My name is David Gale. I live in Carlisle (UK) and I have Beckers Muscular Dystrophy. I’m also a Trailblazer! We’re a national network of more than 400 young disabled people, aiming to fight social injustices. But this article isn’t about that, it’s about my trip to Liverpool.
Having been to Liverpool to watch football, I have always been keen to go there as a tourist to explore. So I thought it was about time that I booked a trip.
I initially booked to stay at the Printwork’s hotel for two nights. However, I hadn’t checked the website and, to my horror, found it was inaccessible to me, so I had to cancel the booking. Luckily they were very understanding and didn’t charge me the cancellation fee.
Thankfully, my fellow Cumbrian Trailblazer, Carrie-Ann, works for Tourism for All and as I am a member I got a great rate on the very smart Crowne Plaza Hotel, which was next to the striking Liver Building. I would certainly recommend membership of Tourism for All, as I’ve easily made my £25 subscription back in hotel savings.
Transport to Liverpool
To get to Liverpool we took the train, as I normally would. There are no direct trains from Carlisle to Liverpool, so we had to change at Preston. However, the train was delayed and we missed the connecting train. Luckily there was one an hour later, so we got to Liverpool around lunch time.
Accessibility and shopping
We were still a bit early for check-in, so we decided to take advantage of the hotel’s wonderful location on the Albert docks and have a walk around to get our bearings. It was obvious that a lot of money had been spent on the area as there was a smart Beatles exhibition centre/shop and the museum of Liverpool; more about these later.
Once we checked in to the hotel we decided to do some shopping in the city centre, which was about a 10 minute walk away. It was easy to find as there are signs everywhere in Liverpool’s city centre telling you which direction to go in and how long it will take to get there.
Our walk lead us to an impressive structure, the fairly new Liverpool One, which houses a lot of major shops and popular eating outlets such as Nandos and Pizza Express. We then walked on to the old city centre, where yet more shops exist. The shopping in Liverpool was good but nothing special; it was similar to other city centres. But there are plenty of other reasons to visit Liverpool, one main reason being that everything was fully accessible.
After a hectic day we settled down to have some cocktails in the hotel bar. This was a bad move money wise as it cost a small fortune! But it was a good way to wind down from the day.
The next day we took in the sights of Liverpool. One of the best ways to do this is by going on the Liverpool Wheel. It was the perfect way to get a bird’s eye view of all the striking buildings in Liverpool: the Royal Liver Building; Liverpool Cathedral; the Port of Liverpool; Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral and the Radio City Tower, to name but a few.
After the wheel we went around the Albert Docks, where we had a cup of tea and breakfast in a nice little cafe called Hansel and Gretel. There are numerous souvenir shops and restaurants within the Albert Docks and it is here where the Beatles Story museum is based. The museum is accessible but, unfortunately, I hadn’t realised that till after my trip… and ended up missing out on it.
The Merseyside Maritime museum and the International Slavery museum are also in the same area and both of which are fully accessible and free. There is also the Museum of Liverpool, which had everything you could want to know about Liverpool, from the Merseybeat music scene to the football teams. Liverpool really is a place that likes celebrating itself and is very proud of its achievements.
The next attraction was a bit clichéd but we had to get a ferry across the Mersey, with Mersey Ferries. It was around a 45 minute trip which was worthwhile, as we got some great pictures and have learnt more about the area and its history. After a bit of a break back at the hotel, we had dinner and went for a few drinks at The Richard John Blackler, the local pub, which was reasonably priced and fully accessible.
That evening we went to the Liverpool Empire Theatre and again, I found access to be great. When booking the tickets I phoned the theatre to discuss where the ambulant seating was and booked a seat in the circle. When I got there I got to a lift area which took me up to the circle where the accessible toilets were. I thought it was really clever that they built an annex onto the theatre so it wouldn’t affect the original building too much. When I was getting to my seat from the lift all the doors were automatic and the staff were all very helpful.
The show was called Dirty Dancing but it also had the added performance from someone doing sign language on the stage for people with hearing impairments. The show was really good and created a great atmosphere. So, it seems the Empire Theatre tries its best to cater for everyone which, in my book, makes it the best theatre I have ever been in for access. We ended the evening with a walk down to the famous Cavern Pub and Club.
The next day was time to go home! We had some delays getting back but we had a really enjoyable time in Liverpool.
By David Gale
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