Days out with the family, especially over the busy Easter period, can have extra challenges if you have a disability. But plenty of inclusive options are out there, from fun days out and educational experiences to family attractions, many of which have good facilities and wheelchairs available to hire. Here’s Rough Guides Author, Lucinda Hallett’s pick of some of the best days out you can enjoy this Easter.
The smooth path around Tarn Hows
1. Tarn Hows, Lake District
Spend a leisurely afternoon wandering around this stunning lake. Hire a tramper and do a full circuit of the tarn along accessible paths for less than 2 miles (3km). It is important to note that they can be a bit hilly in places. You can also go trail orienteering and test your navigation skills. On 30 March–2 April, join the Cadbury’s Easter Egg Hunt and look out for clues along the route.
2. Muncaster Castle, Cumbria
Explore this 13th-century “haunted” castle and its beautiful gardens and woodland, before watching a bird display at the Hawk and Owl Centre. Children with teddies get in free over the Easter weekend, and there’s a historical Easter Egg hunt at 12.30pm on the Sunday and Monday.
Central and Eastern England
3. Time and Tide Museum, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk
This small museum, housed in a former herring curing works, is a great place to discover more about the rich maritime history of Great Yarmouth. Explore the row of Victorian-era fishing cottages, take part in the live hands-on displays, puzzles and games, and enjoy free audio guides and films. On 4 April, there’s an Eggs-cellent Easter Fair with games and crafts.
4. Alton Towers, Staffordshire
The ever-popular theme park is always a thrilling day out. Not all of the rides are suitable for all guests though, so check the Additional Needs Guide. The Ride Access pass is available for people with physical and/or mental disabilities who struggle to stand in a queue for long periods, but it is important to apply in advance.
5. Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, South Walsham, Norfolk
Once used as a convalescence home, Fairhaven is still a wonderfully peaceful place. Explore the beautiful Broad by accessible boat or follow several miles of paths through the flower garden, sensory garden and ancient woodland. Don’t miss the Easter egg hunt on Good Friday!
6. South Devon Railway and Totnes Rare Breeds Farm, Devon
Take a seven-mile steam train ride on the accessible South Devon Railway that runs between Totnes and Buckfastleigh (where the most suitable parking is). Stop off at the wonderful Totnes Rare Breed Farm where you can get up close to cheeky chipmunks and learn how a hedgehog uses its spines. Then visit the Dartmoor Otters and Buckfast Butterflies sanctuary, where staff will show wheelchair users the best vantage point to see the otters.
The rainforest canopy walkway at the Eden Project
7. Eden Project, Par, Cornwall
Cornwall’s biggest draw is a fantastic day out, no matter the weather. At the Eden Project, there are huge domed gardens full of exotic plants, an accessible rainforest canopy walkway and sensory experiences throughout. Access volunteers are on hand to accompany you, if you wish. A relaxed version of family activities is available for those with sensory or communication needs. Over a three-week period this Easter, the busy programme of family activities includes an giant inflatable challenge and a spring maze.
8. Grand Western Canal Country Park, Tiverton, Devon
A nature reserve lines the banks of this peaceful canal for 11 miles (18km). From the Canal Basin car park in Tiverton, take the flat path, keeping an eye out for the wildflowers, birds, fish and even a horse-drawn canal boat. There are four wheelchair-accessible fishing platforms along the canal and interactive displays in the Canal Visitor Centre.
9. Pendennis Castle, Falmouth
Built for King Henry VIII in 1545, this fine castle fortress has defended Cornwall ever since. From Pendennis Castle, there are stunning coastal views and plenty of accessible areas to explore, plus indoor exhibitions for rainy spring days. At Easter, you can learn about life at Pendennis during Tudor times – hear muskets roar and discover how the castle defended the coastline.
Interactive galleries at the Science Museum
10. The Science Museum and Natural History Museum, London
You can visit two of London’s best museums in one day, as the buildings back onto each other. Both are highly accessible. There are plenty of buttons and sounds in the Science Museum’s interactive galleries while at the Natural History Museum you can learn all about creatures large and small, from the tiniest bugs to the mighty blue whale.
11. British Museum, London
Explore the huge collection of world art and artefacts at the British Museum. There are object trails, tours and talks, object handling sessions or you can wander the exhibition rooms by yourself. Touch tours and activity programs are available for people with learning difficulties, while free British Sign Language guides and audio descriptive guides are available for visitors who are deaf or hard of hearing.
