Disability comes in all shapes and sizes. Contrary to popular belief, disability isn’t just confined to wheelchair users or those who have ‘physical mobility’ issues like Cerebal Palsy, but also those who have mental health conditions like severe depression and chronic illnesses like Fibromylagia. Whether you are deaf or hard of hearing, have vision impairment or have a learning disability, it’s important that we don’t reduce people with disabilities to their disabilities. Instead, we should be inclusive, and think of quirky date night ideas for disabled people that don’t generalize their experience or ‘infantalize’ their disability.
Disability encompasses an incredibly broad spectrum of conditions and impairments. Looking at me, you wouldn’t think that I have a disability, but I do. As someone who has a learning difficulty, I sometimes find it hard to understand what people are trying to tell me straight away, and can become frustrated.
I take longer than the average person to grasp meaning. I ask a lot of questions in order to ‘get the full picture’ and can come across as stubborn when I don’t want to do something, for fear of coming across as stupid. But here’s the T, having a ‘learning difficulty’ does not mean you are not intelligent. In fact, I got a First in my degree, perform well in exams and am very well read, particularly in history and literature.
Just because I take longer to come to a conclusion, to make a decision, or to pick up new skills, does not mean that I, or anyone else is any less intelligent than someone who does not have a learning disability. Nowadays, people wont realize that I have a learning impairment, unless I specifically tell them, because I come across as extremely articulate, am intellectually smart and seem to ‘know a lot’. But what people don’t know is how hard I work to overcome my learning disability, to the point where I mask when I am struggling.
And it’s the same in dating and relationships. I would feel frustrated when people wouldn’t understand my needs and wants, would diminish my disability ‘because I didn’t look like I had a learning impairment’, and would take us on dates which were for their benefit, and not for me. While I don’t have a ‘physical disability’ and I am grateful that my learning impairment is mild, it still makes embracing ‘true love‘ difficult for me.
I have a constant need for reassurance because I need ‘everything spelled out for me’, will ask partners to repeat ‘instructions’ over and over again, so I know that I have got it right, and I can sometimes find it hard to understand difficult information.From work, to dating, right through to friendships, relationships and personal life, my learning impairment does affect all areas of my life, and I’m not the only one.
Recently, there was outrage when Youtubers Shane and Hannah got married, because Shane has spinal muscular atrophy and has used a wheelchair since he was two. The comments were absolutely vile, implying that Hannah was marrying Shane for money, just because he had a disability. In other words, dating is complicated at the best of times, but social stigma means that dating someone with a disability is rarely discussed. But why is this? Why do we value ‘non-disabled relationships’ but infantalize disabilities?
Put simply, there is very little positive representation of dating with a disability in the media, so society gives us this impression that disabled people couldn’t possibly be in a healthy and happy relationship, which is a load of crap. How dare the media think it’s ok to imply that disabled people aren’t worthy partners.
That’s why I love Single Disabled, whose YouTube channel, shares creative date ideas for disabled people, de-stigmatizes dating with a disability, and shows how you can make sex fun. Jenna Farmer (who creates the videos) even talks about niche dating sites, that disabled daters can use like paraplegic dating sites and an amputee dating app.
Which is where my guide to inclusive, romantic and fun date ideas for disabled people comes in. From having a romantic sunset picnic in an accessible park, to geeking out at a museum, here are awesome date night suggestions to spice up your love life, and put the magic back into dating. Whether you are an art lover, enjoy dinner dates, or love staycations, just because you are disabled does not mean you have to miss out!
Have A Romantic Sunset Picnic In An Accessible Park
Picture the scene, the sun grows heavy in the sky, as it sinks into a sunset slumber, and daylight fades. It’s the most magical golden hour, and the world around you is blissfully still. A light breeze rustles through the trees, as you enter the park hand in hand, marvelling at the beauty of nature in an idyllic setting. You place the picnic basket on a blanket, and gaze into each other’s eyes, entranced by a heady concoction of love.
Picnic dates are the perfect way for you and your partner to bask in each other’s company, especially now that we are coming out of lockdown, and restrictions are being lifted. If you have difficulty with physical mobility or are a wheelchair user, an accessible park helps you be in a calm environment, where mobility isn’t needed to have fun. You can play games, set up a projecter and watch a movie or even have a romantic themed picnic, based on your favourite memory together. For example let’s say that you want to create a themed picnic.
Your favourite memory might be your first date, where your partner took you to to your favourite restaurant Dishoom, before heading to the quirky yet funky Gigi’s Hoxton, for after dinner drinks. You remember how as the night drew to a close, your date focused on you completely, ordering an UberAssist, which was a wheelchair accessible vehicle, that would take you both home for a night of unadulterated passion.
