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Welcome to UK Wheelchairs - the home of value and quality

Our top tips for eating out in a wheelchair

When it comes to eating out, it can be a little daunting when you are in a wheelchair. There are many fundamental considerations we like to make as a wheelchair user before we feel we can commit to the meal knowing that it will be an enjoyable experience and a relaxing one.

There are of course many guidelines set out in the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 which are intended to make things easier and more accessible for wheelchair users in relation to the provision of goods and services including restaurants where the owners and operators are bound to make their premises accessible to wheelchair users. These include making sure that doorways, aisles and walkways are of a minimum width and that the height of table tops and counters need to be of a certain height to make them comfortably accessible for wheelchair users.

So we've been able to get in to the premises in a wheelchair and get to a suitable table where we plan to eat. What other considerations can there possibly be ?

Knee room under the table is important. Although some table look spacious on top, they might not have sufficient space under the table top to accommodate the wheelchair with ease. Then there is the whole business of using the comfort room as they call it in some countries. To you and I, the toilet needs to be accessible with ease. The door handles have to be in easy reach for the wheelchair user and the force required to open the door must be suitable, as we know some have ridiculously strong springs that make pushing them open from within the wheelchair can be a challenge in itself. Once in the toilet there needs to be adequate space to manoeuvre and accessible grab bars needs to be installed both behind and on the sidewall that is nearest to the toilet.

We don't want the task to be too daunting when considering attending a meal in a wheelchair and often as not a call prior to booking or arriving can sort many of these potential hazards out to check that it is suitable. Here is our list of the sort of questions it is useful to ask:

  • Where is the nearest suitable parking ?
  • Is there a ramp for wheelchair access ? or are there any steps to be negotiated and if so how many?
  • Is the toilet wheelchair accessible and friendly?
  • Do the tables fit a wheelchair?
  • Is there enough room to move the wheelchair?

If you feel we have missed out any important bits please let us know. We hope that this is helpful and helps you to prepare for a good night out and that your venue is well equipped for the wheelchair.