Would I get to attend the Trialfinders Stadium to watch London Broncos v Hull FC?
This is my experience of an overnight stay, a visit to London and attending the game.
It started off by getting picked up at the top of my street by a coach with friends helping me with my luggage while I rode my scooter.
Arriving at the hotel
The hotel we booked for the overnight stay was the Holiday Inn, Brents Cross.
Upon arrival, I was greeted with revolving doors and no visible access for wheelchairs or scooters.
Not ideal, but making the most of a bad deal I went through the revolving doors on my scooter, note: revolving doors are not meant for wheelchairs or scooters, it was lucky I didn’t go straight through the glass.Prior to arrival, I had enquired if we had been allocated accessible rooms, note to self, make sure you go into detail with your requirements next time. Click To Tweet
Once our rooms were allocated we asked where the accessible rooms where we were informed they were on the first floor.
To access the first floor, there was a lift, but no space to turn around in front of the list, the lift was only small and meant there was only space for a scooter and carer.
The only way to enter the lift downstairs was forwards, therefore when we arrived at the first floor the only way to exit the lift was to reverse out and carry a three-point turn to get to the corridor.
Trying to hold the heavy fire doors open and get through the doors was the next feat to overcome, and with some difficulty, we eventually managed to get to our room.
This is where you will note my earlier comment about ensuring the room I have booked is accessible for me.
Driving the scooter it quickly became apparent there was very little room to manoeuvre, the bathroom door though wide enough there was no real space to turn around if needed.
On entering the bathroom, the shower was over the bath and the only part of accessible I could see was the handrail above the bath and the back of the bath had a seat on it which I presume you slide into the bath from.
Now I have not been able a have a bath for quite some time because I suffer from heat intolerance and once I am in I am unable to get out, my mother also couldn’t possibly get in and out of a bath so that was out the question.
In the bedroom the first thing I noticed was there was one double bed, this room was booked as an accessible room with a carer.
On enquiry with Reception, we were informed all their accessible rooms have double beds in.What use is an accessible room with one double bed? Click To Tweet
When we returned I emailed the hotel and received a very standard we are sorry and look forward to welcoming you again – sorry mate why would I?
Brents Cross Shopping Centre
Across the road from the hotel was a shopping centre so we decided to take the hotel shuttle bus.
The shuttle bus arrived and my friends and the driver lifted the scooter into the boot.
Access to the shopping centre was via an automatic door which meant that I got straight through.
The floor was flat and even and getting in and out of lifts was easy as was getting in and out of shops.
Particularly impressive was Zara as and even though there were a lot of people queuing at the checkouts a lovely woman signalled me to the front and served me straight away.
Brents Cross shopping centre, scores very highly with me on accessibility, it was all easy and flat to get around, the lifts where big enough to get us all in and the scooter and the staff I came across were all very helpful and friendly.
Returning to the hotel
When we enquired about the shuttle bus we were given a number to call for the shuttle bus driver to pick us back up.
Trying to get hold of the shuttle bus driver and it kept going to voicemail.
Mum was still at the hotel so I rang her and asked her to enquire how we got hold of the driver, she rang me back a couple of minutes later telling me the shuttle bus finished at 8 pm.
Even though we could see the hotel from where we were, it was over two main roads and I couldn’t see any pavements to it.
It looked about ½ mile to walk, but the hotel had given us a taxi number so we rang for a taxi, in the meantime my friend had spoken to one of the bus drivers as there was a bus station at Brent Cross Shopping Centre and they advised we could get on the bus with the scooter.
We only waited for about 5 minutes for a bus and the driver let the ramp down for me to get on.
Not ideal as the area is made for wheelchairs so, therefore, I had to literally hold on as he was going around corners as I was being thrown about all over.
The bus dropped us off near the hotel and after crossing a car park we made our way to the hotel, me having to go around the houses to find dropped kerbs.
Back to the room
This is when the fun started, I have stayed in a lot of Holiday Inns over the years and I have always been impressed with both the mattresses and the pillows.
But this had to be the most uncomfortable mattress I had ever slept on. Also every Holiday Inn, I have stayed in there has been a choice of pillows, in this hotel the only choice of pillows was soft.
With two disabled people in one double bed both who suffer from various spasticity and cramping issues neither of us slept, I for one need to spread out most of the time because of my legs spasming and my feet that often cramp, and mum suffers from cramp also.
Heading into the breakfast room, and as soon as I saw my friends I burst into tears, this illness really does test me at times. Thankfully a lovely staff member helped me by moving chairs and tables, so I could get in then she got both Mum and me our breakfast.
That is one thing that I can say about the hotel is that the staff were helpful and lovely especially Gabriella in the breakfast room.
Now the purpose of his trip was to go and watch Hull FC play London Broncos and as it was early we parked up on Regent Street to have a wander about shopping, eating etc;
Still new to being about on my scooter and one of the first things I’m going to say is it is so bloody lonely down there because you’re surrounded by people that are either talking to each other or walking in front or behind you.
My first experience of London riding a scooter was both good and bad.
- Riding around the streets, the pavements are very good, but just too full of people to feel safe.
- It’s a busy City and people charge about without looking, Hamley’s someone ran headfirst into me and then blamed me.
- Carnaby Street, cobbled streets not good to travel on.
- Shops don’t leave enough space between counters to get through.
Back on the coach to travel to the Trialfinders Stadium.
On arrival, we were stopped by stewards telling us we had to drop off and walk to the ground.
One of the most important things for me was to be able to drop off at the ground and the main reason I had decided to attend this game.
London Broncos assured me we would be able to, so this was very disappointing.
Now I was ok because I was on my scooter, but we did have disabled passengers who had to walk to the ground, disabled passengers who would not have attended if they were aware they would have to walk.
Once in the ground, I was informed I could park my scooter up as there was a raised area for wheelchairs/scooters.
On reaching the raised area the only access to it was over rubble so, two friends hadn’t helped because I couldn’t ride over it.
Deciding I was going to go up into the stands the same friends helped me up the steps.
Mum had decided she was going to stay at the bottom on the front row but couldn’t see so she moved up a couple of rows, sadly she still couldn’t see and twice she asked a steward to move the people who were standing at the perimeter fence, but they didn’t move.
At half-time my friends went to get coffees drinks etc and I asked them to ask where the disabled toilets were so that I could go, they were informed by the stewards the only toilets that they had available where the portable toilets on-site and each one of these toilets had queues of 30+ deep so I was unable to go the toilet.
Following my review on Tripadvisor of Brents Cross Holiday Inn and subsequent email, the response I received was very lame to say the least, even looking forward to seeing me in the future.
As I contacted London Broncos regarding accessibility and was reliably informed they had everything in place to get there and find there was no access to the stadium, the raised areas allocated for wheelchairs was a strip of concrete with rubble in front of it, and the disabled toilets where portable toilets with a sign on just like all the rest so everyone was using them, therefore sadly I can’t recommend attending the Trailfinders Stadium as a disabled fan.
To note I have still not received a response to my email which I sent on my return.