Holidays in the United Kingdom
For holiday makers staying in the UK there are a wide range of options. From accessible hotels, caravans and motor homes to residential activity centres for groups.
Helps identify how accessible the accommodation is for people who may have difficulty walking, use a wheelchair, wear a hearing aid or have impaired eyesight.
The website provides a very useful search facility for accommodation, tourist attractions and activities.
(CHuC) provides information about away from home accommodation with hoists.
A website containing details of accessible caravan and camping sites within the UK. This usually means they have adapted toilet or shower facilities, but please be aware they may not all be accessible by wheelchair.
Hires out a wide beamed boat and a narrow boat for canal cruises.
Aim to promote well-being by providing affordable canal boat trips particularly for disadvantaged people. All trips include a crew and skipper and there are plenty of opportunities to get involved. There is no reduction for self-drive bookings because the crews are not paid.
Provide respite care in a holiday setting for disabled people and carers. UK and European breaks
Provides free cruises on Scotland’s canals for people with special needs. Cruises run from branches at Ratho near Edinburgh, Falkirk, Kirkintilloch and Highland. In addition, a purpose-built holiday boat based at Falkirk is available.
Provide group holidays for visually impaired people, although sighted people can join too. You can go solo, as a couple or with friends.
Group Holidays / Residential Activity Centres
Group holidays can be great for young people and older people alike. Some cater for particular disabilities and some may provide extra support. We have included a selection from the Scottish Disability Directory.
Provide all inclusive, group holidays for adults with learning difficulties.
Have activity centres in Exmoor, Kielder and the Lake District. They enables people with physical, sensory and learning disabilities to experience exciting, challenging and enjoyable outdoor activities.
Provide inclusive holiday, education, and activity centre in the Lake District. Offers fully inclusive programmes for groups.
Is a holiday centre in Hampshire for people with special needs.
Provide holiday accommodation for children and young people with physical or learning disablities in Cheshire.
Provide group holiday travel for disabled people, their carers and relatives in the UK and abroad. They also arrange tailored made holidays both within the UK and abroad.
Provide free activity based holidays for young people between the ages of 14 – 30 who are living with cancer or who have been in remission for up to 5 years.
Accessible accommodation in Scotland
Based in Dirleton (East Lothian). Facilities available include electrically adjustable nursing beds, bedroom-to-bathroom overhead track hoist, wheelchair-accessible shower(wetroom).
Based in Fife. Facilities available include electric profiling bed, tracking hoists, wet rooms.
Based in Melrose (Scottish Borders). Provide a range of disabled equipment, including an electric height-adjustable profiling bed, electric ceiling hoists with continuous track to transport from bed to toilet and to bath. A portable hoist is available for use in the all five accessible cottages, and three of the cottages have a fixed ceiling trapeze pull. Cottages with showers have shower rooms – not cabinets.
Based in Perthshire. Facilities include wheelchair-accessible en-suite bedroom, with a hoist to aid travel from bed to bathroom.
Based in Cairngorm National Park. Facilities include wheel-in shower area with fold down shower seat, height-adjustable wash hand basin / mirror and closomat shower toilet. Ceiling track hoist and height-adjustable electric bed in each main bedroom.
For further information on accessible accommodation in Scotland, check out the accessible accommodation section at Visit Scotland
For those heading further afield, we have listed a selection of tour operators who can arrange holidays for disabled travelers abroad, as well as a selection of companies arranging specific types of holiday’s.
Offer wheelchair accessible safari holidays in South Africa.
Provide accessible tourist services to disabled travelers in Europe, Asia, Africa, Americas, Australia, New Zealand, and also cruises.
Provide vehicles adapted to take sick and terminally ill people on pilgrimages.
A special tour agency for travel in Australia. They offer escorted and aided day excursions within Australia that are available for people with disabilities from overseas countries. Depending on the need, they can provide carers and plan the trip according to the interests of clients.
Provide supported care holidays in Spain.
Provide accessible sailing trips located throughout Greece.
Provide personalised tours for disabled people and those with a sight impairment who are visitors to South Africa.
Take children with disabilities or special needs on a pilgrimage holiday to Lourdes in France.
Provide services for physically disabled holidaymakers in Cyprus.
Other Disabled Facilities
Offers disabled people independent access to locked public toilets around the country.
The latest edition of the National Key Scheme (NKS) Guide includes the location of the 9,000 NKS toilets fitted with the NKS lock. Additionally, separate regional guides can be bought for £3.50 each. You can buy a Radar NKS key for £4.50.
If you have a smartphone, you can download their new FREE app to locate your nearest toilet facility and get directions by road, bus or foot. Available from the App Store.
Direct enquiries website has the full list of NKS toilets you can search for free.
For more information see our Accessible Toilets information guide.
Travel insurance companies
Providers of travel insurance for people with disabilities and pre-existing medical conditions.