You fell in love with the way that he cared for you, and cherished you, not treating you any differently to anyone else. He saw the beauty in who you were, and your heart, and looked beyond the disability, to become your soulmate. Which is why you wanted to treat him to a gorgeous sunset picnic, in your favourite Wanstead Park, that stretched out for miles, with duck ponds, lakes, and lush green fields all around you.
Together, you would create a picnic to rival all other picnics. There would be balloons, streamers, and flower petals, while gifting each other ‘just because’ cards, gifts and love letters, to show how much you loved one another. There would be photobooks from your relationship together, and a video compliation where you are both at your weirdest and quirkiest selves. As for your dinner, it was like fireworks had been lit up in the sky. Inspired by Dishoom, you made flaky, buttery vegetable samosas with orange and gin chutney, washed down with mango lassis, frothy and sweet. A tinge of rum, brought some fun to the party drink, decorated with a garnish of edible love petals.
Golden fried sweet potato chaat, were drizzled in green tamarind, a warm-cold surprise, while seductive gunpowder potatoes danced on our tongues, tossed with butter and aromatic seeds. As for the mains, what else but your beloved Chloe Chawal could save the day, a hearty bowl of spiced chickpea curry, with fluffy basmati rice, enveloping your mouths in a riot of taste. You cooked before sunset, so the food was still hot, a warming feast of Indian proportions, laced with flavour, spice and vibrance. It was now time to replicate the neon magic of Gigi’s.
Gigi’s was a vibrant, neon wonderland, where cocktails, live music and entertainment was the order of the day, so how on earth would you recapture that magic on a sunset picnic? You would set up your laptop with a killer soundtrack, as the day faded into night, bopping along to tracks from Cardi B, Blackbear, Doja Cat, Lil Nas X and of course Ru Paul, as you smiled the night away.
There would be innovative cocktails like ‘The Frida’, Patron silver tequila, mixed with Tia Maria raspberry and blackberries, zested with lemon, while Lavender Blue was a mocktail with a kick, pineapple juice, lavender syrup and sticky vanilla sugar, muddled with tumeric, fresh lime and apple. Served in glow in the dark cups, you watched the cups light up, making your picnic cocktails that much more fun to drink.
Have A Themed Dinner And Movie Night At Home
Delving into a retro bucket of buttery popcorn, your eyes lock, holding hands cuddled up on the sofa. A fluffy cozy blanket keeps you both warm, as you snuggle into each other, watching Disney films back to back, with nostalgic reminiscing. From Coco, to Soul, right through to cult classics like The Lion King and Ice Age, your Disney marathon has you both enthralled in child-like wonder.
There is nothing that is more relaxing, than having a chilled dinner and movie night at home, and avoiding packed out cinemas and restaurants. Having spoken to people who have a physical disability, a chronic illness, sensory issues or are a wheelchair user, many have said that they find that some cinemas are not wheelchair friendly, even when they say they are. They have also cited that they always have to book their tickets online, to see where the wheelchair spaces are allocated, and have reported that lifts are often out of service.
For people who have sensory issues, cinemas pose a big problem because loud noises, bright lights, large groups of people, and unfamilar textures or smells during a movie, can cause sensory overload. As anxiety and sensory processing issues often go hand in hand. having an at-home movie night, helps you and your partner be in a familar environment, where you can control the volume, lights and identify any smells that might be triggering. Add your favourite dinner to the mix, and you are on to a sure-fire winner.
Going with the Disney theme, you might choose to focus on a particular film, or have ‘Disney’ as an overarching theme. Let’s say that you choose the incredible Coco, a tale of young Miguel’s dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol Ernesto de la Cruz. With a trip into the stunning and colourful Land of the Dead, Miguel embarks on a soul-searching journey to find out the truth about his family’s history. Coco is visually stunning, with a story that celebrates Mexican culture so equisitely, that it would be perfect for a Disney dinner and movie.
Decor is key, and as someone who is a colourful maven herself, decorating your home with vibrant and bold Mexican banners, gorgeous marigolds and sugar skull masks, is all true to a ‘day of the dead’ themed dinner party. You might like to put the official Coco soundtrack on, or even play traditional Mariachi music, to get you in the themed dinner date mood. If you or your partner can play guitar, you might like to serenade your partner, playing their favourite music, in the traditional Mexican folk music style. As far as date night ideas for disabled people go, Coco is the perfect ice breaker, to bring couples closer together, and connect over good food, drink and a movie marathon.
