Great accessible UK weekend breaks: Belfast
18th July 2018
The capital city of Northern Ireland is a titanic city full of surprises and hidden gems. From its lively atmosphere and top-class restaurants to its Victorian streets and world-class visitor attractions.
Belfast has plenty of accessible sights and wheelchair-friendly attractions, meaning that older people with mobility problems who need to use stairlifts to get around their home can visit the city without worrying about accessibility.
Read on to find out about accessible venues, attractions, tours and activities in this great city.
Best accessible attractions to visit
When it comes to attractions, Belfast is home to a range of accessible attractions that should definitely be visited.
Located in North Belfast on the slopes of Cave, the Belfast Zoological Gardens offers unrivalled views across the city and is only a 15-minute drive from the city centre.
The 55-acre site is home to more than 130 species, many of which are facing increasing dangers in their natural habitats. This is why the zoo carries out vital conservation work, both in Northern Ireland and around the world.
The zoo is one of Northern Ireland’s oldest and most popular visitor attractions as it is home to a number of different animals including Asian elephants, Rothschild’s giraffes, Barbary lions, Sumatran tigers, California sea lions and penguins to name a few.
The zoo is accessible and its free car park has disabled parking spaces available for blue badge holders. The zoo also allows carers free admission, and there’s also accessible toilets, looped flat routes across the zoo and a free zoo map that highlights routes with a slight gradient.
People with mobility issues can also hire wheelchairs or take the Zoo-mobile, an accessible vehicle that can carry up to five people and drop them at various locations within the park.
The zoo opens from 10 am to 6 pm during the summer and 10 am to 4 pm during the winter months. Adult tickets cost £13.50 and children (aged four to 16) and seniors cost £6.75.
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Titanic Belfast tells the story of the Titanic, from her conception in Belfast in the early 1900s, through her construction and launch, to her famous maiden voyage and tragic end. It is located beside the Titanic Slipways, the Harland and Wolff Drawing Offices and Hamilton Graving Dock – the very place where Titanic was designed, built and launched in 1912.
This historic and popular attraction is also renowned for its accessibility. Titanic Belfast’s Chief Executive, Judith Owens, adds, “At Titanic Belfast, we are very proud to be consistently recognised as industry leaders on a local, national and international level for our accessibility standards. We aim to ensure that our visitors and employees access requirements are not only fully met but exceeded.”
All galleries at Titanic Belfast are fully accessible and there are escalators that visitors with mobility problems can use as well as two lifts which take visitors to all levels.
To get an insight into the fascinating history of Belfast and Northern Ireland, a visit to the City Hall is a must.
The home of Belfast City Council, City Hall was designed by the architect Sir Alfred Brumwell Thomas and completed in Portland stone in 1906. The building is a magnificent Baroque Revival 'wedding cake' built to reflect Belfast's city status, granted by Queen Victoria in 1888.
To really explore City Hall, visitors can go on 45-minute guided tours to get an extraordinary glimpse into areas not usually accessible to the general public. The tour guide will also highlight civic regalia and historic portraits along the way.
There is a unique visitor exhibition that stretches over 16 separate rooms exploring the history of Belfast and a gift shop located in the centre of the building as well as a coffee shop in the east wing of the building.
City Hall is very accessible as there are ramps at the front and rear entrances, wheelchair-friendly lifts to all floors, adapted toilets, and automatic door openers on all main access routes within the building and wheelchairs and mobility scooters available upon request.
Best restaurants in Belfast
Belfast has become a foodie’s dream destination with its varied cuisine offering something for everyone’s appetite. Here are some great accessible eateries to visit.
Located in the heart of Belfast, Michelin Star Deanes Eipic prides itself on producing food that is predominantly local, seasonal produce of the finest quality.
There are a variety of different menus and these change weekly, with the Friday lunch menu offering diners meals such as lamb, navet and lovage, while the Wednesday to Saturday menu offers asparagus, lobster and endive.
The restaurant isn’t just one of the best places to eat in the city, it has wheelchair access available and accessible toilets available.
Coco Restaurant and Bar
In the historic Linehall Street just behind City Hall is where Coco Restaurant and Bar is located and it is regarded as one of the best dining experiences visitors can enjoy in the city.
