers Trust are the UK’s largest charity supporting the nation’s 7 million unpaid carers. Anyone can be a carer, and it’s important that carers are supported in their caring role. Operating through a network of over 170 quality assured local partners Carers Trust provide practical and emotional support as well as breaks to carers of any age.
Disability Rights UK
Campaigning network of organisations and disabled people who run the National RADAR Key Scheme for accessible toilets. They also publish a guide to the scheme listing details of the 9000 UK toilets.
Online community site run by the Disabled Living Foundation. The active forums cover motoring, travel, work, parenting and many other topics, and can be an excellent source of information and advice.
NHS Choices: Your Health, Your Way
The NHS guide to living with a disability or long-term condition; including practical advice on support and entitlements.
The leisure category of this online magazine covers UK travel news and also champions great places to visit.
Disability magazine including forum, reviews and information on accessible holidays, products and test drives.
A charity providing road safety advice for children, motorcyclists and other drivers.
Disabled and Reduced Mobility Airport Guide
The guide covers many aspects such as flying with guide dogs, travelling with autism, visual impairments, travelling with breathing problems and much more.
Disabled Living Foundation
National charity providing advice about mobility products for disabled people, their carers and families.
Independent research charity, which produces a number of useful reports for disabled people, such as ‘Getting a wheelchair into a car’.
Scope – About Disability
Information and advice for disabled people of all ages, including information on what's available locally to you.
Which? Elderly Care
Free, independent and practical advice about caring for older people across the UK.
This consortium campaigns for public toilets with non-standard access features, including hoists and height-adjustable changing benches. The website has a map of Changing Places toilet.
Disabled Information from the Disabled
A website where disabled people can share their experiences and expertise with others by submitting “articles” on various subjects – the result of which is a diverse mix of informative pieces and some obvious promotion. Features some useful advice for drivers. Far from a comprehensive list but definitely a good starting point.
BBC website concerning disability issues with news, blogs and an active forum. There isn’t a specific message board for travel but posting a question on the general board is likely to gain a good response.