For food, add some snacky bits like Elote, corn on the cob gloriously smothered in Salt, chilli powder, lime, butter, cheese, mayonnaise and sour cream, and tostadas, fried corn tortillas served with refried beans, cheese, guacamole and any other garnishes that you would want. If you want something a little more filling, then the infamous enchiladas, tamales and fajitas are filling and 100% delicious. I personally love a buritto, generously filled with This isn’t chicken ( a vegan meat substitute), sour cream, black beans, pinto beans, pico de gallo and guac.
Check Out An Art Gallery Or Interactive Exhibition
Most museums, art galleries and exhibitions are wheelchair accessible, and disability friendly, making it a calm environment to take your loved one to. Going on a date in an art gallery in particular is mesmerizing, drawn into a world of colour, texture, prints, and art history, as you get lost in art’s magneticism. But which art galleries are disability friendly? The Tate Modern in London, GoMA (Gallery of Modern Art) and The Wallace Collection are all wheelchair friendly, making them the perfect spot for art lovers, who want to find quirky date ideas for disabled people.
At the Tate Modern, you have wheelchairs and mobility scooters available, with accessible toliets located on every floor. Guide dogs are welcome, and all entrances are suitable for wheelchair users. As for the art? Prepare to be spellbound, as it holds the national collection of British art from 1500 to the present day, as well as international modern and contemporary art. From a 1967 David Hockney original, an artist renowned for his cubist, modern art and pop art references, to Cubist legend Picasso and one of my favourite artists, surreal painter Salvador Dali, Tate Modern’s interpretation of art, is utterly, utterly divine. As someone who loves colourful art, there’s something for everyone.
If you live in Scotland, then GoMA is Glasgow’s answer to the Tate Britain, and plays an important part in the city’s rich heritage. Disability friendly, it has a ramp leading up to the main entrance, which has level access to the reception. There is a hearing assistance system that can help those who are deaf or are hard of hearing, and there are accessible toliets and a lift that you can use to get around the art gallery. Famous pieces include pop art icon Andy Warhol’s 1981 Oyster Stew Soup screenprint, activist artist Sharon Hayes who explores queer theory and sexual politics in ‘May 1st’, and Eduardo Paolozzi who was a Scottish sculptor and artist.
Fans of art, will also adore The Wallace Collection, a stunning 19th century Hertford House, and the former home of Sir Richard Wallace. The prodigious art collection includes paintings by Rembrandt, Reynolds, Rubens, Van Dyck, Canaletto, Gainsborough and Titian, to name a few. When Wallace died, his widow left the entire house and its contents to the nation, to revel in its artistic prowesses. With step free access into the building, and remote control door access available, you can revel in art with your partner, before relaxing in its stunning courtyard.
Looking for a more immersive art experience? Then you’ll love Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience, a wheelchair friendly foray into paintings, like you’ve never seen them before. A 360º digital art exhibition in London that invites you to step into the universe of the Dutch genius, Vincent van Gogh, travel through 8 works and their source of inspiration in “A Day in the Life of the Artist in Arles France”. Its art like you’ve never seen it before, with an atmospheric art and light show, that will leave you and your partner in awe.
Nerd Out At Your Favourite Museum And Go Back In Time
They wander among dinosaurs, hand in hand, skin crawling at the fearsome roar of the mighty T-Rex, hunting for fossils of creatures big and small, that once prowled the earth, before an astroid wiped them out. A quick foray into their accessible time machine leads them into Ancient Egypt, where death and the afterlife is so beautifully portrayed, ornately painted wooden coffins, and wall paintings from a tomb chapel, giving an insight into how Ancient Egyptians viewed the afterlife. But what about the history of art, design and performance?
Museums are the perfect place for educational, fun and affordable date night ideas for disabled people, and here in London, we have extremely inclusive musuems. The likes of the Natural History Museum, The British Museum and the V&A (Victoria and Albert Musuem) all have wheelchair access, step free access and cater for people who have vision impairment or are hard of hearing. The Natural History Museum is excellent as their exhibition road entrance is wheelchair accessible, with wheelchair hire available and accessible lifts and toliets.
Assistance dogs are also welcome to the musuem, with water available upon request, and large print versions of the musuem map, event schedule and selected exhibition guides are available. If you have a hearing impairment, there are regular British Sign Language signed events at the museum and learning spaces and audio visual displays are equipped with an induction loop system. Natural history lovers will adore how you can go from studying dinosaur fossils, to human evolution, right through to exploring the wonderful world of British Wildlife.