There are a variety of menus on offer to visitors and these range from the lunch menu and lazy Sunday menus to dinner and pre-theatre menus.
Dishes are also varied, with crispy Thai chicken, seared tuna and roast duck breast being just some of the popular meals people can enjoy.
With level access, the restaurant is accessible for people with mobility problems and wheelchair users.
The Ox Belfast restaurant has an enthusiastic approach to seasonality and local produce. Ox’s menus are designed around the best available seasonal produce and therefore feature top quality meat, sustainably sourced fish and seasonal vegetables and fruit.
Stephen, one of the founders of the restaurant, says, “We enjoy working for our customers and believe everyone should be able to enjoy fantastic food and wine, something a little different, in a relaxed environment.”
The restaurant’s summer menu includes main dishes such as cod, courgette, brandade and chorizo, while its dessert summer menu includes apricot, Sauternes, basil and almond frangipane.
The restaurant is easily accessible for visitors with mobility problems as there is level access into the venue and level access once inside the eatery. There is also accessible toilets and car parking for the public is within 200 metres of the venue.
Best accessible tours
Belfast is home to a number of accessible tours that allow visitors to explore the city despite suffering from mobility problems.
Value Cabs Taxi Tours
One of the best ways to get around Belfast is to go on Value Cabs’ Taxi Tours as visitors can take in many of the cultural and historical highlights without needing to walk long distances.
The pick-ups and drop-offs can be chosen by visitors and there are executive and multi-seat vehicles on offer.
To give you a flavour of the tours and what can be seen, the Belfast City Taxi Tour will take visitors to a number of attractions like the Belfast City Hall, Parliament Buildings, Titanic Belfast, the Albert Memorial Clock and Belfast Castle.
This tour is perfect for visitors who struggle to walk long distances and is a great way to travel to all the different attractions quickly.
Lagan Boat Company
The world’s only provider of authentic Titanic Harbour Boat Tours around the shipyards of Harland & Wolff and down the coast of Holywood in Co Down.
Lagan Boat Company was set-up in 1998 and now the tour operator tells the story of the RMS Titanic whilst sailing past where she was built and launched. Visitors can learn about the change the area has undertaken from its industrial heritage to the vibrant area it now is.
For visitors with mobility problems, there is free parking for Blue Badge holders and there is also a ramp leading from the path on the quayside down to the jetty.
The tour boat Mona has level access to the outside area of the main deck, but there are some small steps down to the internal seating area. The Joyce Too tour boat has steps from the jetty onto it, but there are handrails on both sides for visitors to grab onto.
Taste and Tour
One of the best ways to get to know a city is through its food and drink and Taste and Tour offer bespoke private tours.
These private tours can be tailored to a person’s requirements and can be altered to create a unique food and drink adventure.
This could be a private food tour around some of Belfast’s top eateries, a cookery demonstration or a bespoke dining experience. Visitors can be taken to the city’s micro-breweries, farms, cookery schools, producers, restaurants and bars.
Those with mobility problems who cannot walk long distances can also arrange bespoke tours to accommodate their disability.
Enjoy a show
The Grand Opera House is the premier theatre in Northern Ireland, showing renowned opera, dance, comedy, musicals and family shows.
The venue is fully accessible despite the building being 120-years-old – there’s a level entrance through the front doors, a lift in the main foyer to all levels of the theatre and accessible unisex toilets on all levels.
There are 11 wheelchair spaces in the main auditorium; these are situated in the stalls on the ground floor, circle level and upper circle level. The theatre even puts on access performances throughout the year, which you can find out more about on the box office information page.
To find out if there are any shows that interest you, visit the What’s On section of the Grand Opera House website.
Sing along to some cabaret
Cabaret Supper Club in Belfast offers visitors a sophisticated and glamorous evening of dining topped by a smorgasbord of refined cabaret acts.
This 1920s inspired cabaret club will ensure a classy and fun evening for all in attendance. Visitors will be dazzled by the breath-taking performances of fire breathing, burlesque and aerial acrobatics.
Music lovers with mobility problems do not need to fear missing out as the club is wheelchair accessible and the staff will be able to assist visitors to their seats.
The food that is served during the performance is also well-renowned and diners can enjoy meals such as salmon, Sorrento chicken, risotto and trio of duck.
This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.