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A guide to holidays for blind and partially sighted people

A boat moored on a tropical island beach

Blind and partially sighted people have lots of options to go on Holiday. There are many different types of holidays to choose from, and a number of services and organisations who can help find the right holiday for you.

Everybody needs a holiday from time to time. A change of air, a different environment, meeting new people or simply taking time for yourself can really lift your spirits.

Our holiday planning and ideas factsheet gives you some useful ideas about choosing a holiday and making arrangements, as well as who to contact for more information:

Choosing a holiday

There are number of organisations in the UK who can help you find and book a holiday which is especially tailored for people with sight loss, such as Traveleyes and Seable.

Bodies such as Tourism for All UK, Visit Britain and the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) can also provide information about booking a holiday from mainstream tour operators who have made efforts to make their information and holidays more accessible.

Specialist hotels for blind and partially sighted people

A number of specialist hotels around the UK cater specifically for blind and partially sighted people.

A "specialist" hotel has staff specifically trained to offer support to people with sight loss. The hotels often have additional features such as:

  • colour contrasting surfaces
  • talking lifts
  • tactile signs
  • talking menus
  • useful products such as liquid level indicators and talking alarm clocks.

If you need a bit more support and care on holiday, some residential and care homes which provide care for blind and partially sighted residents.

You can find more specialist hotels or places to stay in the UK using the Sightline Directory.

Other hotels and guesthouses

As well as staying in specialist hotels, you can of course choose to stay somewhere which doesn’t specifically cater for people with sight loss. Under the terms of the Equality Act 2010, a hotel cannot refuse to serve you for a reason related to your disability, or offer you a different standard or manner of service.

Holiday providers should make reasonable adjustments to accommodate you and be willing to offer "auxiliary aids" to make your stay more comfortable. For example, if you are unable to read the menu, they could enlarge it or read it out to you.

When you are making your booking, it is a good idea to let the hotel know if you might need extra help getting to the hotel, or a tour of the hotel when you arrive so you can familiarise yourself with the layout.

Activity holidays and themed breaks

If you are feeling a bit more adventurous, you can go on an activity holiday which could include activities such as rambling and walking, creative and cultural courses, sensory experiences, or sports. There are a number of different providers of activity holidays for people with sight loss, both across the UK and further afield, for example:

  • The Calvert Trust Centres in Northumberland, Cumbria and Devon which offer activities such as abseiling, archery and swimming.
  • Traveleyes is a UK-based company specialising in providing holidays for blind and partially sighted people who want to explore worldwide destinations, with independence, flexibility and freedom. It offers a range of UK breaks, sun holidays, cruises and long-haul escorted tours.

A number of local societies also plan their own holidays and breaks for members. You can find your local society using the Sightline Directory. If your local society does not arrange trips, it may know of organisations in your area that can help.