Disability and inclusion writer Heather Lacey, who has Cerebral Palsy, gives us her tips for attending the Christmas markets in her home city of Manchester.
There’s nothing quite like Christmas in the city.
The twinkling of lights, the hustle and bustle of people browsing brightly lit windows, bundled up in knitwear, clutching cream-topped hot chocolates as the cold wind bites at their noses.
Like a lot of cities in the UK, Manchester is home to some spectacular Christmas markets over the festive period. It becomes a yearly highlight for Mancunians and tourists alike to see the stalls unfold, revealing a myriad of festive treats, European specialties, and handcrafted goods of all shapes and sizes. However, like most disabled people would attest to, navigating a bustling city is not always the easiest thing.
So if you’re wanting to visit any of the UK’s Christmas Markets this year, how do you make sure that your trip out is as stress-free and enjoyable as possible, with accessibility at your fingertips?
When planning a day out to the Christmas markets, it’s important to know that you’ll be covered when you need access to a toilet, a chance to have a coffee and catch up, or simply a place to sit down and rest whilst watching the world pass by. That’s why, when planning my day trip to Manchester’s Christmas markets, I check out the Access Guides on AccessAble’s app to ensure that my day goes as smoothly as possible and that my access requirements are catered for.
Beginning my foray into the stalls near the Arndale, I can see that - should I need to - I can enter the Arndale shopping centre via Next and find places to sit and grab a coffee whilst I am at it.
AccessAble’s handy Access Guides - such as the one above - mean that I know I can access the premises via a ramp and with automatic doors, I know I’ll be able to enter freely and easily to enjoy a sit-down and a coffee (or two!).
Due to having a wheat allergy, I know that - although they may be tempting - a lot of the treats on offer at the Christmas markets won’t be suitable for me to eat. That’s why, when hunger strikes, I click on the Restaurants category to see which food places near me are equipped with one of AccessAble’s Access Guides. The Alchemist on New York Street is between the Piccadilly Gardens stalls and those around the town hall and makes the ideal pitstop to quell any hunger amidst browsing the various stalls.
You can see that - handily - we can also ring or email the team at the Alchemist should I need to make any reservations if friends or family choose to join us.
Christmas can be a busy time, and those of us with a disability sometimes need a little bit of a hand when navigating the hectic high streets. That’s where AccessAble comes in: for knowledge - and Christmas cheer - at your fingertips, #KnowMoreGoMore and #AccessAbleIt in a city near you!
Looking for accessible Christmas markets around the UK? We’ve put together a list of AccessAble Access Guides in cities hosting Christmas markets. You can plan in advance on our website or on the go with our mobile App, with detailed access information about cafes, shops, restaurants, hotels and lots more venues across the cities.
Remember, all of the venues included in our Detailed Access Guides have been visited and assessed by a trained AccessAble surveyor, so you can decide with confidence if somewhere is right for you.
Bristol Christmas Market - Click here to view the Access Guide
Birmingham Christmas Market - Click here to view the Access Guide
Belfast Christmas Market - Click here to view the Access Guide
Worcester Christmas Market - Click here to view the Access Guide
Chester Christmas Market - Click here to view the Access Guide
Newcastle Christmas Market - Click here to view the Access Guide
Sheffield Christmas Market - Click here to view the Access Guide
Christmas in Warrington - Click here to view the Access Guide
St Nicholas Christmas Fair in York - Click here to view the Access Guide
Glasgow Christmas Market - Click here to view the Access Guide