To help you plan for fun days out during the summer holidays Robbie and Gary from Anderson Strathern are giving you their personal suggestions of top places the whole family can enjoy safely and comfortably, whatever the Scottish weather has in store!
Further to being parents who love planning days out with their families, Robbie and Gary are lawyers at Anderson Strathern, our legal support service provider in Scotland. If you’d like to know more about them and their work you can contact Robbie on: firstname.lastname@example.org or 0131 270 7941.
Glasgow Science Centre – www.glasgowsciencecentre.org
The Science Centre is fully wheelchair accessible and runs autism friendly hours where it’s much quieter, the music is turned down and the lights are dimmed, which is great for anyone with environmental sensitivities. There are quiet spaces too, with sensory boxes for when people feel stressed or overstimulated. They work with the Access Card scheme that helps customers communicate their access requirements without going into personal details. Visitors can borrow a lanyard or wear their own to let the team know they might need support, help or a little extra time. There are lots of things to do for all ages including the planetarium, bodyworks section and loads of interactive, hands on exhibits. This is a favourite among all the dads in our team!
Aberdeen Science Centre – www.aberdeensciencecentre.org
We’ve heard that Aberdeen Science Centre is just as much fun as its Glaswegian cousin! It has a similar offering, including sensory boxes located at the reception, where you can borrow fiddle toys or ear defenders to use during your day out. There is also a visual guide available on the website so you can map out how your day will look in advance, and they have accommodations for families with babies and buggies, deaf and hard of hearing visitors, those with limited mobility and wheelchairs, and also for visitors who are blind or partially sighted. We think there’ll be great options for everyone here.
Almond Valley, West Lothian www.almondvalley.co.uk
There’s loads to see and do at Almond Valley including animals to meet, train and tractor rides, digging for bones and a big variety of imaginative play spaces among the meadows and woodland. They work with the Access Card scheme and almost all buildings on site are on a single level and are fully accessible and all pathways are hard surfaced. They have some active play equipment, such as swings and slides, that are particularly suited for those with impaired mobility and there are always quiet places throughout the site that are calmer. We love it as it’s a great place to have a picnic.
Edinburgh Fringe Festival – ww.edfringe.com
Next month sees the start of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival which has a huge range of shows for all ages throughout August. Their website lets you search for children’s shows and then filter by useful categories including accessibility options, age ranges and special pricing. The show we’re most looking forward to this year is the Adventure Bubble Show where every child gets the chance to go inside their own bubble! Edinburgh is an ancient city and if you’ve not been before, it’s worth knowing that thousands of different locations are used as Fringe venues. The larger ones tend to have provisions for those with mobility needs but we advise using the website to confirm that the venue is suitable for your family before booking to make sure that it will fit your needs on the day.
Edinburgh International Book Festival – www.edbookfest.co.uk/
Did you know that Edinburgh’s famous book fest was featured in Euan’s Guide to accessible festivals from 2016-2019? The guide was put on hold for a couple of years but with its 2019 accreditation, we expect the 2022 festival to be just as friendly for all of your families as it was in previous years. There is sound enhancement across its four largest venues, and the whole site is wheelchair accessible. It offers its guide in braille, audio and large print and operates on a ‘pay what you can’ function, to enable those who need a break the most to join in the fun.
Landmark Forest Adventure Park, near Aviemore – www.landmarkpark.co.uk
Meet dinosaurs, butterflies and red squirrels while exploring this ancient forest adventure area. Most areas of the park are accessible with a good network of well-maintained paths and wheelchair users can now explore the pinewood forest on the new Nature Trail. The park is dog friendly and has a ‘Green Card’ system in place which is designed to help those with conditions that may make queuing difficult. You can also leave and re-enter the park as needed meaning you can return to the car for a quiet break or to collect equipment, supplies or your picnic.
Highland Folk Museum, Newtonmore – www.highlifehighland.com/highlandfolkmuseum/
The Highland Folk Museum is Britain’s first open air museum and it takes its visitors on a journey through time. You’ll wander around each attraction at your own pace, starting by learning what life would have been like living in the highlands during Victorian times, and going all the way back to the middle ages. You’ll even get to discover what life was like in a blackhouse! There’s free parking and the entry is donation-based, there’s also a café and a doggy crèche for those who want to bring furry friends along (note that they’re not allowed to walk around with you – probably because there are chickens roaming free near the end!). It can be busy at weekends so we recommend a mid-week trip for those who would prefer it to be a little quieter.
Under Canvas, Inverness – www.eden-court.co.uk/under-canvas#start
This mini music festival in Inverness is located at the wonderful venue that is Eden Court. The venue itself is able to cater to all visitors. Under Canvas is hosted outdoors in an atmospheric bell tent and involves a total of 42 days of live music, performers and DJ sets on the lawn during July and August. All of the family is welcome, and there’s a bar and the option to grab some delicious wood-fired pizzas for your lunch or dinner. Similarly to Edinburgh’s book festival, it operates on a pay what you want system, making it even more accessible for everybody to enjoy.