Facilities & Activities for people with disabilities

Facilities for people with disabilities visiting Suffolk

If you have any comments or information to add to this article please send an email to [email protected] so that your knowledge can be shared.

General Activities
Avenues Group organises sports and leisure activities, day trips and taster sessions for disabled people across Suffolk. They organise weekly ‘Big Splash’ supported swimming sessions at a variety of pools throughout Suffolk, including –

Lowestoft Leisure centre every Friday from 1pm to 2pm. Please call 01473 836770 for more information.
Newmarket Leisure centre every Tuesday from 2pm to 3pm. 01638 782500.
Ipswich at Crown Pools every Thursday from 10am to 11.30pm. 01473 433655
Bungay Swimming Pool every Sunday from 6pm to 7pm. 01986 895014
Stowmarket – Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre every Monday from 3pm to 4pm. There is a chair hoist into the pool, or accessible steps and volunteer support in the water. Poolside wheelchair available (also for shower use).

Facilities & Activities for people with disabilities

Sudbury at the Kingfisher Pool every Monday from 11am to 12noon. Nice sloped access to the pool, poolside wheelchair available for use in pool and showers and volunteer support.
Haverhill Leisure Centre every Tuesday from 11am to 12noon. A hoist and chair are available with volunteer support and swimming instructor.
Leiston Leisure Centre every Wednesday from 3-4pm.
Bury St Edmunds Leisure Centre every Friday from 10am to 12noon.
Mildenhall Swimming Pool every Thursday from 1.30pm to 2.30pm.

For more information about the Big Splash and the other events and activities that Avenues arrange please see Big Splash supported swimming by Avenues Group call 020 3535 0500 or email [email protected]

Kelsale Holiday Cottages
A beautiful new lavish self-catering holiday cottage sleeping 4-6 set in the heart of the Suffolk Heritage Coast area. The bedrooms both have luxury en suites worthy of a boutique hotel, one double walk-in shower and one free-standing bath with a waterfall tap. A delightful private garden containing comfy patio furniture can be enjoyed by going through big sliding doors enabling effortless inside and outside living.

Facilities & Activities for people with disabilities
Kelsale Holiday Cottages – www.kelsaleholidaycottages.co.uk

It has been furnished to a very high standard with all modern conveniences incorporated including ground-level disability-friendly access.
Underfloor heating throughout the cottage makes it a cosy all year round ideal getaway from the hustle and bustle of modern life

The Bure Valley Railway is proud to be probably the first railway of any sort in the region to provide six carriages in which wheelchair-bound people of any age can be accommodated in comfort and security, along with their fellow passengers, friends, and family.
The Bure Valley Railway offers full access to disabled passengers in wheelchairs.
Both Aylsham and Wroxham stations are all found on one level, which includes toilets, shops, platforms, a café, and even the exciting Aylsham workshops.
In addition to our standard carriage fleet, visitors will also find six specifically designed coaches that carry wheelchairs without difficulty. Every coach contains a special seating arrangement along with detachable ramps and double doors on both sides. When the ordinary seats are down, these carriages have the same carrying capacity as regular carriages, but when the seats are raised they can each accommodate four manual wheelchairs securely.
Other types of wheelchair may be carried depending on their size.
When the BVR is running a full three-train service, every train normally has two of these coaches, giving disabled passengers a completely free choice of which train to catch.

DisabledGo provides free online access guides to over 80,000 venues across the UK and Ireland on www.disabledgo.com.

Facilities & Activities for people with disabilities

All kinds of places are visited in person and assessed. You can find detailed info regarding access to various places – hospitals, cinemas, restaurants, hotels, parks, sports grounds, council offices, colleges, tourist attractions, and so much more.

You can also use the site to find a job, catch up on the latest disability news, promote events, post articles and join in discussions on our forum.

