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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.

Navigate by category:

Getting around

Motoring

British tourism

Accommodation booking

The arts

Other

Getting around

Action for Blind People

Action for Blind People provides free and confidential support for blind and partially sighted people.

www.rnib.org.ukOpens in new window

020 7635 4800

Blue Badge Parking Map

The Blue Badge Parking Map can show you where to park in over 100 towns and cities across the UK.

www.parkingforbluebadges.comOpens in new window

Blue Badge Scheme

Information about applying for the badge and to find Blue Badge parking bays near you.

www.gov.uk/blue-badge-scheme-information-councilOpens in new window

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.

www.gov.uk/apply-for-disabled-bus-pass

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.

www.disabledpersons-railcard.co.ukOpens in new window

0345 6050 525

National federation of Shopmobility UK

Most towns and shopping centres have a Shopmobility scheme that lends manual wheelchairs, powered wheelchairs and scooters.

nfsuk.orgOpens in new window

01933 229 644

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.

www.nationalrail.co.ukOpens in new window

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.

www.tfl.gov.ukOpens in new window

Direct Enquiries

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.

www.directenquiries.comOpens in new window

01344 360 101

National Express

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.

www.nationalexpress.com

020 7635 4800

Guide Dogs

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.

www.guidedogs.org.ukOpens in new window

0800 781 1444

Motoring

BSM Driving Lessons

Information about learning to drive with BSM.

www.bsm.co.ukOpens in new window

RAC Route Planner

To help you find your quickest way from A to B.

www.rac.co.ukOpens in new window

RAC Traffic News

Live traffic updates along a selected journey or a specific location.

www.rac.co.ukOpens in new window

Driving Mobility

Charitable network of centres providing advice and assessments to help people achieve independent mobility as drivers, passengers and wheelchair users.

www.drivingmobility.org.ukOpens in new window

Fuel Service

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.

www.fuelservice.orgOpens in new window

Disabled Motoring UK

A charity and member organisation campaigning for improvements in access for disabled motorists, passengers and Blue Badge holders.

www.disabledmotoring.orgOpens in new window

01508 489 449

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”.

www.contact.org.ukOpens in new window

0808 8083 555

Ableize

Online directory of links to further information and services, including travel, recreation, sports, holidays and accommodation.

www.ableize.comOpens in new window

Charlotte’s Tandems

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.

www.charlottestandems.co.ukOpens in new window

Go Euro

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.

www.goeuro.co.ukOpens in new window

Disabled Go

Heavily detailed access information for restaurants, hotels, cinemas, tourist attractions, pubs, train stations and more.

www.disabledgo.comOpens in new window

01438 842 710

Disability Horizons

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.

www.disabilityhorizons.comOpens in new window

Disabled Ramblers

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.

www.disabledramblers.co.ukOpens in new window

RNIB

Advice on leisure activities and holidays for those with visual impairments, including a list of accessible museum and gallery events.

www.rnib.org.ukOpens in new window

Euan’s Guide

Euan's Guide features disabled access reviews by disabled people and their families and friends. The guide features hotels, restaurants, cinemas, theatres and more.

www.euansguide.comOpens in new window

0131 510 5106

Good Access Guide

An online directory of services, businesses and venues that advertise themselves as accessible and disabled-friendly.

www.goodaccessguide.co.ukOpens in new window

01502 806 706

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.

www.autism.org.ukOpens in new window

Open Britain

Extensive accommodation, restaurant and attraction reviews and listings, plus useful information about the practicalities of travel.

www.openbritain.netOpens in new window

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.

www.special-needs-kids.co.ukOpens in new window

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.

www.thewheellifeguide.comOpens in new window

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.

www.walkswithwheelchairs.comOpens in new window

Accessible Countryside

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.

www.accessiblecountryside.org.ukOpens in new window

Accessible Derbyshire

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.

www.accessiblederbyshire.orgOpens in new window

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.

www.theoutdoorguide.co.ukOpens in new window

Phototrails

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.

www.phototrails.orgOpens in new window

The Bimblers

A travel and lifestyle blog for wheelchair users, with candid and personal reviews of places to stay and things to do.

www.thebimblers.comOpens in new window

British tourism

English Heritage

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.

www.english-heritage.org.ukOpens in new window

0370 3331181

Enjoy England

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.

www.visitengland.comOpens in new window

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.

www.experiencecommunity.co.ukOpens in new window

National Trust

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.

www.nationaltrust.org.ukOpens in new window

01793 817 634

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.

www.nts.org.ukOpens in new window

0131 458 0200

Visit Birmingham

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.

www.visitbirmingham.comOpens in new window

01212 025 115

Visit Lancashire

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.

