Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.
The market for accessible UK holiday cottages is growing all the time. In fact, it is estimated that one in six people in England and Wales have an activity-limiting health problem or disability, according to VisitBritain.
What’s more, we are an ageing population and this retired generation represents a huge slice of the holiday cottage market. Getting a layout that works for reduced mobility can add huge appeal to your UK holiday cottage.
In fact, it’s estimated the accessible tourism market is worth £12bn in England alone.
Ground floor bedrooms and bathrooms
If you are able to have a downstairs bedroom and bathroom in your property this can be a big plus point. For larger properties, this will mean your holiday home will appeal to groups with older grandparents in the party.
For smaller one-bedroom holiday cottages you’ll appeal to retired couples looking for a short-break to the country.
Wet rooms are a good choice for reduced mobility. Not only can they be fit in smaller spaces, they are also a very stylish option.
Make sure any bathroom floor tiles are non-slip, and suction handrails are also a good idea. These are low-cost, helpful additions that can be easily stored away when not required.
Add a stair rail
If there are stairs in the property then the simple addition of a handrail can help make your property suitable for people with some mobility issues. The VisitEngland Guide One Step Ahead (which looks at accommodating older and less mobile guests) states:
“Provide at least one handrail next to the steps or stairs (both sides are better) that’s easy to grip. There should be enough space for a firm grip but your arm shouldn’t easily slip through.”
Keep floor space clear
For your property to appeal to the reduced mobility market you’ll need to give some thought to your layout. Routes through the holiday cottage should be clear from obstructions with plenty of space for your guests to easily move around. The VisitEngland One Step Ahead Guide states:
“Ensure the bedroom provides clear space to walk around without bumping into furniture. Can the windows be easily reached by your guests and are they simple to open and close?”
If you are planning to go wheelchair friendly then you’ll have to think about entrance ramps and ensure all doors are of sufficient width. It’s also important to think about cupboard heights and the height of fixtures and fittings in the bathroom and bedroom.
There are specific guidelines that must be adhered to for holiday cottages to be suitable for various disability levels which can be found here:
Outside space and parking
It’s important to ensure the outside space is also accessible. Keep any paths to the property even, clear and well-maintained and make sure there is adequate lighting.
Guests may be arriving after dark (particularly in the winter) so need to be able to see where they are going.
Parking will also be important for anyone with reduced mobility so try and get this as close to the property as possible.
Writing an Accessibility Guide will help guests determine whether your holiday cottage is suitable for them. It will also help you appraise your accessibility and what accessible categories your property may be suitable for.
You’ll find help online at https://www.accessibilityguides.org/
There are step-by-step guides to help you produce your guide which will include things like measurements, steps and handrails.
Take a look at the Gorgeous Cottages range of holiday cottages for reduced mobility.
Gorgeous Cottages are the booking agents for a range of UK holiday cottages. If you are thinking of renting out your holiday home, give the team a call on 01642 263 249.