Goosemire Cottages Blog

Disabled Access To The Lake District

Date: 23rd September 2011
Filed under: Things To Do, Top Tips
Tagged: coniston, disabled access, lake district, windermere

The Lake District is Britain's largest and most visited National Park, and offers a variety of outdoor activities, as well as various literary and artistic associations. Of course, the biggest attraction is the spectacular scenery and most of the larger and well-known lakes, including Ullswater and Windermere, are accessible to any visitor and offer a wide range of facilities.

In general, disabled access to the Lake District has improved in recent years and the Park has listed various routes as suitable for wheelchair users, including Beech Hill, Windermere and Browne Howe plus Coniston. In fact, there are over 40 routes throughout the Lakes that are part of the ‘Miles Without Stiles’ program, and are suitable for those who have trouble walking, as well as those who are visually impaired. The routes are chosen for both their accessibility and their scenic beauty.

The Lake District is a great destination for outdoor pursuits, and being handicapped need not be an insurmountable obstacle. Many companies offer programs of outdoor activities that vary in both the length and intensity, and are suitable for everybody, including those with a handicap. Participants can enjoy such activities as canoeing, rock climbing, hiking, caving and orienteering. For those who enjoy boating or fishing, Coniston boating center offers the convenience of electric wheelchair accessible boats, able to accommodate six wheelchairs.

The weather does not always cooperate in the Lake District and there are plenty of indoor attractions and activities. Most of the area’s most popular attractions offer disabled access, including The World of Beatrix Potter, Keswick’s Pencil Museum and the Wordsworth Museum at Dove Cottage, the poet’s former home. A good place to start any visit to the Lakes is at the National Park Visitor Center in Brockhole, and the facility offers full wheelchair access to its indoor areas and grounds, and has electric scooters that can be borrowed at no charge.

There is a wide range of accommodation in the Lakes and much of it does allow better disabled access to the Lake District. In addition to the hotels, bed and breakfasts and farmhouses that cater to handicapped visitors, some cabins and cottages are also accessible, located on level ground, with features such as ramps, wide doorways and wheelchair accessible kitchen appliances and bathrooms. Tourist offices have lists of accommodation that caters specifically to those with a handicap, and some companies even offer self catering short breaks aimed at disabled people.