Great accessible UK weekend breaks: Nottingham
29th October 2018
There is so much more to Nottingham than just being the home to the legendary outlaw Robin Hood! With its rich history, famed culture and iconic sporting venues, the city is a great destination to visit for a long weekend away.
What makes Nottingham a fantastic holiday destination is the fact it is accessible to all. The last thing people who need to use electric stair lifts want to do when choosing a holiday destination is to worry about whether the attractions, restaurants and city tours are accessible.
Fortunately, the city is regarded as one of the most accessible places in the UK and here we take you through the most accessible attractions, restaurants and tours in Nottingham.
Best accessible attractions to visit
Nottingham has lots of great attractions to visit and here are three accessible places you can head to.
Sherwood Forest is world-famous as being the stomping ground for Robin Hood and, ever since Victorian times it has been a magnet for visitors.
You will be amazed by the incredible history that the forest possesses as it was once a medieval hunting forest that stretched across thousands of acres. Historians have found a lost Viking meeting place and a medieval palace in the forest.
Whilst visiting this famous, old forest might not instantly spring to mind as being accessible, there are lots of things visitors with mobility problems can do.
A popular pastime is to go riding and with Coloured Cob Equestrian Centre, which is located at the northern edge of Sherwood and has riding lessons for the disabled available. You can go on rides through the limestone gorge of Creswell Crags.
The forest is fully accessible to both wheelchair users and those with mobility issues, as visitors can hire wheelchairs for free. The walking trails are made of solid mud, also making them accessible.
Head to the Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall
With over half a million visitors every year, the Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall Nottingham are two of the UK's most successful touring venues, leading the way for arts and entertainment in the East Midlands region. Their diverse programme of events includes internationally renowned orchestras, the highest quality ballet, contemporary dance, opera and touring drama alongside West End musicals, family shows, stand-up comedy and rock & pop music. Also offering a wide range of workshops and projects involving the local community, free foyer performances, backstage tours, conference and meeting facilities, plus our bustling café bar and restaurant, there really is something here for everyone.
There is level access into both the Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall from street level. Each venue has a lift that accesses all floors. There is a layby outside the Royal Concert Hall that can be used as a drop-off point, and staff can provide a wheelchair to allow easy access from the layby to your seats if needed. Both venues have wheelchair spaces and seats that are suitable to transfer into from a wheelchair. Staff can look after other mobility aids, such as walkers, whilst you enjoy the performance. Staff can offer guiding assistance and we provide a guide dog sitting service, too.
The Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall Nottingham is a member of the ‘Take a Seat’ initiative, offering older people a chance to sit down and catch their breath when they are out and about. The venues are also a member of the Dementia Action Alliance and offer regular Dementia Friends information sessions for all its staff.
The Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall has a free to join Access Requirement Register to help box office staff find the best available seats for your needs. If you are unable to attend a performance without the support of someone else, being part of our ARR means you can access a free personal assistant ticket.
The Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall’s Front of House manager, Emily Malen, said: “Every member of our staff, backstage and front of house, is involved in the work we do to make our theatre and concert hall as accessible as possible and I think that makes a huge difference. We are committed to this as a whole organisation. We are an award-winning venue for access and have been accredited with best practice recognition by Attitude is Everything, the National Autistic Society, and CredAbility. as well as recently being nominated for an Inclusive Tourism Award.”
Gardening with a slightly unusual backdrop this weekend! Our volunteer garden team were helping plant up the formal gardens amidst the roaring dinosaurs!— Wollaton Hall (@WollatonHall) October 21, 2018
Get in touch if your green fingered & have a few hours to spare helping in our parks & gardens! #volunteer #wollaton pic.twitter.com/zesSaxtLuA
Wollaton Hall is an Elizabethan house set in the grounds of a 500-acre deer park. Built in 1588, it belonged to the Willoughby family until it was sold to Nottingham City Council in 1925 and the following year opened as the Natural History Museum it is today. As well as the museum, the grounds are home to three cafés, three shops, a lake for scenic walks and 300 red and fallow deer, amongst other British wildlife.
Sarah Burhouse, Business Support Assistant for Wollaton Hall, says, “We are proud of our accessibility at Wollaton.We provide coach parking as well as ample blue badge parking bays in a variety of areas. Our cafés and shops are all wheelchair and service dog-friendly. The hall is accessible to wheelchair users via a platform lift and once inside an internal lift will take you to all publicly accessible floors. We provide the loan of wheelchairs upon request and have guides who are willing to lend a helping hand whenever needed. We also have ample disabled toilet and changing facilities in all outlet areas as well as an additional disabled toilet with an electronic hoist facility in the courtyard buildings.”
Best restaurants in Nottingham
Nottingham has a selection of restaurants for every taste, from Michelin starred eateries and restaurants serving international foods to traditional pubs serving wholesome grub. Here are some great places to eat at that are also very accessible for diners with mobility problems.
Located in Mapperley Park, the eatery is the third restaurant owned by the Aziz family and it aims to serve home-style cooking in a relaxed environment. The menu has been inspired by dishes the family enjoyed whilst growing up in Kashmir.
The Junction Goat Ka Salan is a signature dish, but there’s also Dish of the Day specials such as Tika Tak and other foods that will give you an insight into the street food scene of Lahore.
The restaurant is wheelchair accessible and there is parking close-by to Masala Junction, so diners don’t have to walk too far.
Revolucion de Cuba
Nottingham is a city that is home to cuisine from around the world and the Revolucion de Cuba restaurant is one that serves the very best Cuban food you can try.
