Friday, 3 June 2011

Disabled in Blackpool

A prom carriage, with Dave's cousin (?)
Or "handicapped", as it's known in the States, so I learned yesterday. This post, I guess, will be of most interest to others who are disabled like me, although it gives me another chance to go on about our fab weekend in Blackpool, before the magic wears off completely! One quarter of Blackpool residents have a limiting long-term illness, and so one would expect it to be a good place for disabled holiday makers. On VisitLancashire's website, there are 84 listings under 'Disabled', including one attraction and 12 hotels in Blackpool, but no events and no restaurants there. I know that such sites rely on people submitting listings, and so this is no criticism of the Tourist Board who, as I've said, did us proud. But come on, you Blackpuddlians, we'd like to know more!

At Tiggis, No 1 for eating
Of course there are a lot of things in a resort like this that being wheelchair-bound makes impracticable, like riding in the carriages on the Prom and, I imagine, in the trams. I suspect the Pleasure Beach rides are also out. But there's plenty one can enjoy in a wheelchair - as we discovered - and, from the friendliness we experienced, I'd guess there'd be no lack of help, for example for a child wanting a donkey-ride. The Winter Gardens were very accessible (with three rather cramped disabled toilets). Frankie & Benny's was accessible and, of course, McDonalds, but, as you'll have gathered, Tiggis in Lytham St Annes was the runaway winner in the restaurant stakes. As I've mentioned toilets, there seemed to be an adequate supply. We found one locked up, in Lytham, but within 100 yards was St Annes' Pier with its redeeming feature, the disabled loo, which is a good size, well-equipped, clean and even smelling nice. I surmise that someone takes a pride in looking after it. So that takes the coveted loo award.

The Ashley Victoria Hotel, No 1 accommodation
As for hotels, clearly we didn't have different experiences to compare ours by, except by location and external appearance. Blackpool, exposed as it is to the westerly winds off the Irish Sea, must be a fiendishly difficult place in which to maintain the outside of buildings. Many hotels and b&bs near the front looked decidedly sorry for themselves. The Ashley Victoria facing north/south and quite newly painted outside and in was at the smart end of the spectrum. Its location, in a street leading on to the Promenade midway between South and North Beaches, suited us admirably. The facilities worked well for me in my wheelchair and with my rollator.
Our wetroom

The ensuite wetroom speaks for itself. Plenty of grab rails, high pedestal, right-height hand basin, shower chair and non-slip floor.
Well done.

Our bedroom
There was just room between the double and single beds for my narrow wheelchair. The decor was tasteful; our room had all the facilities we could want.

Looking seawards

If you sat in the bay-window, you got a glimpse of the sea.

I suppose it would be technically accurate to call it a guesthouse, as it doesn't do full-board, but the breakfasts (to music) make up for it ("Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dine like a pauper"). Its own website describes it as "family accommodation" and specifies no stag/hen/single-sex parties. Indeed it was very quiet, and we slept unusually well.

I have to say that our stay there was made by the hospitality of Diana and Wally who run it. They were welcoming and sorted out our needs cheerfully. Sadly I have a great photo of them, but promised Diana I wouldn't post it, as she hadn't done her hair! It looked fine to me, I have to say. You'll just have to take it from me that they're lovely people. (And I'll post one of the ballroom couples instead!)

So, you may be relieved to read, my Blackpool saga nears its end, but not before I thank the people involved in arranging it:
Caeshia St Paul - of Classic FM
David Gore - of the Winter Gardens, Blackpool
Kate Campbell - of Visit England
Nikki Duckworth - of Visit Lancashire
Diana and Wally Ogunbiyi - of the Ashley Victoria Hotel
Jane - my lovely driver and wheelchair pusher.
"Without whom all this would not have been possible"
I am really a blessed man.


  1. Hi...Your post really got me thinking man..... an intelligent piece ,I must say. Get more information about Hotels in Blackpool .

  2. Thanks, David. If, as I guess, you're a Blackpool man, respect! And say Hi to your town from me.