If mummies are more your thing, and you are as obsessed with Ancient Egypt as I am, then you will love The British Musuem. With over 8 million objects spanning 2 million years of history, across six continents, prepare to be spellbound. From Ancient Egypt, to the rich and diverse history of Africa, right through to themes such as Desire, Love and Identity, Death and Memory and Animals, you wont get bored.
With special morning tours available for disabled visitors, and a sensory map that shows busiest and quiestest rooms, you’ll feel right at home. They also show spaces with natural light, low light, and temperature variations, and have access to induction loops, accessible seating and lifts. If you use a companion animal, you can take your guide dog to the museum as long as they are wearing their harnesses.
If art and design is what makes you tick, then you’ll love the equally accessible Victoria and Albert Musuem. With over 2.3 million objects that span 5,000 years of human artistry, the V&A is home to architecture, furniture, fashion, textiles, photography, paintings, ceramics, book arts and so much more. From rich illuminated manuscripts from the Middle Ages and jewelled pendants given by Elizabeth I to her courtiers, to The Raphael Cartoons, a Renaissance treasure, you will be mesmerizsed.
Mobility aids are available, as is wheelchair access, and guide dogs are welcome on the premises. There are 13 accessible toliets in the museum and stools are available in a range of galleries. This disability friendly museum makes learning fun, and goes above and beyond to ensure that its disabled visitors can immersive themselves in artistic date night ideas for disabled people without missing out!
Explore Nature In A Beautiful Botanical Garden
The young couple always saw themselves as explorers. Whether that was going to live music gigs, travelling the world or immersing themselves in nature, they loved that no two days were the same. Their idea of a romantic day out, usually involved a trip to a gorgeous public garden like Kew Gardens, breathing in the clean, pure air, filling their lungs with contentment, happiness and love.
Naturally curious, this couple loved how they could love themselves in the botanical gardens, and whittle the day away, as they not only discovered the science behind the botanical collections, but came face to face with over 50,000 living plants. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kew Gardens contains plants from tropical, temperate, arid and alpine climates. From a stunning aquatic collection with waterlillies and lotuses, to the fascinating arid collection with cactuses and succulents, who knew plants were so exciting. The flowers are just as beatutiful.
In the Woodland Garden and Temple of Aeolus, you can wander beneath a deciduous canopy of mature oaks, limes and birches, near the Palm House Pand. A relaxing, meditative environment, you can feel calm under the gaze of the Himalayan blue poppies, marvelling at the Grade II-listed Temple of Aeolus. A quiet spot for reflection, feel all your worries melt away in this 18th century paradise, named after the ruler of winds in Greek Mythology. Designed by William Chambers, and built in the 1760’s get a slice of history and nature in one view.
One of Kew Gardens most popular attractions is the Princess of Wales Conservatory, where you can travel from the deserts to the tropics, in endless wonder. With ten computer-controlled climate zones, this glassy labyrinth is a real treat to witness, even if you aren’t a massive plant lover. In the carnivorous zone you will find the terrifying but cool Venus Fly Traps, and Pitcher Plants who can swallow their prey in less than half a second. If hungry plants aren’t really your cup of tea, then you’ll love the aesthetic beauty of the celebrated giant waterlily.
A Victoria amazonica floats in the wet tropical zone, where its utterly stunning white flowers open at sunset, filling the air with a strong perfume before they are pollinated and turn bright pink by the morning. It’s one of the most amazing things I have ever seen, and as far as date ideas for disabled people go, I would reccomend going to Kew Gardens just to see this natural phenomenon occur. As for accessibility the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is fantastic. Not only do they have disabled parking and accessible toliets, but mobility scooters and wheelchairs available as well. The gardens are also largely flat, although please plan your journey before you go so you have a great time.
What’s more their actual website is also accessible. You can listen to the website using a screen reader, can change colours, contrasts and fonts and can zoom in up to 300% without text spilling off the page. You can navigate most of the website using speech recognition software and Kew Gardens also tries to make their language as simple as possible, so that everyone can understand, even when Science is involved.
Travel Back To Elizabethan Times At Shakespeare’s Globe
Isn’t it crazy to think that over 400 years ago, one of the greatest playwrights that the world has ever known, was writing classics like Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and King Lear? Yes, that’s right, I am talking about the marvellous William Shakespeare, who is widely regarded as Britian, if not the world’s best playwright, whose plays still seem fresh, because they mirror the social politics, economic state and cultural tendencies of our modern day world. With universal themes, memorable dialogue and genres spanning tragedy, romance and comedy, Shakespeare left behind a legacy that was impossible to fill. This was why in 1970 Sam Wanamaker founded the Shakespeare Globe Trust.
