Northern Ireland has been praised for its ‘imaginative’ new features which are helping transform the experience of days out in Northern Ireland for disabled visitors.

The new Rough Guide to Accessible Britain includes 12 attractions from across the country in its new edition.

The accessible cable car at Titanic Belfast, audio described and captioned performances at the Grand Opera House and multi-sensory exhibits at W5 are just a few of the new installations creating a more immersive experience for visitors with disabilities enjoying a day out in Northern Ireland.

Titanic Belfast

It also praises the recently awarded best Blue Flag beach in the UK, Portstewart Strand, which it praised for its accessibility:

“Beaches don’t get more accessible that this: visitors are allowed to drive their car right onto the sand – an old tradition that the Trust inherited, and allowed to continue, when it bought this stretch of coast in 1980.

“Bring a picnic and take in the spectacular scenery as you listen to the surf crashing in from the Atlantic. Depending on the time of year, you may spot butterflies, wild orchids, pansies and thyme flourishing among the dunes, plus seals in the sea.

Portstewart Strand

“The western end of the Strand, by the river estuary, is home to abundant birdlife, which you can view from a wheelchair accessible hide.”

Meanwhile, the Ulster Museum was praised for its refurbished areas complete with ramps that allow disabled visitors to move around with ease.

There are also five Blue Badge parking spaces, as well as ramps, hand-rails, low-level desks, additional lifts and level rest spots, whilst the majority of exhibits have low level display units and seating – with portable chairs also available.

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Additionally, visitors with sensory disabilities can call ahead to organise free personal guided tours.

It comes after the newly reopened Exploris Aquarium announced it will offer ‘quiet times’ each week for children and adults with disabilities.

The Portaferry tourist attraction has taken the move which will see special provision given every Thursday between 4pm-6pm for those with conditions such as autism, AD/HD, cerebral palsy, epilepsy and others to enjoy the tourist attraction in quieter surroundings while being closed to the general public.

Exploris Aquarium. Source - Facebook

The new provisions will allow these families to enjoy the same experience, but in their own space without having to wait in any busy queues and crowds.

The decision came about after the aquarium experienced large crowds since its popular reopening to the public. There is additional possibility that the scheme will be extended with openings on Sundays a possibility in the future.

Northern Ireland’s newest Omniplex Cinema is also helping to transform the experience of disabled visitors.

Omniplex Cinemas2

The new state-of-the-art Omniplex Cinema at The Outlet in Banbridge holds sensory screenings throughout the weekend for families of children with autism, where lights are dimmed instead of turned off completely and sound levels are lowered to make for more comfortable viewing.

The Omniplex has also ensured that everyone can enjoy their favourite actors on the big screen with a Tuesday Treat offering £3.50 tickets and subtitled screenings every Monday.

For more information, you can visit accessibleguide.co.uk.

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