• Tracey


Last week we managed to get away for our annual family holiday in the UK, and it was by far the most successful and enjoyable for a good few years. I have struggled in recent years to find a self catering holiday cottage that meets my daughter’s needs. She needs almost level access to the property, a downstairs bedroom and bathroom, preferably accessible, or at least with grab rails. I have found when searching that most properties come with a profiling bed, hoist etc that she doesn’t need, and in fact will refuse to sleep in a profiling bed with any hint of a bed rail. This year we were more open on our location in the hope of finding that elusive ‘best fit’ holiday cottage.

I began my search in October last year, and booked somewhere mid November near the North Yorkshire Moors. So throughout the Covid 19 lockdown it was touch and go as to whether or not the holiday would go ahead. We were relieved to receive an email a couple of weeks before our trip confirming that the cottage was open. We also received an updated holiday charter, giving guidelines for both us and the owner regarding health and safety. Our arrival time was delayed by 2 hours to ensure the cottage was thoroughly cleaned between lets.

We had learnt some lessons on previous holidays, and so took my daughter’s bedding (she likes her double duvet on a single bed and her own pillows), requested a shower chair and took her bath seat in case. This would hopefully mean a good night’s sleep and no additional stresses at bath/shower time.

So what made this so successful? My daughter chose her bedroom, not the single with all the space we had expected, but the twin room. She was able to easily reach the curtains in the room, and get to the bathroom, so was independent in the mornings. There was very little furniture moving needed to make this work for her. She said ‘wow’ when she saw the fully accessible wet room, complete with rails around the toilet and a height adjustable hand basin. She could easily transfer to the dining chairs for meals and to use her laptop. The property was all on one level so we were all sleeping on the same level.

The other great success was the indoor pool and jacuzzi, which was open for use, but the changing rooms and sauna were closed. The pool was a little ‘tricky’ to get in and out of but worth the effort. The jacuzzi was a huge success. It was lovely to see my daughter relaxing in the bubbles and moving herself around to get the jets in the right place to ease her achy back and legs.

With regards to the location and area. There were places to visit and walk, that were pretty quiet, but accessible with her all terrain manual wheelchair. A big hit was the Roman camp, that had some great bumpy tracks and grassy areas. Fortunately the North York Steam Railway had just reopened, and although the service was limited we were able to book a compartment for an hour train ride. A ramp was provided to board and my daughter was able to hold hands and walk to our compartment. The staff were friendly and we were not rushed boarding or leaving the train. Face coverings were required when boarding and getting to your seat, but once seated were not required. Obviously the views and scenery were amazing, and so drives out and about were a must. Oh and the lucky find of a local chocolate factory, with a fully accessible shop and plenty of space to get the wheelchair in. The staff were helpful and ‘smiley’, as my daughter put it as she left the shop with a bag full of chocolate.

At times it felt like there was no Covid 19 pandemic going on, as we were just enjoying being together, having fun in the pool, singing loudly to our favourite tracks whilst driving through the North York Moors on a mystery journey. Then we would stop, need to find our face coverings etc and so would bump back to reality.

Our expectations for our family holiday are pretty low key, we just want somewhere that is relatively quiet, not too far from a shop, has places to walk, and is accessible for my daughter, so we can all relax and enjoy ourselves. This year we managed that. I asked my family if they wanted to return there next year, thinking I could save myself hours of scouring the internet in the Autumn. The reply was can you find a cottage like that, but in a different area!!!!!


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