Places to stay where beauty and accessibility meet

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Christopher Wilson-Elmes

Sawday's Expert

5 min read

When we’re out inspecting, we look for one main thing - a feeling. We want to love a place and know that our guests will too. But for many of us, there are also practicalities to be considered, which is why, alongside our search for that indefinable special quality, we check things like accessibility. We know that accessibility isn’t a simple concept. There’s no single thing that makes a place work for some people and not for others, so here are places that make certain provisions or have certain features. You might need to make sure it works for you practically, but you can be sure it will work for you emotionally.

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Trevassack Holidays

On the Lizard peninsula, six superbly designed spaces, three lodges and three cabins, sit by the water, with fun to be had whether you’re an adventurous canoer or more of a “tea in the manicured gardens” type. The site is run by a charity, Children’s Sailing Trust, and is one of our Sawday’s Community Champions. CEO Jakie is passionate about access to nature for all, so the whole site is wheelchair friendly. The three lodges have integrated ceiling hoists and accessible kitchens, but all of the accessibility equipment is free to use by any guest in any property. All guests can engage in accessible watersports, including sailing and paddlesports on the lake, too.

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Wraxall Yard

Designed by architect Clementine Blakemore, who won two awards for Wraxall Yard, these are stunning spaces of clean lines and natural light. Owner Nick and his daughter Katie are driven by the belief that everybody, whatever their physical ability or state of mental health, should be able to enjoy the countryside and engage with nature, hence the ramps, adjustable shower seats, available hoists and wheelchair boardwalks, which carry you off into the peaceful farm to be surrounded by birdsong and breezes. There are great pubs, scenic trails and the Jurassic coast beaches in the area, along with farm shops you can raid for fine local produce to take back to your chic country home.  

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Manoir de Surville

Four-course meals from a talented chef, an on-site spa and beautiful grounds make this a place to indulge yourself in every sense. Its location in northern France means you can nip over on the ferry or bounce off Paris on the Eurostar and be there in no time. Nearby there‘s an amazing tropical zoo, a great arboretum and ‘Normandy’s Versailles’, the Champ de Bataille castle. Manoir de Surville has been Awarded the Tourism and Handicap label for 4 disabilities since 2016, so you’ll find rooms perfect for anyone with mobility issues and everything from signage and stairs to the fire alarms designed to be helpful to everyone.  

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Chez Jules & Leonie

Owner Laurent comes from a long line of artists, musicians and yes, THAT De Gaulle. After travelling the world as a cultural attaché, he became interested in sustainable development. Chez Jules & Léonie is the result of all those influences. It’s a warm, convivial place in the Vexin Natural Regional Park, just north of Paris in the village of Valmondois, where you can pop down to raid the bakery and sip your morning coffee. A ground floor double room is fully accessible, with a well-equipped bathroom. 

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The Nuthatch Retreat

The open-plan, big windowed space of The Nuthatch Retreat makes it feel as if the surrounding Gloucestershire hills are right there in the room with you. As well as being a fabulous place to get out into the countryside, the area is a haven for artists and artisans of every type and there’s always an exhibition to visit or a host of galleries to nose around. While the steps down to the lower garden terrace might be tricky for some, the one-level space is wide and open, with no raised edges to the wetroom showers. Owner Nemia is happy to help arrange whatever you need and can provide meals to go alongside the welcome hamper, or even a Thai massage, in which she is extensively trained! 

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Christopher Wilson-Elmes

Sawday's Expert

Chris is our in-house copywriter, with a flair for turning rough notes and travel tales into enticing articles. Raised in a tiny Wiltshire village, he was desperate to travel and has backpacked all over the world. Closer to home, he finds himself happiest in the most remote and rural places he can find, preferably with a host of animals to speak to, some waves to be smashed about in and the promise of a good pint somewhere in his future.
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