Provide life and travel insurance for people with ill-health or disabilities.
Provide a range of insurance products for people with mental health conditions and their families including travel insurance and life assurance.
Many comparison websites allow you to search for policies for pre-existing conditions. If you have difficulty finding a suitable policy, The British Insurers Brokers’ Association may be able to help.
The free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitles the holder to free or discounted medical treatment at state-run hospitals and GPs in any European Union country, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. It replaced the old E111 form in 2005.
Many travellers wrongly assume, due to its name, that the EHIC is a substitute for travel insurance. The free card allows you to be treated for the same cost as a local using the same hospital and crucially, pre-existing conditions and chronic illnesses are covered. However, you can only use hospitals and doctors signed up to the EHIC scheme. If you are in any doubt, check with EHIC before starting treatment.
Medical equipment/ Dialysis
Arrange for oxygen to be delivered in many countries worldwide, as well as at a number of airports (depending on countries).
A website of dialysis centres throughout the world.
Provides information on dialysis centres throughout the UK.
Cruises that offer dialysis treatment to people with kidney disease.
Equipment Hire (UK and Abroad)
It can be helpful to hire disability equipment when going on holiday rather than taking your own. Included are a selection of organisations that hire out specific aids and equipment such as wheelchairs and scooters.
You may find it useful to search our Aids and Equipment category in the Scottish Disability Directory for more information on hiring equipment. Select “hire” in the Advanced Keyword search box. This will highlight organisations and shops that may hire disability equipment in the UK and abroad.
Lend items of medical equipment, such as wheelchairs, back rests and commodes, to people on a short term basis.
Specialists in independent living aids offering a wide selection of products all aimed at helping disabled / less mobile people maintain their independence in Spain
Provide equipment hire and holiday apartments in Cyprus.
Hire and sell wheelchairs, scooters and disabled products in Spain.
Hire out scooters and electric wheelchairs in Canada.
A specialist mobility equipment hire service covering all major world holiday destinations offering mobility scooters, wheelchairs and a whole host of mobility and healthcare products essential for making any holiday abroad complete. Site provides details of their delivery services and product information, contacts and prices.
For further information check out our Accessible Holidays Blog.
For information on grants and trusts that you may be able to apply to for financial help you with your holiday, see our Holiday and Respite Grants Information Guide.
Your Passport to a Smooth Journey is a guide for that explains your rights and what to do to make sure you have the best chance of a smooth journey. If you are disabled or have difficulty moving around, you can receive free assistance when you fly to and from the UK and Europe, including on domestic flights.
Information last updated on 17 May 2022. Please note that information may be subject to change. All information is provided in good faith but Disability Information Scotland does not endorse any product or service referred to within this resource.
If you would like this information guide in another version then please contact us and we will post or email you a copy.
Access & Accessibility:Frequently Asked Questions
Through our helpline we receive enquiries spanning a wide range of different topics. Here is a selection of those most asked:
Can I use my Blue Badge in Europe?
The Blue Badge scheme is for drivers or passengers with severe mobility problems. The scheme provides a range of on-street parking concessions enabling Blue Badge holders to park closer to where they need to go. The scheme operates throughout the UK and is managed by local authorities who deal with applications and issue badge. The Blue Badge is recognised across Europe, so you benefit from the same parking rights as anyone else with a disability in whichever country you’re in.
Parking concessions for holders of a disabled parking card differ from country to country, so it’s important to check the rules in the country you’re visiting
For further information check out the worldwide guide to parking abroad by The International Automobile Federation.
How can I search for accessible places to visit in Scotland?
Whether you are planning a meal out, a weekend trip or day out to one of Scotland’s parks, there are websites and ‘apps’ that you can use in your search for an accessible venue or activity.
Euan’s Guide is a disabled access review website and app that aims to ‘remove the fear of the unknown’ and inspire people to try new places.
Age Scotland have developed a mini-guide on accessible days out in Britain. Check out the Great British accessible attractions mini-guide.
OpenBritain is your website that provides information on accessible tourism in the UK and includes day trips and tourist attractions.
Disabled Go provide access information on venues across the UK and Ireland.
For more information on accessible places to visit in Scotland search our Scottish Disability Directory and select the ‘Holidays/Respite’ category.
How can I get a RADAR key?
The National Key Scheme (NKS), often referred to as RADAR keys, offer disabled people independent access to locked public accessible toilets around the country. You can buy from Disability Rights UK either over the phone or through their website. Additionally, most local authorities have one-stop-shops or local charities that you can get them from. You will need to provide proof of your disability when buying one.
For a list of locations where you can buy a RADAR key local to you, see our list of RADAR key retailers.
Call the Disability Information Scotland helpline on: 0300 323 9961
Access & Accessibility:Search for Local Organisations
Our quick search tool can connect you to over 3000 service providers, suppliers and organisations supporting people across Scotland. To find support near you, simply enter your search term and select your local authority.