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20 fun family things to do this Easter

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 our pick of some of the best days out you can have this Easter:

Northern England

1. Tarn Hows, Lake District

Tarn Hows

Visitors to Tarn Hows

Spend a leisurely afternoon wandering around this stunning lake. Hire a tramper and do a full circuit of the tarn along accessible paths is 1.8 miles (3km). Note they can be a bit hilly in places. You can also go trail orienteering and test your navigation skills.

2. Muncaster Castle, Cumbria

Explore this 13th-century “haunted” castle and its beautiful gardens and woodland. Then, catch 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 on the Sunday and Monday.

Central and Eastern England

3. Time and Tide Museum, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk

This small museum 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, games and more, then finish the day at the café.

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 need physical and/or mental disabilities who struggle to stand in a queue for long periods (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. There’s a beautiful river, ancient woodland and sensory garden, as well as several miles of paths to explore. You can also get out on the water in an accessible boat. Don’t miss the Easter egg hunt on Good Friday!

The Southwest

6. South Devon Railway, 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 for an Easter egg hunt at the Totnes Rare Breed Farm. Then visit the Dartmoor Otters and Buckfast Butterflies sanctuary, where staff will show you the best area to see the otters if you’re in a wheelchair.

7. Eden Project, Par, Cornwall

A visitor to Eden Project

A visitor to Eden Project

Cornwall’s biggest draw is a fantastic day out, no matter the weather. There are huge domed gardens full of exotic plants and volunteers on hand to accompany you if you wish. During the Easter weekend, there’s an Easter egg hunt and egg-themed games. A “relaxed” version of family activities is available for those with sensory or communication needs.

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 touchscreen 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. There are stunning costal views and plenty of accessible areas to explore, plus indoor exhibitions for rainy April days. At Easter, indulge the pirate in you with fun and games, but be careful not to walk the plank!

The Southeast

10. The Science and Natural History Museums, London

Interactive galleries at the Science Museum

Interactive galleries at the Science Museum

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. 

Natural History Museum.jpg

Exploring creatures at the Natural History Museum

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 children and adults with learning difficulties. Book in advance to have a volunteer accompany you around the museum.

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 journey on the brand new Gruffalo River Ride. You can apply for a Ride Access Pass or to bring a helper free of charge. Check the Disabled Go Access Guides in advance to work out which rides are suitable for you.

Northern Ireland

13. Titanic, Belfast

Discover the history of the 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.

14. Exploris Aquarium, Portaferry

This is Northern Ireland’s only aquarium and reptile exhibition. Visit the seal sanctuary, see a sunken galleon in the open sea tank and don’t miss the feeding times when an aquarist gives a poolside talk. There are usually quiet sessions for those with sensory needs in the afternoon, but it’s advised to ring ahead to check.

15. Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh

Candle dipping at Ulster American Folk Park

Candle dipping at Ulster American Folk Park

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.

Wales

16. Clwyd Special Riding Centre, Wrexham

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 ceiling hoist and other physical and communication aids plus purpose-built accessible accommodation.

17. Doctor Who Experience, Cardiff

Get up close to a Dalek or star in your own adventure at the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff, home to the world’s largest Doctor Who collection. Those with sensory needs should call in advance to see which tour would be most suitable.

Scotland

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, children bringing their favourite cuddly toy get in free and there’s a Cuddly Corgi Treasure Hunt – spot Clarence the Corgi and his friends hidden about the ship.

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, specialist staff are on hand and there’s accessible equipment, such as adapted sailing dinghies and wheelyboat and hand bikes. Over the Easter weekend, enjoy the Castle Semple Easter Quiz, Easter Egg Decorating and Rolling, and the Sailablity Spring Regatta.

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. Over Easter, check out the Frank Quitely exhibition (1 April –1 October 2017), which showcases the work of the artist behind iconic comic characters, such as Batman, Superman and the X-men.


Image credits

We 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: Alamy Stock Photo/ Simon Whaley

The Eden Project, Cornwall: Eden Project

The Science Museum of London: Getty Images/ Mike Kemp

Natural History Museum: © The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London [2017]

Ulster American Folk Park: National Museums of Northern Ireland

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