Norwich has plenty of accessible attractions and accommodation for disabled people. Its compact street pattern means a lot of attractions sit fairly close together. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best places to visit or stay at which are suitable for disabled visitors.
FIT FOR A KING
The award for the most disability-friendly accommodation provider easily falls to King Line Cottages in the Broads, only 12 miles from Norwich (literally, in fact – they’ve been awarded a VisitEngland accessibility rating); they have a choice of lovely premises, all of which are entirely accessible and have been specially adapted to suit disabled users. The views are beautiful, too – the properties look out over the River Bure in Horning.
Also situated in the stunning Norfolk broads and close to the coast is the award-winning Dairy Barns, who have a lovely room suited for wheelchair users, or stay in the heart of the Breckland countryside at Broom Hall Country Hotel. With purpose built disabled rooms available on the ground floor, it’s the perfect spot to enjoy a countryside break away.
If you fancy a 2-centre stay - Broads and city - then take a look at The Assembly House in the heart of Norwich, opposite The Forum. Opened only at Easter, The Assembly House has a beautiful, luxury, contemporary room complete with courtyard just perfect for relaxing in when you’ve had enough of shopping and sightseeing!
Images from top: King Line Cottages, Broom Hall Country Hotel.
SOUTH NORFOLK SPOTS
Norfolk Holiday Homes offer a great range of self-catering holiday homes situated along the North-West coast of Norfolk, many of which are suitable for disabled visitors, or head up to Holt - a picture-perfect town in North Norfolk - and stay at Byfords Posh B&B, who offer a beautiful ground floor room suitable for disabled use – it’s widely regarded as Holt’s oldest house and their café / deli areas are so worth a visit too!
Image: Norfolk Holiday Homes
CLOSE TO THE CITY
Cringleford Guest House boasts 7 ground floor en-suite bedrooms with walk-in shower facilities, situated in the pretty village of Cringleford on the outskirts of Norwich, whilst Spixworth Hall Cottages have adapted their Stables cottage especially for wheelchair users, and it’s only a 15 minute drive from Norwich – perfect for a city break.
Once you’re here and you’ve worked out where you’d like to stay, it’s time to plan the perfect itinerary! Luckily the area has plenty of attractions suitable for disabled visitors, and we’ve selected a visit-worthy list.
SEE A SHOW
Norwich Playhouse is a fantastic theatre venue for disabled patrons, with dedicated parking and disabled access. Guide dogs are very welcome and they offer free tickets for carers attending with disabled visitors, as well as discounted tickets for wheelchair users and deaf and blind visitors too. They also host Q&A sessions with British Sign Language interpreters before and after performances – these are for certain shows, so please check with the venue to see if there are any upcoming events with this option available (call 01603 612580). Norwich’s Theatre Royal also offers accessible facilities including excellent wheelchair access and signed, captioned and audio-described performances (01603 630000).
Image: Norwich Playhouse
The Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts is a wonderful space that can be enjoyed by all, as their galleries are fully accessible – they’ve installed lifts to all floors with disabled parking available and an easy-to-access café area. Check out their current (and fantastic) Alberto Giacometti: A Line Through Time and Henry Cartier-Bresson: Paris exhibitions, as well as their impressive permanent collections.
HERITAGE & HISTORY
The Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell has made a real effort to make their beautiful medieval building accessible for everyone; they’ve installed a platform lift from the main entrance and another lift within the museum, plus various multi-sensory displays with listening points, various hearing loops and companion notes for blind and visually impaired visitors. Whilst you’re there, don’t miss a look at the building’s impressive square-knapped flint wall, widely regarded as one of the finest examples in Europe.
Norwich Cathedral is another must-visit and offers disabled access to the Cathedral and disabled parking spaces in The Close, whilst Norwich Castle has ramped access and plenty of space inside most of the building for wheelchair users.
Image: The Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell.
READY, STEADY, SHOP
The city’s two big shopping centres, intu Chapelfield and Castle Mall, both offer disabled parking spaces, whilst intu Chapelfield also houses a dedicated shop mobility centre – find out more about the scheme here.
OUT & ABOUT
If the weather leaves you craving a day in the great outdoors then head over to Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, where you can hire a boat suitable for disabled users as well as enjoying a wheelchair-accessible garden, tea room and gift shop - all of which also have Braille and hearing loops installed. They also offer a wonderful purpose-built sensory garden created with mobility and visually impaired visitors in mind.
For your fill of stately homes out in the countryside don’t miss Holkham Hall, which offers plenty of wheelchair-accessible parking and ramps, and Somerleyton Hall whose public house and garden areas are fully accessible to wheelchair users.
Take a guided trip on Whitlingham Country Park’s wonderful solar boat, Ra, which is fully accessible to wheelchair users, and Broads Tours also have a wheelchair-accessible dayboat for those who fancy getting out on the water. Banham Zoo and Africa Alive both offer facilities for disabled users and Bure Valley Railway offers disabled access all around the attraction.
Don’t forget that Norwich City Council offers Blue Badge parking for disabled users in various parts of the city – visit their website for more details.
Image: The Broad at Fairhaven Woodland & Water Garden