After the Beast from the East and Storm Emma, it’s no wonder we’re a bit sceptical about blue skies and sunshine. Could this mean that summer is on its way? With good weather comes a need for the great outdoors, festivals, Pimm’s in the park and days out. Luckily these events have accessibility at their heart.
Embracing the good weather is what most Brits live for. It’s a good job that we’ve got the sights, smells and sounds for a perfect day out. From the rolling glens of the Highlands, to the blooms of the Lake District, and the hustle and bustle of the inner cities, there are activities for all to enjoy – regardless of ability. Let’s make this a summer to remember and appreciate the summer while it lasts.
Is there a better way to enjoy the longer days than sitting with friends listening to your favourite tunes? It’s the reason why setting up camp and heading to the festival field is the highlight of many peoples’ summer. Festival season kicks off in June with music’s biggest names hitting the stage so lucky ticket holders can sing along with the latest releases as well as all the classics hits.
Festivals aren’t out of bounds for people with disabilities. In fact, more and more leading events are becoming increasingly accessible. Last year Reading Festival was awarded a Gold Standard for its level of inclusivity, which is the highest honour from the Charter of Best Practice of Attitude is Everything (AiE), an organisation promoting accessibility for all.
Reading has gone above and beyond providing dedicated check-in services, fully stewarded accessible campsites, raised platforms for viewing at every major stage, British Sign Language (BSL) interpretations of performances, and interchangeable personal assistant lanyards to allow different friends to attend performances throughout the weekend. The festival has thought of it all. Working with Attitude is Everything since 2005, Reading has continually made the festival site and surrounding areas accessible for music lovers everywhere.
Larger festivals like Latitude and Parklife have also taken on board the advice that Attitude is Everything has provided and made their festival experience inclusive with free carer passes, disabled parking and accessible camping areas with the relevant shower and toilet facilities – everyone has a right to enjoy live music, after all.
Like anything in life, preparation is key to enjoying your festival experience. All UK-based festivals will have the relevant accessibility information detailed on their websites to make sure you have the best time over the weekend. We’ll see you down the front.
Hitting the Hike
Camping may not be for everyone, but that doesn’t mean that fresh air blowing through your hair is off limits. There’s
no need to score adventure trails and scenic walks off your accessibility list – it’s time to become one with nature. Being a wheelchair user can leave you wondering what nature trails you can get involved with, but there is more out there than meets the eye.
Getting out and about with friends and family for a walk is a great way to connect, experience local wildlife and exercise without breaking out in a sweat. The UK is awash with stunning views and historic walks, and many are accessible. With paths or easy terrain, you could be enjoying the views from the cliffs or getting down and dirty in the mud of the countryside.
The National Trust has a plethora of outdoor activities for everyone to enjoy regardless of ability. When the sun is shining bright in the sky digging out the walking boots and picking up the camera for an adventure hike in the wilderness is a fantastic day out for all the family.
Day at the Museum
When the grey clouds roll over, get yourself to the nearest museum. During the summer holidays, it can be easy for our brains to go into autopilot, but there are museums across the country that are accessible for physical and sensory disabilities – and many have days dedicated for those with additional needs.
For budding scientists, there are plenty of options. Glasgow’s Science Centre has monthly Autism Friendly Hours to provide all the fun without the stress. For those in the capital, why not escape the busy streets of London and delve into laboratories of the Science Museum? The museum also has dedicated time slots for those on the autistic spectrum, induction loops, subtitled videos, Braille and more. Science has never been so accessible.
Boasting the oldest working aquarium in the world, Brighton Sea Life Centre is home to more than 150 types of sea creatures: it’s a burst of colour, visuals and underwater sounds. Accessibility is also on the menu with wheelchair and mobility access points, accessible toilets and parking. Staff are also on hand to provide further access information to ensure you make the most of your experience.
History is not off limits either on your educational day out. The Great North Museum in Newcastle has the world all under one roof and is fully accessible. With wheelchair access, assistance dogs allowed, induction loops, BSL-assisted videos and even guided tours on request, you can be sure to bring history to the present.
Summertime in the UK doesn’t have to be doom and gloom and have you praying for a getaway. There is an abundance of accessible music festivals, nature trails and activities to take part in come rain or shine.