How do I choose my accommodation?
When choosing accommodation, make sure it will have all the facilities you need. For example:
- lifts or ramps
- stair-free access to your room
- accessible toilet and shower or bath
- enough power sockets, if you need to plug in an oxygen or CPAP machine or a nebuliser
- wide doorways if you use a wheelchair.
Many accommodation booking websites give you the option to search for properties with disabled access and facilities. Handiscover is an accommodation booking website for people with accessibility needs.
The National Accessible Scheme
The National Accessible Scheme (NAS) helps you find accommodation in England suited to your needs.
The NAS puts accommodation into categories depending on how accessible it is. Each category has its own logo, which is displayed by providers that have been assessed.
You can find information on accessible holidays elsewhere in the UK from:
Camping and caravanning
If you’re planning to go camping or caravanning in the UK, have a look at the Camping and Caravanning Club’s advice for disabled people.
Going on a cruise holiday
Cruise holidays can be a great option for accessibility. Many cruise companies have accessible ships, with facilities like wheelchair access, wheel-in showers, grab rails, hearing facilities, and visual aids.
Different cruise companies offer different levels of accessibility, so look around to find the company that suits you. If you use oxygen therapy, check if you can bring it on board before booking.
In the UK
The National Rail Passenger Assist service lets you request assistance on your journey, including:
- a helping hand to get around the station
- support when boarding the train
- meeting you from your train and taking you to your next train or the exit
- arranging a ramp onto or off the train
- carrying your bags.
You can request assistance up to two hours before your journey by calling 0800 0223720 or texting 60083. You can also use the Passenger Assistance by Transreport app.
You can find accessibility information and contact details for individual train companies via the National Rail website.
The Sunflower Lanyard scheme helps you to let staff and other passengers know you might need some assistance or a little more time getting on and off the train. You can collect a lanyard at a Network Rail-managed station or buy one online. Find out more on the Hidden Disabilities website.
You may be eligible for a Disabled Persons Railcard, which will save you money on train tickets for you and a travel companion. Find out if you’re eligible and apply on the Trainline website.
National Rail services cover England, Scotland, and Wales. For information about accessibility on public transport in Northern Ireland, visit the Translink website.
If you’re travelling by Eurostar, you can organise special assistance by using their contact form or calling them on +44 (0)3432 186 186. They recommend organising assistance at least 48 hours before departure.
If you use oxygen, they ask that you bring a letter from your doctor to show at security.
You can find out more about assistance on Eurostar trains on their website.
If you’re using other train providers in Europe or elsewhere, it’s a good idea to contact them in advance to make sure they can provide what you need. Rail Europe has information about accessible train travel in Europe, and Seat 61 has information about travelling on trains around the world as a wheelchair user.
In the UK
National Express has an Assisted Travel Team which offers journey and booking information. You can discuss the assistance you need with them and they’ll advise you on what they can provide. Contact them on 03717 81 81 81 or via their online form.
National Express coaches are wheelchair accessible, but their wheelchair lifts cannot be deployed at all stops. They recommend wheelchair users book travel in advance, so that they can carry out checks.
You can take hand-held portable oxygen canisters or concentrators on National Express coaches. National Express cannot carry any larger canisters.
For more information on what assistance services National Express provide, see their website.
All Megabus coaches are wheelchair accessible, but they recommend wheelchair users contact them before buying a ticket.
Smaller coach companies may not have the facilities you require, so contact them before you book.
If you’re travelling by coach in the EU, you’re entitled to free assistance on long-distance coach journeys. You also have the right to help with getting on and off the coach, and the right to help at designated terminals.
The coach company has to let your companion travel with you free of charge if you can’t travel by yourself. Make sure you contact the coach company at least 36 hours before your trip.
See the Your Europe website for more information.
In other parts of the world, the regulations may be different. Be sure to contact the coach company well in advance of your planned trip.
Most ferries operated by UK and European companies have lifts, accessible toilets, and wheelchair facilities, and some can supply wheelchairs at terminals. Some have special cabins for disabled people or offer discounts.
Facilities vary depending on the ferry you use, so check with the ferry company before you book. Discover Ferries represents 13 ferry operators based in the UK, including P&O, Stena Line, and DFDS. You can find accessibility information and useful contacts on their website.
Travelling by car can give you more control over your journey. But remember to make sure there is accessible parking at your destination, and plan where you can stop along the way if you need to.
If you have mobility issues or get very breathless from walking, you may be able to get a Blue Badge. This lets you park for free within certain times and park on yellow lines. Find out more about who can get a Blue Badge and how to apply on the GOV.UK website.
UK Blue Badges can be used in most European countries. For more details see the GOV.UK website.
The UK Civil Aviation Authority provides detailed guidance about special assistance for air passengers. If you’ll need assistance, tell your airline at least 48 hours before flying. Find out more about the help you’re entitled to in the UK and the EU on the GOV.UK website.
If you use oxygen and you are planning to fly, have a look at our information on travelling with oxygen.
More information and support
- Tourism For All (0845 124 9971) is a charity that works to improve accessibility in tourism. They have a lot of information about accessible attractions and accommodation.
- The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) provides guidance on how to work with your travel provider to book holidays that meet your needs at every stage of the journey. They also have information about your legal rights.