www.visitlancashire.comOpens in new window

01257 226 600

Visit Britain

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”.

www.visitbritain.comOpens in new window

Visit Scotland

The Scottish Tourism Board runs its own quality assurance scheme for disabled access. Accommodation and attractions are searchable on the website using accessibility criteria.

www.visitscotland.comOpens in new window

Visit England

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.

www.visitengland.comOpens in new window

Visit Wales

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.

www.visitwales.comOpens in new window

0333 006 3001

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.

www.discovernorthernireland.comOpens in new window

National Parks

The “Access for All” area on this website has overviews of fifteen national parks, covering trails, Tramper hire, parking and other facilities.

www.nationalparks.gov.uk

Government bodies

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.

www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-work-pensionsOpens in new window

Department for Social Communities

Information on social security benefits in Northern Ireland.

www.communities-ni.gov.ukOpens in new window

Driver & VehicleLicensing Agency (DVLA)

Information about driving licenses, learning to drive, vehicle registration and car tax, for Northern Ireland see nidirect.gov.uk

www.gov.uk/government/organisations/driver-and-vehicle-licensing-agencyOpens in new window

Veterans UK

Provide pensions, welfare and support services to members of the Armed Forces and veterans, including the War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement.

www.gov.uk/government/organisations/veterans-ukOpens in new window

Accommodation booking

Disabled Holiday Info

Useful website with advice on accessible attractions, transport and activities in selected regions of the UK.

www.disabledholidayinfo.org.ukOpens in new window

Accomable

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.

www.accomable.comOpens in new window

Disability Holidays guide

A good directory for booking accessible holiday accommodation and supported breaks, with lots of UK places.

www.disabilityholidaysguide.comOpens in new window

Disabled Access Holidays

An online travel agent, with a decent amount of accessible accommodation in the UK.

www.disabledaccessholidays.comOpens in new window

0800 622 6000

Disabled Holidays

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.

www.disabledholidays.comOpens in new window

0161 804 9898

Vision Hotels

Vision Hotels are part of Action for Blind People offering accessible holidays for everyone.

www.visionhotels.co.ukOpens in new window

01539 445 801

Wallopswood Cottages

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.

www.wallopswoodcottages.co.ukOpens in new window

The arts

Hynt

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.

www.hynt.co.ukOpens in new window

SeatPlan

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.

www.seatplan.comOpens in new window

Stagetext

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.

www.stagetext.orgOpens in new window

020 7377 0540

Vocal Eyes

A directory of audio-described events at theatres and museums around the UK.

www.vocaleyes.co.ukOpens in new window

020 7375 1043

Signed Culture

An organisation promoting the use of BSL in the arts. The What’s On page has an eclectic, but somewhat limited list of events.

www.signedculture.org.ukOpens in new window

01925 710 561

Other

Mumset

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.

www.mumsnet.comOpens in new window

Arthritis Care

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.

www.arthritiscare.org.ukOpens in new window

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.

www.actiononhearingloss.org.ukOpens in new window

0808 8080 123

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.

www.bhf.org.ukOpens in new window

0300 330 3300

Carers Direct

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.

www.nhs.ukOpens in new window

Carers Trust

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.

www.carers.orgOpens in new window

0844 800 4361

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.

www.disabilityrightsuk.orgOpens in new window

020 72508 181

Youreable

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.

www.youreable.comOpens in new window

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.

www.nhs.ukOpens in new window

Enable Magazine

The leisure category of this online magazine covers UK travel news and also champions great places to visit.

www.enablemagazine.co.ukOpens in new window

Able Magazine

Disability magazine including forum, reviews and information on accessible holidays, products and test drives.

www.ablemagazine.co.ukOpens in new window

Brake

A charity providing road safety advice for children, motorcyclists and other drivers.

www.brake.org.ukOpens in new window

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.

www.mr-airport-parking.co.ukOpens in new window

Disabled Living Foundation

National charity providing advice about mobility products for disabled people, their carers and families.

www.dlf.org.ukOpens in new window

Rica

Independent research charity, which produces a number of useful reports for disabled people, such as ‘Getting a wheelchair into a car’.

www.rica.org.ukOpens in new window

Scope – About Disability

Information and advice for disabled people of all ages, including information on what's available locally to you.

www.scope.org.ukOpens in new window

Which? Elderly Care

Free, independent and practical advice about caring for older people across the UK.

www.which.co.ukOpens in new window

Changing Places

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.

www.changing-places.orgOpens in new window

020 7696 6019

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.

www.disabledinfo.co.ukOpens in new window

Ouch!

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.

www.bbc.co.ukOpens in new window