Author Archives: straywheel
As a destination, Sidmouth gets Five Stars.
There is no easy way to get to Sidmouth on public transportation; you need a car to get there. Other than that, and once you get there, this town is a terrific destination for wheelchair travellers.
The weather is generally nicer than can be expected for England, the layout of the town is wheelchair friendly, with ramped curbs and smooth pavements/sidewalks, a general lack of slopes, and because of the predominance of elderly people in their scooters, most establishments have step free access and accessible seating inside. The promenade along the sea front provides tranquil views of the ocean, and although the shingle beach isn’t wheelchair accessible, it’s not necessary to get right up to the water’s edge to enjoy the fresh air of the ocean.
Be aware that the seagulls in Sidmouth can be pretty aggressive, so eating anything outside requires a sharp eye to keep from getting your ice cream or chips stolen from you.
When Helen and I sent a weekend in Sidmouth, Helen booked a disabled access room in the Kingswood and Devoran Hotel. The hotel is situated right on the seafront, and our spacious room had a big bed at proper height for safe transfers in and out of my chair, a roll-in shower, and a large window with an ocean view.
We had a moment of anxiety when we discovered that there was no shower seat, but a call to the front desk resulted in a prompt delivery of the needed equipment. The staff were very friendly and helpful throughout or stay, and the breakfasts are worth getting out of bed for.
If you are feeling a little bit adventurous, the Byes Riverside Park is a lovely green space that follows the River Sid for abut a mile. There are a couple of rough stretches of pavement and one or two gentle slopes, but I really enjoyed the experience and would recommend it to fellow wheelchair companions with able-bodied partners.
Overall, I really enjoyed our visit to Sidmouth and would recommend it for anyone who would like to take in some fresh sea air and relax in a lovely English coastal town. If it were easier to get to I would have given it a Six Star rating.
It costs money? Well so does any other alteration made to provide access to folks in chairs ( and with other disabilities). If it didn’t cost money, then everyone would already do it. But it does, and they don’t, which is why laws that require access have to be passed. I can understand some resistance, but come on.