Visit the site today – just click on the link above

Due to Suffolk’s notoriously flat terrain, many of the rambling trails are fairly easy. Thus, rambles with disabilities are able to discover and explore the beautiful Suffolk countryside with relative ease. To find helpful information about all the best disability-accessible hikes and trails, the best organisation to get in touch with is the Disabled Ramblers. This organisation consists of a group of like-minded individuals who have disabilities and enjoy experiencing the outdoors. They are true to the word “ramblers,” despite very few of them being able to walk a couple of yards. Primarily consisting of mobility disabled individuals, they move around with the help of mobility aids, including scooters, pavement buggies, powerchairs, and even wheelchairs. The group organises various ramblers ranging from very challenging to easy all throughout the UK and Wales. Friends, spouses, and volunteers all help to create events that will suit every preference. Visit their website by clicking on the link above for more information.

Access for all in the Brecks includes 10 trails for everyone including those with restricted mobility. Call Brecks Partnership on 01842 760116

The National Stud in Newmarket has disabled toilets, a coach for the tour of the Stud grounds with a ramp, and also a ramp into the restaurant. Prebooking essential. Please see the National Stud, Newmarket.

Facilities & Activities for people with disabilities
Foals at the National Stud, Newmarket by Richard Humphrey, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Suffolk Accessible Accommodation

The East Anglian Sailing Trust (EAST) is based in Ipswich and offers disabled individuals as well as their carers frequent chances to enjoy exciting sailing adventures while promoting confidence, independence, and the involvement of the community. See the website for more details East Anglian Sailing Trust

Hadleigh Mobility Centre, 11 Market Place, Hadleigh, IP7 5DL tel 01473 823235 provide Scooter Hire & Wheelchair Hire with lightweight aluminium frames, fully folding, on a daily or weekly basis, and they will deliver up to a 20-mile radius.

British Red Cross – provides short-term loans of medical equipment such as wheelchairs and walking frames at a number of Red Cross Centres around Suffolk. For further information please contact the Medical Loan Service on 01473 219261.
Please also see the Medical Equipment Service listed at British Red Cross, Suffolk.

Tourism for All UK – is the UK Voice for Accessible Tourism. They are a national charity dedicated to making tourism welcoming to all.
0303 303 0146 – https://www.tourismforall.org.uk/

Tailor-made holiday and travel service for people with disabilities:
Accessible Travel and Leisure 01452 729739

Providers of holiday information for people with disabilities and their carers:
Holiday Care 01293 773716

Holiday Information and advice for people with a visual impairment
RNIB Holiday Service 020 7388 1266

The Hearing Care Centre Ltd
Suffolk’s Only Multi-Award Winning, Private, Independent Hearing Aid Audiologists. Hearing assessments and the fitting of digital hearing instruments are the core business, but we also offer other services including custom-made earplugs, repairs, batteries, accessories and tinnitus management. 13 centres are available across Suffolk. We also organise several fundraising events across Suffolk for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.

See the website above for details.

5 High Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 3JZ – Tel: 0800 096 2637

Area-Specific Information –
North Suffolk

5/09 One reader advises that the following restaurants/pubs have disabled access and disabled toilets

The Sole Bay, Southwold
The Five Bells, Wrentham
The Plough, Wangford
The Eels Foot, Eastbridge
The Racehorse, Westhall

Lowestoft area

D.I.A.L – Information Line – For general information on disability matters, and wheelchair hire in the Lowestoft area – call 01502 511333

Information supplied by DIAL
Eating Out – the following are accessible for wheelchair users –
Brewers Fair 01502 733073 (wheelchair accessible with adapted toilet facilities)
*Carlton Manor 01502 566511 (wheelchair-accessible toilets)
Potters Kiln 01502 733073
East Point Pavilion Restaurant 01502 538902 (fully accessible with adapted toilets)
*Hotel Victoria 01502 574433 (wheelchair accessible toilets and rooms)
Number One Pizza and Pancake Co 01502 501880
Thatched Roof Restaurant 01502 566310 (no adapted toilets)
The Library, Godfrey’s Store 01502 516298 (adapted toilet)
The Ship Inn, 01502 562592 (fully accessible with adapted toilets)

*Fishers Hotel and Restaurant 01502 569805 (no adapted toilets)

Five Bells Inn, Wrentham, 01502 675249 (wheelchair-accessible toilets and rooms)
The Plough, 01502 578239 (adapted toilet)
The Randolph, Reydon 01502 723603 (no adapted toilets)

*Also provides accommodation.

