Wheelchair Accessible Sightseeing By Boat With City Cruises York [AD]

pippa sat on bench onboard boat that's out on the river, one hand on the rails and looking behind her. pippa is wearing a light pink denim jacket, blue jeans and white trainers.

[AD – Gifted Experience] Many thanks to City Cruises for having us aboard your York sightseeing tour! As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Head to their website find out more about the tours and book your tickets!

I’ve lived in York for coming up to eight years now, and throughout that entire time I’ve had my eye on City Cruises. Every time I’m in the city centre and spot the jolly red boats cruising up and down the river, I push them higher up my mental bucket list… and I’m so glad to have finally been able to experience one of them for myself.

See, this is the thing. You may know that I live with a debilitating chronic illness, and when I’m out and about I generally use a wheelchair. Unfortunately, this means that I don’t always get to explore new places as much as I’d like to, and I can often end up feeling a little excluded from popular tourist experiences. Not this time, though. City Cruises had my back.

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York’s Park Bench Theatre Presents First Love by Samuel Beckett

actor chris hannon in long tan coat and black hat, sat on park bench with legs together and head tilted to side
Image Credits: Northedge Photography

Expectations: 3/5

Reality: 4/5

Chronic Illness-Friendly: 5/5

[AD – Press Invite. Many thanks to York Theatre Royal and Engine House Theatre for the complimentary tickets. It’s so important to support local theatres at this time so I’d also like to make clear that I will be making an online donation following the performance. You can do the same here!]

To say it’s been a theatre-less few months would be an understatement. Like many people, I’ve been sorely missing live theatre and watching on with despair as the industry we adore struggles to survive these challenging times. However, if stagey people are anything, they’re creative. They do what they can to find innovative solutions to seemingly impossible barriers, and Engine House Theatre’s Park Bench Theatre initiative is a prime example of this.

From August through to September, Park Bench Theatre will be sharing three unique productions: a play based on Samuel Beckett’s First Love (under Under Matt Aston’s direction), the premiere of the original Every Time A Bell Rings, and a further premiere of Teddy Bears’ Picnic. The small team of creatives will be staging each of these productions outdoors, within the gorgeous scenery of York’s Rowntree Park, inviting audiences to once more indulge in the arts in a safer, socially distanced way.

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Accessible Theatre Performances in Yorkshire – Festive Guide 2019

theatre programmes and tickets laid on floor, with green sunflower lanyard draped over the top

To me, there seems no more fitting time of the year to enjoy theatre than during the festive season. Whether you’re a regular theatregoer or not, there’s just something that feels so special about bringing your loved ones together, getting dressed up and perhaps going for a bite to eat, and then heading off to see a show.

And what’s crucial here is that theatre should be an experience that everybody gets to enjoy, including those with additional needs. We still have such a long way to go in helping regional theatres to become as inclusive as possible, but it’s incredibly heartwarming to see the progress that’s being made over time.

With that in mind, this year I’ve decided to compile a quick festive Access Guide of sorts, detailing inclusive performances for various productions in the leading theatres across Yorkshire, over the Christmas period. If you’re in the area and looking for some entertainment over the holidays, I hope the following information is helpful!

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York’s Wheelchair-Accessible Indie Coffee Shops and Cafes

pippa sat at table wearing jumper and looking down at tea cup in hands, with tea pot on table in front

If you’ve ever visited York, you’ll know it’s an absolute goldmine for cute and quirky independent businesses. You could visit a different indie coffee shop for breakfast every weekend, and in my former years as a student (prior to becoming a wheelchair-user), that’s pretty much what my friends and I did.

Fast forward a few years to the present day, however, and finding a local, wheelchair-accessible spot for a cuppa and a bite to eat when you’re out and about is infinitely more difficult, especially when you’re trying to stay away from chains of Starbucks and Costas and support local businesses and tourist attractions instead.

Sadly, there’s a real lack of accessibility awareness in York centre, especially for such a well-known touristy spot. Many organisations are quick to defend themselves with excuses of listed-buildings and historical accuracy, rather than liaising with disabled visitors and making a commitment to at least trying to improve their accessibility. And in my eyes, it’s a real shame.

That said, there are still a fair few lovely spots committed to welcoming disabled visitors, including the following…

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