The dishes you can try are authentic and the recipes have been passed through the owners’ families. With Cuba having been a Caribbean island, a Spanish colony and an American territory its cuisine is full of different styles.
From pork belly skewers and roasted pork tacos to burritos and grilled swordfish, there are lots of different dishes you can enjoy.
The Nottingham chain of the restaurant has disabled access to the ground floor with wide doorways and lots of space for wheelchair users to manoeuvre around.
Georges Great British Kitchen
Nottingham is where the story of Georges Great British Kitchen began and now the restaurant has opened in Newcastle, Leeds and Liverpool.
The restaurant celebrates the best of British food but with a unique twist. Each dish uses carefully selected ingredients with nothing artificial added.
Georges Great British Kitchen has since picked up awards like the 'Best New Venue' in 2015 and 'Best City Centre Experience' in 2016 at the Nottingham Post Food & Drink Awards as well as winning the International Restaurant & Bar Design Award along the way!
In the Nottingham restaurant, diners can enjoy meals like traditional Scottish haddock, a chicken fillet burger and rump steak to name just a few.
If you have mobility problems, then you shouldn’t be put off from visiting as the restaurant in Nottingham is wheelchair accessible and staff can help those with mobility issues get to their seats.
Best accessible tours
There are several accessible tours on offer to visitors with mobility problems and here are some of the best.
Madame Parboiled Ink
Madame Parboiled Ink tours and entertainments are performed by Kath George, a tour guide with decades of experience. Most of the tours are adaptable to any group and are tailored to people’s needs.
Tours around Nottingham are available with stops for tea, coffee or even a beer if the customers wish, as well as meals. They are all historically based and bring in some of the more comical elements of the city’s heroes and history.
Kath George from Madame Parboiled Ink, adds, “The Beggars Banquet is much loved by our more senior guests and it can be arranged at various venues depending on the needs of the group or even taken to a venue of choice.
“It is a full 3 hours of entertainment in which food and drink are delivered as part of the performance and is based in the Victorian Soup Kitchens. It is a comedy and sing-song which encourages group participation. It is the story of four people all trying to get by in Victorian Nottingham.
“We encourage tour operators to call and talk to us so that we can best tailor the event to the group’s needs. For instance, if they wanted to do the Historical Pub Tour but were less ambulant we would not include a visit to the caves but would reserve a ground floor room and deliver the storytelling there.
“If they wanted a performance of the Beggars Banquet but had members who like to be settled in their hotel in the evening we would discuss the possibility of performing in the Hotel with an evening meal in keeping with the banquet included.”
The Nottingham Heroes & Villains Tour
There are tours which offer visitors walking tours and these have been running tours in and around Nottingham since 1989.
There are specialist tours and one which used to be very popular is the spooky Nottingham Heroes and Villains Tour which introduced visitors to the very first vampire, evil murderers and homicidal medieval kings. Groups will tour the city’s main points of interest and hear fascinating tales from Nottingham’s past, including stories about its most famous resident, Robin Hood.
Tours take around 2 hours and include gentle walking. The route is accessible for wheelchair users and those with mobility problems and there are lots of disabled toilets available throughout the city that you can stop at during the tour.
Trent River Cruises
There are a range of cruise packages that your can enjoy on the River Trent and these take in some of the most iconic attractions in the city.
Afternoon cruises are popular and there are some which are two-hour trips that not only allow cruisers to see the sights along the River Trent, but you can be served with assorted sandwiches and fresh cream cakes with your bottomless cup of tea or coffee.
There are fully accessible boats that offer truly disabled-friendly boat trips on the River Trent that can carry large groups of up to 40 passengers.
Watch live music at the Motorpoint Arena Nottingham
In the heart of the city centre is the Motorpoint Arena Nottingham and this venue showcases the biggest names in live music, comedy and sports.
With a capacity of 10,000, the arena is a popular stop for the world’s biggest stars and in 2018/19 some of the acts coming to the venue include Mariah Carey, Strictly Come Dancing Live and Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds.
The venue is easily accessible for visitors with mobility difficulties and accessibility needs. With flat access, lifts to all floors, and automated doors in most areas.
The Motorpoint Arena Nottingham work closely with ‘Attitude Is Everything’ who improve disabled people’s access to live music by working in partnership with audiences, artists and the music industry to implement a charter of best practice in the UK. The venue was awarded Gold level of the Charter of Best Practice in September 2013. They also work with ‘CredAbility’, a quality assurance system committed to supporting disabled customers and are a CredAbility Verified Accessible venue.
Watch a test match at Trent Bridge
Trent Bridge is one of the most iconic sporting stadiums in the UK as the cricket ground regularly plays host to England Test and one-day international cricket matches. It is also home to Nottinghamshire, who compete in the county cricket championships.
Considered by many as one of the best grounds in the world to watch cricket, the stadium dates back to the 1830s. It wasn’t until 1899 that Trent Bridge played host to England playing against Australia in an Ashes series.
Visitors with mobility problems do not need to worry about the accessibility of the stadium as Trent Bridge has lots of wheelchair viewing positions available in the William Clarke and Smith Cooper Stands, as well as the Hound Road Upper, Radcliffe Road Lower and Radcliffe Road Middle sections of the venue.
There is also disabled parking at the stadium and for cricket fans who are blind or partially sighted, you can collect a headset from the Radcliffe Road Reception for ball-by-ball commentary.
Image credits: Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall.
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