Getting out and about is important for everyone, and evidence shows that enjoying the great outdoors and getting fresh air and sunshine is good for body and mind.
The summer months especially provide a perfect opportunity to get out and see our country at its best. If you have a disability or health condition it is valuable to have information about facilities and accessibility when planning a trip to make sure that everyone on the excursion has access to what they need.
Here we highlight the top picks of days out from around the country.
Warner Bros. Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter, Hertfordshire
A phenomenal day out from the whole family if you’ve enjoyed the Harry Potter books and films, the Warner Bros Studio Tour promises to have you captivated if you have an interest in film, art, or storytelling. The tour takes you on a journey of the key sets from the films, and visitors can immerse themselves in the costumes, props and models used in the movies. You have the opportunity to fly a broomstick or sample the famous wizard drink, butterbeer.
Blue Badge holders can park at the front of the car park and there is easy level access to the ticket offices and entrance lobby. Access is good throughout the studio tour with the hardest parts to navigate with a wheelchair being Diagon Alley and the Studio Shop which can get crowded. The barriers are also at a height that may obstruct the sight line of some wheelchair users, though everything is viewable. There are good disabled toilet facilities with grab rails throughout, and a new Changing Places facility.
Visitors with disabilities are advised to call Visitor Services to discuss access requirements and book free carer tickets which can be collected from the ticket office to the right of the main entrance.
IWM Duxford, Cambridgeshire
Located on the best-preserved World War II airfield in Europe, IWM Duxford is a museum dedicated to the history of aviation in war and peace. It is a vibrant museum full of contemporary displays and interactive exhibitions bringing its fascinating past to life.
The museum has been made as accessible as possible. It has ample disabled parking spaces, a free-of-charge mobility vehicle for visitors who require assistance, wheelchair accessible entry to all the main buildings and plenty of disabled toilets. The site has good, level paths with lots of automatic doors. There’s a wheelchair lift up to the 1940 Operations, with a help point alongside to call for staff assistance.
Newport Parrog Coastal Trail, Pembrokeshire
Known as one of the most spectacular coastal paths in Britain, the Pembrokeshire Coast Path is well worth a visit, with pretty scenery along the half-mile stretch of wheelchair accessible path, giving disabled visitors a taste of the stunning scenery offered by one of Britain’s most popular long-distance walking trails. The path starts from the Parrog Car Park in Newport, heading east, around the estuary of the River Nevern, taking you past reed beds, through woods, over streams and finally to the Iron Bridge. The whole route provides breathtaking views out to sea and up to the mountains and the end of the accessible trail by the bridge offers a good chance to pause and watch the birds before retracing the route back again.
The car park has four Blue WALES 193 Badge spaces and a toilet block with a RADAR key-accessible toilet. From the car parks it’s about 30 metres to the start of the path which is made from well-maintained compressed stone. The route takes about half an hour each way, with benches placed at regular intervals.
Carnfunnock Country Park, County Antrim
A former country estate that’s been turned into a public park, Carnfunnock Country Park has walking trails, formal gardens, a maze in the shape of Northern Ireland and family-friendly activities spread over a hillside overlooking the Irish Sea. There is an abundance of activities for the whole family, including an adventure playground, mini-golf, miniature railway, bungee run, trampolines, remote controlled boats and an activity centre.
The wheelchair accessible visitor centre, offers maps of the park, which clearly marks steep slopes and steps. Although the walking trails threading through the park are not all suitable for wheelchairs, the Biodiversity Trail (just over half a mile) is fully accessible, and offers fine views of Carnfunnock Bay. The car park has five dedicated Blue Badge spaces about twenty yards from the visitor centre (which also has disabled toilets), with two extra spaces in the separate activity centre car park. All paths linking the park’s main, lower areas are fully accessible, and wheelchair users will have no problem accessing the walled garden and maze. The higher way-marked walking trails are not suitable for wheelchairs, though many can be accessed on powered scooters.