Travel & days out
Whether it’s around the UK or overseas, there are many ways to make travelling more straightforward and accessible to a visually impaired person. From airport assistance to days out at art galleries, our handy guide has got you covered.
National Rail provide a passenger assistance service to give disabled passengers a little extra support on their journey. Assistance can be booked 24 hours a day by calling 0800 0223720. It can be booked on any journey and provides help around the station, boarding a train and provides someone to meet you off the train at your destination or transfer station. Assistance needs to be booked at least 24 hours before you travel. For more information, visit: www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations_destinations/disabled_passengers.aspx
Disabled people can get up to a 1/3 off rail fares for them, and another adult travelling with them with the Disabled Persons Railcard. Find out more at www.disabledpersons-railcard.co.uk
You can request special assistance when you book your flight, it must be booked at least 48 hours in advance of travelling. Special assistance can provide help through the airport and security, and a designated seating area. Lanyards may be available to inform staff of your/your child’s disability. On board, instructions are available in braille and ‘in lap’ safety demonstrations can be provided. Airlines must accept guide dogs, inform your airline if you are planning on travelling with a guide dog so they can seat you accordingly. More information is available at: www.caa.co.uk/Passengers/PRM/Passengers-with-disabilities-and-reduced-mobility
Visitor Attractions and Leisure Facilities
Visitor attractions and leisure facilities may offer discounts to you and your child. It is always worth getting in touch with them before you go and find out what help they can offer you. Visitor attractions should offer you free entry if you are supporting your child to attend.
Many places won’t ask for proof that you are a carer or they may just ask you a few questions to check. Others will ask to see a copy of a PIP or DLA letter or a certificate of registration of visual impairment. As you might need to use this letter more than once make a copy of it rather than taking the original.
AccessAble’s detailed access guide can take the guess work out of planning your day trip. You can select where you want to go, what you want to do, and what access requirements you need, and it will show you a list of appropriate places.
Audio description can make the world of theatre accessible and enjoyable for your child. Contact your local theatre to find out what audio described performances they have. The VocalEyes website also has information on audio described performances around the country: www.vocaleyes.co.uk
For many blind or partially sighted theatre-goers, a touch tour is an essential part of the theatre experience. Having access to the stage, set and costumes before a performance takes place provides extra detail to allow them to engage with the production. Always contact the theatre ahead of a performance and see if they are able to arrange this for your child.
Museums and galleries
Many places can provide additional accessible resources for your family, such as tactile maps, braille/large print information, tactile artefacts, audio guides, guided tours and more. Always contact places you are interested in visiting so they know what is required.
Some venues also have particular days of the year specifically designed for children with a visual impairment, where they may be able to touch artefacts and displays usually off limits to the general public. The VocalEyes website also lists audio-described events at museums and galleries, so it’s worth checking out their website before planning your trip: www.vocaleyes.co.uk
Most places provide a free carer ticket for every full cost adult or child ticket, to help reduce the cost of your day out.
VICTA run a range of activities and day trips, specifically catered for visually impaired children and their families. We also offer a range of UK and international trips for visually impaired teenagers and young adults. These trips increase confidence, independence and teach a wide range of life skills.
UK charity Look organise events throughout the year where VI young people, parents and families can meet up and make new friends. Look also has a specially-adapted holiday flat in Scarborough for the use of visually impaired young people and their families.
Seable provide tailored international holidays for visually impaired people to travel on their own, as a couple, with their families or as a group of friends.
Traveleyes provides award winning holidays for both blind and sighted travellers. Available for individuals, couples or friends, they have exciting holiday destinations around the world.
Skiing for Visually Impaired
This website has useful links to search for Ski Resorts in Europe that are accessible for blind and partially sighted skiers of all abilities.
North Wales Accessible Holidays for the Blind and Visually Impaired
This charity has a holiday caravan at Lido Beach Caravan Park, Prestatyn North Wales. The caravan has sympathetic lighting, additional lighting, talking microwave, braille games and other equipment to ensure that visually impaired people will have a safe and comfortable stay. The holidays are heavily subsidised, or free for those on a low income.
DisabledHolidays.com can provide help and advice when booking a holiday if you are blind or partially sighted. They can advise on the suitability of a location, and help find accessible activities and accommodation in the area.
We have a range of blogs about days out and leisure activities. See the list below, or explore our blog page.