Last week, my husband and I went on a late anniversary trip down south to the Isle of Wight.
We spent a lot of time prepping and planning for our holiday. I’ve found that not only does it help to reduce my anxiety, but it helps to ensure that we can relax knowing that things are in place.
One thing that I knew I needed to plan for was a wheelchair. Because of my fatigue, and other issues, I can’t walk very far, even with my walker. So, I booked a wheelchair from Island Mobility. There is another mobility hire company on island as well, if they don’t have what you need. I found Island Mobility to be very helpful, and great to work with though. The wheelchair they gave me was practically new.
On our trip down, we saw lots of amazing things, such as cattle and horses just roaming free throughout the town in the New Forest! It is definitely a magical place.
We stopped there for the night before heading over to the Isle, and booked a disabled room at a Premier Inn.
Both my husband and I were very happy with the room. The bed was extremely comfortable, the room clean, and the staff excellent. They had red cords in the bedroom and bathroom, and the bathroom was a wet room that had lots of handles that were really handy for me to grab onto. The whole room was very big, so you could easily navigate it with a walker or wheelchair.
All of these things came in handy that night. I had taken some painkillers, and I’m not sure if I had a reaction to them, or if I was just over tired, but when having dinner in the hotel’s restaurant, I started feeling awful. Luckily, our room was close by, and I was feeling better by the morning.
The next day, we boarded the ferry, WightLink, over to the Isle of Wight.
I was nervous about getting out of the car and getting up to the lounge, but there was a lift the upper levels. I did have to walk a bit around some cars without my walker though, for my husband to get it somewhere accessible. That being said, there is apparently an option for disabled passengers, but since I don’t have a blue badge, that wasn’t open to me.
Once we got off, we drove around and saw lots of gorgeous sights. Then, we checked into our AirBnB.
We booked an AirBnB because it was the best way to fulfil our needs. I generally feel better if I lay down in the afternoon, so it makes sense to get somewhere that has a separate bedroom. Also, because of my gastroparesis and dietary needs, it’s easier for us to eat in than to constantly eat out in restaurants. That means we needed a kitchen. Finding all of these things in a hotel, without paying a ridiculous sum, is practically impossible.
Our AirBnB even ended up being on the property of the old laundry workers’ places for Osborne House (Queen Victoria’s palace), which made history nerd me quite happy.
We visited Osborne House the next morning. It is gorgeous! Beautiful gardens, opulent rooms, and amazing details. I loved it.
From an accessibility point of view, I was also impressed. My husband got in for free as my “companion” as I was in the wheelchair. Everywhere in the main house is set up for accessibility, except the two nursery rooms. My husband did find some of the ramps were rather steep though, and I think I agree.
We left the main house, and headed down to the beach and Swiss Cottage. Both are a little walk, or a short minibus drive. We got the bus to each, and found the drivers to be very helpful.
I loved the Swiss Cottage, where you can learn all about the children, but I particularly enjoyed the nearby museum. It had a wonderful rock collection!
After Osborne House, we went to St. Mildred’s Church. It was designed by Prince Albert, and the Queen and her family all worshiped there.
It’s a lovely chapel, set in a peaceful location. It is advertised as being wheelchair accessible, and it is somewhat, however we found there was a lip in the doorway that made it a bit tricky to get in. Rather than struggle, I just popped out of the chair for a second, but that is obviously not an option for everyone.
The next day, we travelled to God’s Hill to the mini village. The town itself is tricky to navigate with a wheelchair, as several parts of the road, the pavement/ sidewalk falls away.
The mini village was super fun. It had a ton of little models of houses, churches, people, hotels, and even a working railroad! It was also very accessible, and I got around easily with my husband pushing me.
Afterwards, we headed over to what was probably the highlight of the trip for me: the Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary.
I love donkeys, so it was fantastic to go and pet some. The sanctuary also does good work by taking in donkeys who are in need, and give them a loving home, medical care, and other donkey friends to be with.
It was mostly accessible, and I was able to get around for the most part. I did find, however that the wheelchair would have had issues getting into the barn because of the lip from the doors. It might not be completely impossible to get in, depending on your mobility equipment, but it was easier for us to have me pop out for a minute, like I did at the church.
Whilst in the barn, we were treated to lots of loud donkeys calling out for their lunch. It was really cute. 😀
We headed off for the ferry home the next day, and after driving around Portsmouth, we headed home.
I enjoyed my holiday, and found that the Isle of Wight was a great place to visit for all sorts of visitors, including disabled people. I particularly loved just driving around, taking in the sights, as there is always an interesting building or gorgeous view to see.