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Accessible days out

The summer holidays have arrived and although we might not experience the same weather in the UK as some of our European neighbours, there is still plenty to do!

Take a look at our blog review of some of the top accessible days out in the country. We have chosen five themes; Theme Parks, Animals, Educational, Adventure and FREE!

We hope you have a wonderful summer whatever it is you get up to.

We’d love to see what you get up to – why not post a picture on our twitter page – @dmorthotics

Theme Park – Warner Bros Studio Tour London: The Making of Harry Potter – Leavesden

All aboard the Hogwarts Express! Warner Bros Studio Tour London opened in March 2012 and is part entertainment theme park and part walk-through museum steeped in the history and magic of all things Harry Potter! The experience is a mystical enchantment created using the original iconic sets, costumes and props used during the making of the Harry Potter films.

Highlights include entering the famous Great Hall set, as well as visiting Dumbledore’s Tower office, the Gryffindor dormitory and potions classroom. The atmosphere is brought to life with the re-creation of many of the films special effects such as; the self-stirring potions, animatronics, riding a broomstick and new in 2015 the Hogwarts Express on platform 9 ¾.

Disabled access is good throughout much of the attraction. It is spacious and mostly on one level with a few slopes later on which are served well with hand-rails. Bring your blue badge and you will be granted to access to one of the many disabled parking bays at the front of the car park. There are good disabled toilet facilities featuring grab rails.

There is a cobbled street in Diagon Alley and accessing the bus, car or motorbike in The Backlot requires visitors to be able to transfer and bear weight. You will also need to transfer independently for the broomstick flying experience.

Tickets must be bought in advance for the Warner Bros Studio Tour and visitors with disabilities can call Visitor Services in advance to discuss access requirements and book free carer tickets.

Animals – Twycross Zoo – Twycross

Since its humble beginnings over 50 years ago, Twycross Zoo has grown to become one of the UK’s most cherished wildlife sanctuaries. It is best known for being a specialist primate centre with a wide range of monkeys and all four great ape species and is a leading contributor towards numerous worldwide conservation breeding and wildlife research programmes.

As well as the primates, Twycross is home to around 150 other species of spectacular wildlife in over 80 acres of expansive, rich surroundings including; Snow Leopards, Asian Elephants, Kangaroos, Zebra, Parrots, Flamingos, Pelicans, Boa Constrictor, Giant Tortoises, as well as more familiar species in the Pets at Twycross section.

The zoo is impressive in its ability to cater for disabled visitors and is very flat with few slopes. Disabled parking is abundant and well signposted near the main entrance. Powered scooters can be rented (£12) as can wheelchairs (£1), but contact the zoo to book in advance.

All shops, toilets and most of the animal houses are wheelchair friendly except for the lemur house. The Tropical House is available to visit by booking a Ranger guide, but is considered to be well worth doing in order to see the variety of birds, bats, and free-roaming animals.

Educational – Snibston Discovery Museum – Coalville

Planes, Trains, Science and Toys! Snibston Discovery Museum is an interactive, educational adventure; packed with exciting displays and hands-on exhibits. It is sited on the former Snibston Colliery and showcases some fascinating science, technology and design heritage, from ancient mining tools to a prototype jet engine!

Displays are well laid out and visitors are encouraged to participate in discoveries and experiments such as; lifting a MINI car, making fire and finding out the effects of black holes. The outdoor section of the museum gives the opportunity to ride the colliery railway on the diesel locomotive and take a tour of the colliery itself.

On arrival disabled parking is located near the museum’s entrance. If necessary, wheelchairs can be hired free of charge and all exhibition galleries are on ground level. The locomotive rides are accessible and most of the colliery tour is also accessible although there are some uneven surfaces in certain areas. There are three disabled toilets and some of the staff are BSL trained! Calling the museum in advance is advisable to arrange tours of the colliery and museum with the staff who are happy to help.

Activity – Airkix Indoor Skydiving – Manchester, Basingstoke, Milton Keynes

Ever wanted to fly? Airkix is an indoor skydiving experience which allows you to float on air, simulating a real life skydive freefall. It is immense fun and due to its nature and can experienced by everyone. The centre welcomes visitors with disabilities and the staff are experiences in catering to their needs, but it is recommended you contact the centre in advance.

The simulation takes place in a vertical wind tunnel, where a column of air reaching speeds of up to 100moh suspends you a few feet from the ground. Safety equipment is provided and you receive a 20 minute induction session with your flight instructor prior to your flight.

There are three Airkix centres in England, Basingstoke, Manchester and Milton Keynes.

FREE! – Brockholes Nature Reserve – Preston

Brockholes Nature Reserve is positioned just off j31 of the M6 and is a haven for British wildlife. A wonderful mix of; lakes, grasslands, reed beds and woodlands provide a range of understated environments allowing a rich a varied number of the native species to flourish.

There are three nature trails which can be followed, each varying in distance and guided tours are available. At the heart of the nature reserve is the Floating Village sat on the water of the lake.

There is plenty of disabled parking in the carpark which is situated 125m from the reserve. Adapted toilets are available at the Visitor Centre but there are none around the reserve itself, so make sure you go before setting off! Most paths are level and surfaced although some vary on the trails. A ‘Trail Access Guide’ can be found on the Brockholes website and is available at the Visitor Centre.

Information in this post has been obtained from the attractions’ websites and the Rough Guide to Accessible Britain available to view here
For prices and opening times please visit the attractions’ websites.

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