Hampshire, with its beautiful countryside landscapes and bountiful greenery, remains one of the top destinations to visit, not only for city breaks and getaways, but for the wide selection of wheelchair and disability friendly days out on offer. Hampshire, and its local towns and villages have gone over and above to create the most user-accessible destinations and attractions for persons of all ages and interests. For these reasons, Hampshire scores a ten out of ten from us for these invaluable efforts of inclusivity.
Choosing the Right Accessible Vehicle
Here at Angel Hire, we have put together our top 4 wheelchair friendly days out for visiting the lovely Hampshire. Whether it be visiting some wildlife, to a day at the theatre or even a trip down memory lane, our range of wheelchair accessible vehicles can cater to it all. We carry a large selection of vehicles, at different price points with different functionalities, which can make your day out special.
Our small but mighty Ford Connect Freedom car is ideal for a small day trip for 2 or with the family. On the other hand, our Peugeot Boxer 5-seater car is ideal for family trips and for weekend getaways.
Now, let’s get into our wheelchair friendly days out in Hampshire list!
Marwell Zoo, Winchester
Number 1 on our wheelchair friendly days out list is Marwell Zoo. Situated in the Winchester countryside, just 3 miles from the M3- the 140-acre site has hundreds of animals to be marvelled at, from giraffes to tigers and even penguins.
In addition to these marvellous animals, the zoo also offers daily animal talks and even animal feedings for those wanting an up-close and personal experience. If this intimacy isn’t your thing, Marwell Zoo’s enclosures are also specifically designed with alternative viewpoints for those of us wanting to admire from a distance and with some personal space. For an overview of this option please click here.
To top this off, Marwell Zoo has not one, but two rows of accessible parking spaces in the main car park, close to the main entrance of the zoo. This scores major brownie points with us here at Angel Hire as we know the hassle all too well of being limited to just a small number of car park spaces.
In conjunction with this, all Marwell zoo’s 5 toilet block facilities have an accessible cubicle included in the facilities. There is also an additional accessible cubicle located in the zoo’s gift shop. These amenities again, are justifying the zoo’s position on this list for a great wheelchair friendly day out.
On Site Wheelchairs
The zoo also offers manual wheelchairs, which are fully accessible depending on demand levels on the day. Just be mindful though, that these are manual wheelchairs and not automated transport chairs and require a £20 refundable cash deposit payable on the day.
Mayflower Theatre, Southampton
Number 2 on our list is the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton. The theatre opened in 1928 and has hosted some first-class entertainment from opera to ballet and plenty of musicals. Most notably, Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Footloose. In addition to hosting great shows, the venue also houses an award-winning on-site restaurant to enjoy a pre-show lunch or dinner.
This two in one combination is what seals the deal for us- as you can lunch out with the family and not have to worry about additional travel to another location. Additionally, you can treat this as a romantic date night (wine and dine) for a prime wheelchair friendly day/ night out.
Accessibility and Parking
Speaking of locations, the theatre is in central Southampton, which is ideal. However, just as a heads up there is no on site-parking. But there is a designated lay-by entrance directly next to the accessible entrance, which has been designed specifically for cars to drop off wheelchair persons. The bonus of this, is it entails no parking charges for drop-offs and pickups as opposed to the adjacent multi storey chargeable car park.
For the main event, the theatre offers seats with unobstructed leg room for wheelchair users and carers, which is highly appreciated for manoeuvrability. The building also has multiple lifts throughout the building for ease of mobility to and from areas.
Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium
Number 3 on our list is the Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium, situated 3 miles from Winchester city centre. The science centre is just off Alresford Road close to the M3, like that of Marwell Zoo. Opened in 2002, the destination hosts a wide range of attractions from the planetarium to learning about space and sound. Along with this, the centre also offers space lectures for true enthusiasts out there.
In terms of accessibility features, the centre has justified its spot on our list as they make the experience inclusive and magical for everyone. They offer a bookable wheelchair service, which is handy to know in case your automatic wheelchair may run out of charge.
They also carry support backpacks that can be carried or fastened on to wheelchairs. With these backpacks, they can be included with fiddle toys for young children and ear defenders for all if the noise is too much.
For parking and accessibility, the centre has nine Blue Badge parking spaces near the main visitor entrance, with more bays at the top of the car park if it’s a busy day. From the car park, there is only a short path to the main entrance – which is ideal. The staff could not be more helpful here, as they also have a hotline for any persons that need additional assistance getting into the Science Centre, the number for this is: 01692 863 791.
Model Village Godshill, Isle of Wight
Number 4 on our list is the lovely Model Village at Godshill, which was designed in 1952 and is one of the oldest attractions on the Isle of Wight. The model village mirrors Godshilll in the 1950s and shows in fantastic attention to detail, life back then. The attraction has garnered high praises by all visitors and has also been recommended by Grand Designs’ Kevin McCloud.
The site, as miniature as it is, is entirely wheelchair accessible all the way round the village with ramps situated throughout. Within the grounds there is also a gift shop and a coffee shop with highly renowned cakes.
Regarding parking, there is disabled parking opposite the Godshill village shop, which is situated on a flat surface – ensuring ideal ground for wheelchairs, prams, and other mobility devices for all the family to enjoy a day out together.
Now that we have laid out our top 4 destinations for a wheelchair friendly day out in Hampshire, the rest is up to you! Whether it’s an evening of entertainment or a family day out, there are some decisions to be made. Whatever you decide, we here at Angel Hire hope we can be of assistance in making the day extra special in providing the right hire car for your trip.