Info from Lowestoft TIC

East Coast Mobility – 01502 514500
Shopmobility – Electric and manual wheelchairs and scooters are available for hire – 01502 588857
Social Services offer a variety of services for Blind and Partially sighted people -01502 405000
Toilets – Waveney District Council has introduced the Radar National Key Scheme for its disabled persons’ toilets. Keys can be purchased from the TICs at the East Point Pavilion, Lowestoft, and 69 High Street, Southwold, the DIAL office and the Shop Mobility Office.
Public conveniences specially equipped to cater for wheelchair users are situated in the following locations –
Lowestoft – Pakefield St, Claremont Pier South Beach, Triangle Market, Kirkley Cliff Road, South of South Beach, East Point Pavilion Visitor Centre, Town Hall High St, 161 Rotterdam Rd.
Oulton Broad – The Boulevard
Kessingland – near the Beach
Southwold – Church Green, Harbour Car Park, North Pier
Halesworth – Thoroughfare Car Park
Bungay – Bus Station St Mary’s St
Beccles – The Quay Toilets, Blyburgate car park

Car parking – visitors in possession of an orange or blue badge may park their vehicle free of charge on all Council-operated car parks for up to 3 hours, providing a current badge is displayed and the clock is correctly set.

Lowestoft South Beach promenade is recommended as being flat with toilet facilities.

Facilities & Activities for people with disabilities
Beach huts, Lowestoft by Richard Law, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Shopmobility – Ipswich Shopmobility provides free hand-propelled and electric wheelchairs and electric scooters to help people who have limited mobility, whether through permanent or temporary disablement, illness, accident or age, to shop and use other facilities in Ipswich town centre.

The Shopmobility Centre is located inside the Buttermarket Shopping Centre, on the Lower Ground level. When arriving by car use the Falcon Street entrance to the Buttermarket Car Park.

Ipswich Shopmobility (Buttermarket)
Buttermarket Shopping Centre
Lower Ground Level
St Stephens Lane
Ipswich, IP1 1DT

Open, Monday – Saturday 09.15 – 16.15. Closed Sundays and Bank Holidays. For more details contact 01473 222225 or see Shopmobility – Ipswich

Bury St Edmunds Area

British Red Cross – British Red Cross – provides short-term loans of medical equipment such as wheelchairs and walking frames at a number of Red Cross Centres around Suffolk. For further information please contact the Medical Loan Service at 01284 767215.
Please also see the Medical Equipment Service listed at British Red Cross, Suffolk.

Theatre Royal, Disabled Access

A signal from the induction loop should be received from every seat in the auditorium.
There are four wheelchair-accessible seats available in Dress Circle Boxes F, H, K and M. You are advised to book early for these seats. In the unlikely event that they are not available, we will do our best to accommodate you elsewhere in the Theatre, or on an alternative date. On arrival, all wheelchair users are kindly requested to make themselves known to the duty manager who will be pleased to help you to your seat.
There is ramped access to both foyers and a ground-floor adapted toilet in the Theatre foyer.
Please note that there is no level access to the Pit and the Upper Circle seating areas. All Dress Circle boxes have level access.
Guide Dogs are admitted to Dress Circle Boxes.
To receive any of our publications in a large print format please contact the Box Office.

There are British Sign Language Interpreted Events at Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service

Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service strives to make its museums, exhibitions and events accessible to all kinds of visitors and the provision of British Sign Language Interpretation at 11 of this year’s summer events is a testament to this aim. The museum service is a leader in the field of disability access and in 2007 was awarded a commendation for excellence at the Jodi Awards for ‘Excellence in Accessible Technology’.

Beaches in Suffolk with disabled access

Southwold – the beach does have ramp access and the Pier is accessible too. One end of the beach is shingle but the Gun Hill end is a wide open sandy stretch down to Southwold Harbour.

Lowestoft South Beach promenade is recommended as being flat, and there are toilet facilities near the beach.

Felixstowe – The beach at Felixstowe is not really suitable for wheelchairs, because although there are access ramps the beach is all shingle so it would be difficult to manoeuvre the wheelchair once you reach the bottom of the ramp.
The local TIC does however have a beach wheelchair that can be used free of charge on a daily basis and you can book it by calling 01394 276770.

How was your stay in Suffolk? Please send all comments and reviews to [email protected].

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