An American Actor and Director, Wanamaker set up Shakespeare’s Globe to celebrate Shakespeare’s transformative impact on the world by conducting a radical theatrical experiment. The Globe Theatre and the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse (the latter founded in 2014) welcome over 1.25 million visitors a year from all over the world. Whether you want to watch an infamous Shakespeare play (Hamlet toured in nearly every nation in the world), take part in workshops and lectures, or enjoy a guided tour of their two theatres, this is a theatre lovers paradise.
With ground breaking interpretations of classics told from an LGBTQIA+, gender fluid and diverse perspective, Shakespeare’s Globe aims to reinvent the wheel and turn tradititional stereotypes on its head. If you look at Twelfth Night, this was already a remarkable play, where it’s cross-dressed heroine Viola showed the range of gender possibilities available to early modern people. Viola disguises herself as a boy and wins the love of a man and a woman (Orsino and Olivia). Even when their gender is revealed, they are still seen as a man.
Celebrating queerness on stage, Shakespeare might not have had the same understanding of sexuality, gender constructs and gender identity as we do today, but Viola was definitely a pre-cursor to similar gender fluid characters. For those who are looking for creative literature based date night ideas for disabled people, Shakespeare’s Globe is an empowering open theatre, where culture, politics and identity are explored through performance and art. Even if you look at John Fletcher and Shakespeare’s co-written play ‘The Two Noble Kinsmen’ it also explored gender identity, with its analysis of erotic attraction in both its heterosexual and homosexual relationships.
Shakespeare’s Globe offers both live streamed performances, and also open air theatre performances, so that you can choose to enjoy the performance from the comfort of your own home, or join in the fun at Shakespeare’s Globe. A theatre that has inclusivity at its heart, The Globe has an access scheme where Deaf, disabled and neurodivergent people can join. This scheme allows Shakespeare’s Globe to assist the disabled with finding suitable seating, and ensure that ticket prices are adjusted to reflect their requirements.
Touch tours are available before audio described performances, and hearing dogs are able to come and have a tour of Shakespeare’s Globe with their owner, before being looked after by a steward during performances. Hearing enhancers are available from the welcome desk in the main foyer, and induction loops are installed in both theatres, as well as at the box office, and guided tours. There are often BSL performances online, and in the theatre, which you can attend and The Globe Theatre has open captioning units used for captioned performances.
Experience The Thrill Of Winter Sports At The Chill Factore
Chill Factore is home to Disability Snowsport UK, a nationwide registered charity providing adaptive skiing for individuals with any disability, including physical, sensory and learning disabilities. By using adaptive equipment and specialist instruction and support, they are able to cater for even those who have very limited mobility. The UK’s longest indoor ski slope, this real snow centre in Trafford Park, Manchester is inclusive, celebrating people who love winter sports, and want sporty date ideas for disabled people, without limitations.
Whether you want a Ski lesson with your other half, want to give snowboarding a try or go sledging and sliding to your heart’s satisfaction, the sky really is the limit. Chill Factore’s snow park is perfect for disabled couples who want to improve their team building skills, and you can even get private tuition to hit the slopes in style. For those who want to learn to snowboard in Manchester, their snowboarding lessons are tailored to suit total beginners, intermediates or more advanced boarders. You can even get yourself a coveted ski pass.
If you and your partner are a master on your skis or board, your lift pass can allow you to enjoy free time on the snow, 364 days per year. Sometimes there are exciting freestyle sessions like ‘terrain challenges’, where you can take on a selection of features, including a variety of rails, kickers, boxes, moguls, table tops and pipes, for a thrill seeking date night in Manchester. If you want to watch from afar, and enjoy the snow, you can take a break from all the fabulous winter sports and have a hot chocolate après ski style.
Chill Factore’s Snow Park, is the perfect place for disabled couples with kids, who want to join them on their winter sport adventure and have a whale of a good time. Unleash your inner kid as you tackle the tulmotous twists and turns of their ice slide, laughing at your partner’s competitive expression, and try a sledge ‘n’ slide, and race your partner, and kids to the bottom of the snow slope on your choice of sledge. As if that wasn’t enough, experience the Downhill Donuts, in a large single or double inflatable rubber ring and speed down the snow park lanes.
What Are Your Tips For Creative Date Night Ideas For Disabled People?
Please note this is a collaborative post but all thoughts are my own and are not affected by monetary compensation. I am passionate about creating a safe and inclusive space for all my readers, and wanted to write this post as I noticed that a lot of dating guides would exclude those who were disabled. Whether you are a wheelchair user, have a mental health condition or have a chronic illness, dating should be fun and creative. That’s why my date night ideas for disabled people include everything from winter sports, to museums, theatres, exhibitions and more.