Wheelchair-Friendly Days Out in Essex with your WAV
Now that summer is almost here, many users of wheelchair access vehicles are looking to get out and about and enjoy the sunnier weather. Ransome Mobility provide car adaptations for customers across East Anglia, including Essex, and have a great knowledge of the area. Here we look at four of the county’s main tourist attractions, and their facilities for disabled visitors.
Opened in 1963, this famous attraction is in Maldon Road, Stanway, and has more than 240 species of animals, from aardvarks to zebras. Set in 60 acres of parkland and lakes, it has a section devoted purely to African animals – Kingdom of the Wild – where visitors can see white rhinos, ostriches and giraffes. If the weather is unkind, there are several undercover areas too.
Any visitor with a disability needs to buy the appropriate age ticket but is then entitled to free admission for a carer or assistant. Manual wheelchairs and mobility scooters are available on-site, and there is a marked ‘Easier Route’ around the zoo which avoids the steepest hills. All the toilets have facilities for disabled users.
Colchester Castle Museum
Colchester Castle was built on the remains of a Roman temple, and is largest Norman keep in the whole of the UK. Visitors are told the story of Colchester, Britain’s oldest recorded town, and can view important historical finds, including Celtic coin hoards, Roman jewellery, medieval paintings and Civil War armour. There are plenty of interactive displays too – you can ‘ride’ a Roman chariot or dress up as an Iron Age Briton.
Disabled parking is available nearby, and there are two accessible lifts inside the building. Guide and assistance dogs are welcome, and there are sensory aids available on request, including braille maps and audio guide descriptions. However, some of the guided tours may be inaccessible to people with mobility difficulties.
Audley End House and Gardens
This 17th-century house just outside Saffron Walden is a great place to go if you want to see one of the finest examples of Jacobean architecture in the whole country. The impressive mansion has a Great Hall, intimate dressing rooms, libraries and a chapel, while you also get an idea of life ‘below stairs’ as people dress up as servants in the service wing.
Young visitors can get up close to the horses in the Victorian stable year, and there is also a separate children’s play area next to the café. And don’t forget the gardens, which were designed by Capability Brown and provide a spectacularly colourful backdrop throughout the year.
There are five disabled bays set aside in the car park, and you are allowed to set down outside the house as well. Inside, mobility scooters and wheelchairs are available for hire, but these must be pre-booked. The first floor is inaccessible by wheelchair, but the approach to all the accessible toilets and shop is level, while the restaurants have ramps. Assistance dogs are welcome, and there are BSL tours too.
East Anglian Railway Museum
This museum, located in the Wakes Colne and Chappel railway station, is a must for all steam buffs, although there are diesel and electric trains on display too. Visitors can also see locomotives being restored to their former glory in the restoration shed. On one of the frequent event days, the steam or diesel trains are operated over a short section of track. A new miniature railway is scheduled to open during 2019.
There is accessible parking in the museum yard, separate from the main car park. All the museum buildings have disabled access, but you will need a vehicle to reach all parts of the site. This is because the only way over the line is via a step footbridge. Disabled toilets are available at reception and there are extra accessible toilets next to the restoration shed, which are open on event days or by arrangement.
Car Adaptations from Ransome Mobility
Ransome Mobility are specialists in the sale of nearly new and used WAVs. We can install a wide range of car adaptations tailored to your individual requirements for customers in Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire. These include steering wheel balls, twin-flip accelerators, and a range of wheelchair and scooter hoists.
If you want to find out what vehicles we currently have in stock, just click on the link above. If you can’t see what you are looking for there, contact us and we will do our best to source it for you.
(Pictures: PIXABAY.COM and ROB FARROW/GEOGRAPH.ORG.UK)