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Most accessible winter events in the UK

8th November 2019

Although it might be cold and the weather can be a bit miserable, it’s a beautiful time of the year to get out and explore. One of the best ways to do this is by attending different winter events that take place in the UK.

From light shows and food events to Christmas celebrations, there are fantastic winter events to suit every taste.

Older people with mobility problems may feel that these types of festivals and events are inaccessible, but that isn’t the case. No matter whether someone struggles to walk long distances and needs to use a stair lift around the home or has to use a wheelchair, there are lots of accessible winter events in the UK. Here are some of the most popular ones you could visit.

Burning the Clocks from Same Sky

Location: Brighton

Event date: 21 December


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Burning the Clocks is a unique community event created by Same Sky that brings the whole city together to mark the shortest day of the year. Community groups and individuals make their own paper and willow lanterns and parade them, accompanied by samba bands and other musical groups, through the heart of the city.

Sarah Parsons, the project manager, adds: “The parade arrives at Brighton beach via Madeira Drive, where participants pass their lanterns onto the beach to form a huge bonfire. The burning marks the year’s end and looks forward to the renewal of the coming year. The ceremonial burning is followed by a spectacular firework display. The parade starts at 6.30pm and we’re all done by about 8pm.”

The event has worked hard to make it accessible for disabled people to participate in it, including working with local disabled groups to ensure that they are included. The route is now accessible for wheelchairs and there is a viewing platform so wheelchair-using participants can watch the burning and fireworks.

There is also a disability area where participants can use a disabled toilet and enjoy a seated area. Those of you wanting to watch can do so at numerous places in the city.

Sarah Parsons recommended some accessible places you can head to: “I would recommend going to Brighton Town Hall where Unified Rhythm, an integrated carnival band comprising of mainstream and special educational needs young people, will be performing to entertain crowds until the parade arrives (just after 6.30pm). I would then head to Marine Parade which looks down onto the beach giving you an excellent view of the fire show finale.”

Christmas at Kew

Location: Richmond

Event dates: 20 November 2019 – Sunday 5 January 2020

The sparkling Christmas at Kew event will, for the seventh year, light up the gardens. The illuminated trail has a new route this year which will feature breath-taking installations of light and sound created by an array of UK international creative studios and artists.

Some popular attractions visitors will be able to enjoy include:

  • New route for 2019 brings a waterfall of lights cascading from towering 18m-high Treetop Walkway in Kew’s arboretum
  • Laser projections to animate the cathedral-like Temperate House boasting 15,000 glimmering panes of glass
  • Smoking white haze arches, a choir of holly bushes, and a walkway of glittering pink cherry trees

What makes the event even more special is the fact everyone can enjoy it as the 2.6km long trail has been designed so that it is fully accessible by wheelchairs, mobility scooters and buggies. Some interactive elements may invite the audience onto the grass, but additional matting is provided.

There are accessible toilets at Victoria Plaza, Pavilion Bar and Grill and Brentford Gate and accessible parking that’s free to drivers with the Blue Badge.

Click here to buy your tickets from Kew Gardens.

Festival of Christmas at the Eden Project

Location: Bodelva (near St Austell)

Event date: 30 Nov – 30 Dec 2019

The Festival of Christmas at the Eden Project sees the best musicians from across Cornwall playing festive songs in the Mediterranean Biome.

Suspended above the performers is the Gaia sculpture and in an outdoor music pavilion, there will be enchanting performances by a traditional brass band. These concerts will be taking place between 5-8pm from 30 November - 17 December, Fri - Sun, and 18-23 December and 27-30 December daily.

The Eden Project will also have a spectacular Avenue of Lights and visitors will be able to explore the beautifully lit Biomes after dark. You can meet magical creatures and Christmas characters during your visit.

On 23 November there is a Christmas Jumper swap shop, while Father Christmas’ Eden camp will be back with his merry band of elves and the ice rink is open to visitors.

All the Christmas events are accessible to everyone and visitors with mobility issues will be able to take part in the different events that are taking place throughout the Eden Project.           

Longleat Festival of Light

Location: Somerset

Event date: 9th November 2019 to 5th January 2020


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The Longleat Festival of Light will bring to life myths and legends from all over the world back to life.

A spokesperson for Longleat said: “This unmissable adventure is not for the faint-hearted – legendary figures and mythical beasts await around every corner. Get ready to marvel at the gods and magical beings of Ancient Greece, re-live heroic tales of British folklore and beware the colossal Kraken, a gargantuan sea monster lurking in the depths of Longleat’s Half Mile Lake, ready to engulf any ship that sails too close…”

All the Festival of Light lanterns are outside and next to wide, flat, easily accessible paths which have permanent or temporary ramps in place at any steps. The Festival of Light can be very busy on peak dates and visitors with specific needs might prefer to visit on quieter dates.

Longleat has accessible toilets, a Queue Assist Scheme, accessible parking areas, concessionary tickets and individual attractions that visitors with mobility problems can enjoy.

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

Location: London

Event date: 21 November 2019 – 5 January 2020


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Located in the heart of London, Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is free to enter and there are lots to see and do for visitors of all ages.

New attractions include the world’s tallest transportable Observation Wheel, a new theme ‘A Christmas Carol’ at the Magical Ice Kingdom, Paddington™ on Ice, Mr Men & Little Miss and a fantastic new programme of comics at the Winter Wonderland Comedy Club.

There’s also the UK’s largest open-air ice rink to enjoy, new après ski vibes at Bar Ice and some spectacular performances in the Circus MegaDome! In total there are more than 100 spectacular rides and attractions, thrilling shows, London’s biggest Christmas Market and Santa Land.

All entrances are accessible, and the site has a flat, tarmacked surface. Throughout the event, organisers have endeavoured to ensure that the attractions, games, catering and toilets are as accessible as possible. This includes ramps and handrails to catering areas, lowered counters in our Box offices and hearing loops in the circus and Ice show.

Most accessible winter events in the UK:

  • Burning the Clocks from Same Sky
  • Christmas at Kew
  • Festival of Christmas at the Eden Project
  • Longleat Festival of Light
  • Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.