12. Chessington World of Adventures, Surrey
Enjoy more than 40 exciting rides and attractions at this family theme park. Go for big thrills on fast rides such as Rameses Revenge or take a magical boat journeyon the new Gruffalo River Ride. You can apply for a Ride Access Pass or you may bring a helper free of charge. Check the Disabled Go Access Guides in advance to work out which rides are suitable for you.
Titanic Belfast – Cabins
13. Titanic, Belfast
Discover the history of RMS Titanic in the very place she was built with over nine interactive galleries to explore in your own time, or take the one-hour Discovery Tour. On Easter Sunday, take a special Easter Afternoon Tea in the opulent Titanic Suite. There’s a comprehensive access guide on the website.
14. Exploris Aquarium, Portaferrt
This is Northern Ireland’s only aquarium and reptile exhibition, which recently underwent a £2m refurbishment. Get a good look at the African Nile crocodile and reticulated python, and see a sunken galleon in the open sea tank – don’t miss the feeding times when an aquarist gives a poolside talk! Then visit the seal sanctuary where you can view the seals from a glass viewing platform, before they are reintroduced into dramatic Strangford Lough. There are quiet sessions at 4pm daily.
Candle dipping at Ulster American Folk Park
15. Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh
Visit this excellent museum to discover the history of Irish emigration during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Costumed characters bring stories to life, from the cottages of Ireland to arrival in the New World. This Easter, you can have a go at traditional crafts, storytelling sessions and seasonal treats. This Easter (1–3 April), you can have a go at crafts, such as pole-lathe turning, take part in street games and see the baby lambs at the Discovery Farm.
16. Clwyd Special Riding Centre, Wrexham
Do you love horses? Then this riding centre is for you. This registered charity offers riding experiences, for people with a wide range of needs. There’s a simulated mechanical horse, which enables you to feel what it’s like canter along a beach. The centre is fully kitted out with a Changing Places facility and other physical and communication aids plus purpose-built accessible accommodation.
17. Talyllyn Railway Museum
Travel by steam train through the beautiful Snowdonia National Park. Dating from 1865, the Talyllyn Railway is the oldest preserved railway in the World. It runs for seven miles inland from Tywyn on the coast to Nant Gwernol. Over Easter, the accessible trains will run five times a day and there’ll be plenty of activities for children, from bonnet-making to Easter egg painting. Check the Access Guide before you go.
18. The Royal Yacht Britannia, Edinburgh
See how the Royal family used to live as they sailed the high seas on the royal yacht. Audio and private tours are available while exploring the five main decks. This Easter, spot Clarence the Corgi and his friends hidden about the ship on the Cuddly Corgi Treasure Hunt and enjoy delicious treats in the tea room. There’s also a children’s tour with a version of the free audio guide. To plan your visit, see the Accessibility page.
19. Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park, Lochwinnoch
At Scotland’s largest regional park, there are plenty of things to do both on and off the water. At the Castle Semple Centre – Scotland’s first Sailablility Centre of Excellence – specialist staff are on hand and there’s accessible equipment such as adapted sailing dinghies, wheelyboats and hand bikes. On Easter Sunday, enjoy the Castle Semple Easter Quiz on the loch shore and the Easter Egg Painting.
20. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow
Around 8,000 objects are displayed in 22 galleries at this free gallery, which has one of the best collections of art in Europe, including the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Making The Glasgow Style exhibition, which starts on Good Friday.
For more inspiration on spring days out around the UK, see The Rough Guide to Accessible Britain.
About the Motability Scheme
The Motability Scheme exists to give customers, their families and carers greater freedom to get out and do the day-to-day things they need and want to do, by enabling them to exchange all or part of their mobility allowance for leasing a car, scooter or powered wheelchair.
If you’d like us to send you more information about the Motability Scheme, request an information pack below or find out how to join.
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Rough Guides would like to thank the following individuals, companies and picture libraries for their kind permission to reproduce their photographs (in order of appearance on the web page):
Header image: The Science Museum of London: Getty Images / Mike Kemp
Tarn Hows: © National Trust Images / Chris Lacey
The Eden Project, Cornwall: Eden Project
The Science Museum of London: Getty Images / Mike Kemp
Natural History Museum: ©Natural History Museum
Ulster American Folk Park: National Museums of Northern Ireland