My latest excursion was to the far North – historic Durham, Lumley Castle to be precise, for the Visit Durham Autumn Conference.
Accessibility was a major issue during my stay at Lumley Castle.
I’d agreed to go to represent all our groups and ended up presenting, much to my surprise!
Very interesting event almost scuppered by a mix-up on my arrival the night before.
We’d booked a room for the night before (we have documentary proof!), but when I arrived – no booking to be found. No booking for any accessible room under any name at all!
Turned out, after a frantic half-hour. That there was a booking for me on the day of the conference – I’d been put on the wrong page!.
After a quick check by the cleaning staff, I was in!
But into what? A long portable ramp was deployed to overcome two steps on entry to the corridor. This had to be left in place for my whole 24-hour stay, although the entrance led to five other bookable rooms.
I was then shown into a comfortably large room and left to explore.
It was listed as an accessible room on the website but after a thorough look around I could only find one vertical grab rail in the shower pod which constituted any form of aid – no rails around the toilet, no bath, no accessible shower, no shower seat, in fact no room to turn around in the bathroom!
Watch this space!
Luckily, the Conference was great – string of interesting talks and presentations, lots of lovely people to meet.
My talk went down well I think. In it I had listed several places I’d audited in Durham, including Raby Castle, which I luckily gave a glowing report. As I finished, a smiling gentleman came up to me and shook my hand, introducing himself as the interim Chair of Visit Durham. Turned out he was the CEO of Raby! I’ve now got an invitation to return!
Afterwards, I bought some “Coals from Newcastle” from the display of local trades held next door. Black honeycomb as you ask. Then headed home in time for dinner.
Next trip – UK Tourism in exotic Leeds next week!
Read more about the Autumn Conference 2023 Here