Disability weekend in Derbyshire

Trevor Smith on 03 June 2019
Being a Travel Agent dealing in all travel for all, can be quick and easy at times then at other times needs a lot more thought, consideration and planning.

My mother, whose health has not been in a good state for several years now, loves to get out and has always travelled through the UK and Europe, but now with very limited walking, sometimes can manage with a stroller and sometimes needs a wheelchair, especially where there could be more walking that normal.

I have now decided that best holidays for both my parents are with me as driver, love doing this as for around fourteen years, I did escorted touring as a coach driver/tour manager, so many things to consider.

Car hire - the car needs to be low enough to the road as not to have a large step into the car and enough luggage for wheelchair. stroller and luggage. Avis Maidstone in Kent are amazing and can cater to my requests - this really helps my decisions and helps me take my parents away.

Next, hotel choice is important and being able to request a Twin Room adapted for wheelchair use and again having the space is important- the Holiday Inn Riverlights Derby have amazing staff and I was allocated rooms specific to my requests at the time of booking, with my parents room being the first door from the lift. This helped and my mum decided that she could actually use the stroller in the hotel. Derby has many dropped kerbs and much step free access into the city, the market and to the car park. It made my role as "carer" so much easier to look after my parents so we could all enjoy the holiday together. The hotel has great staff throughout and we had a table allocated for dinner and breakfast again with no steps throughout and spacious area to relax and enjoy our meals together.

Our four day break involved calling at elderly relatives that we had not seen for more than seven years on the journey from Kent to Derbyshire, a visit to the Crich Tramway Museum and also the National Arboretum so that my parents could pay their respects to a cousin who was killed in 1958 in a conflict in Malta.

The Crich Tramway Village were great with disabled parking by the entrance and a marked route suitable for a wheelchair as I had no intention of allowing my mum to attempt walking. The highlight really, other than the history and trams etc was the fact they have a wheelchair adapted tram so my mum could actually do all that me and dad where doing. Again, step free access throughout, albeit a little hilly in places, worked very well. I was really impressed also that I was allowed free entrance as looking after my parents. The twenty or so minute round trip tram ride was brilliant and the driver and conductor could not have been more pleasant to us, especially ensuring that my mother was comfortable and was ok through the ride.

Another highlight over the weekend was a visit to the National Memorial Museum and again we were warmly greeted by staff who apologized, as they were busy with National Service Day that a space was not a close to the entrance as normal, luckily I managed to park four spaces from the entrance and with the wheelchair, it caused no inconvenience at all.

Again, pleasantly surprised that the whole amazing experience at the National Memorial Museum was step free, clean tidy and had all that we needed - again I could wheel my mum to see her cousin’s memorial at the main memorial area as well as the RAF Memorial.

Accessible travel and "travel for all" is something that I am proud to say that with my mother sometimes dependent on a wheelchair is helping me understand all accessible issues for travel, accommodations and facilities at venues/ events and attractions.

I also organise an annual holiday for a Partially Sighted group where there is a 1:1 ratio between carer and less abled person.

Contact me seven days a week to assist in your perfect holiday.