Top 10 UK wheelchair friendly beach destinations

Top 10 UK wheelchair friendly beach destinations

Top 10 UK wheelchair friendly beach destinations

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While the beach may be in reach – ie described as wheelchair-friendly – you may find there’s still a downside to being beside the seaside.

James Coke, who has multiple sclerosis, explains that Blue Flag designated beaches can be a good indicator of which ones can be accessed. Part of the requirements for beaches to be awarded this status is to “provide features for wheelchair users”. However, this is this in itself does not mean you are guaranteed to be able to make the most of the coast you visit.

Mr Coke tells the Guardian: “In my eyes accessibility is all about the freedom of movement… but if the main feature is a ramp onto the beach, which leaves me marooned in the sand because my wheels won’t turn, then what’s the point?”

Robert Obey has compiled a comprehensive list of top beaches that aspire to give access all areas to all: “And when I say access, I mean getting onto the sand and, in some cases, into the sea.” In his article on the Disability Horizons website, he states: “Have you ever tried visiting the beach in a wheelchair? If you have, you’ll know that sand and wheels don’t mix… Unless you’re superhuman, you are going to need to use a beach wheelchair, and that’s where it gets tricky.”

Although there are plenty of accessible beaches in the UK, there aren’t enough beach wheelchairs. Beach Within Reach is an example of a UK charity offering beach wheelchairs that can be booked free of charge at locations in the Kent area, all paid for from donations.

They have this month just taken delivery of 6 additional wheelchairs as they expand their service.
 

In summary, though, it can be challenging to identify which places in the UK can be truly classed as fully accessible. However, thanks to Mr Obey’s research, here is a round-up of 10 places that take beach access much more seriously than others:

 

1. Cornwall: This map of accessible beaches across the county details where beach wheelchairs are available to hire.

Cornwall Beach
(Picture © Copyright Pierre Terre)
 

2. Devon: beaches offering beach wheelchairs for hire can be located at Accessible Countryside.

Devon BeachPhoto © Gareth James (cc-by-sa/2.0)
 

3. Brighton and Hove: this beach listed in Visit England‘s accessible coastal guide has beach wheelchairs for hire from the Seafront Office.

Brighton and hove
Photo © Geoff Tydeman (cc-by-sa/2.0)


4. Great Yarmouth:
beach wheelchairs are available from its tourist office.

Great Yarmouth
 © Copyright Evelyn Simak


5. Skegness:
hire beach wheelchairs by scrolling to the bottom of the page on the town’s tourism website.

Skegness pier
Photographer MOTORAL1987

6. Kent: Beach chairs can be booked free of charge from the Beach Within Reach charity at several locations, including Margate and Ramsgate – full details here.

Kingsgate
Photographer David Hollman
 

7. Broadhaven Beach, Pembrokeshire: this resort in Wales has a limited number of beach wheelchairs available to hire.

Broadhaven
Photographer David Evans
 

8. Langland Bay, Gower Peninsula: a Blue Flag beach in Wales where you can reserve a beach wheelchair to access the beach.

Langland
Photographer Trevor Rickard

9. Saundersfoot Beach, Wales: this large South East facing beach has a selection of beach wheelchairs for rent.

Saundersfoot
Photo © Jeremy Owen (cc-by-sa/2.0)
 

10. North Berwick, East Lothian: Beach Wheelchairs is a Scottish charity with beach wheelchairs available for hire.

North Berwick
Photography by Kim Traynor

Author: Adam Standeven, Writer, Runner and Father