Days out with your children can be lots of fun, but it can be difficult to know if your chosen destination is really suitable for your child, especially if they have additional needs, whether that means you need accessible spaces or spaces your child can retreat to when they are overwhelmed – so here are details of one popular attraction – Harry Potter World – and how one Newlife family felt about it.
After the books and films delighted audiences of all ages, the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London became a must do for fans across the country – and it seems they’ve worked hard to create an environment that is suitable for most, as much as they possibly can, although there are some exceptions, including a few areas of the tour which aren’t fully accessible for those in manual and power wheelchairs.
There are a number of free manual wheelchairs available to borrow for those who need to if they arrive using a large mobility vehicle or electric scooter, which can’t access the tour at all. Induction loops are fitted throughout the tour and are suitable for most hearing aids. Personal induction loops can be provided from the lobby. They require hearing aids to be moved to the ‘T’ position and can be reserved from our Visitor Services team before you visit.
A number of ear defenders are available as are lightweight foldable stools for those who need to rest frequently. Just speak to a member of staff if you need these.
A Sensory Room is also available within the tour, providing a calming environment for those with autism and other additional needs for when the noise, crowds and sensory input may become overwhelming. This room includes a sensory shell chair, interactive light box, mirror ball and tactile mirrors.
For those visitors to the attraction who have additional needs, a Hidden Disability Sunflower Lanyard can be collected to wear which act as a discreet sign to staff that an individual may need additional assistance or support during their visit. The lanyards are available to collect free of charge from either the Ticket Window or Information Desk during your visit.
For more information, please visit the additional needs section here but as always, if you are worried about anything in particular, it’s best to contact the venue to discuss your concerns. You can also contact the visitor services team on 0800 640 4550.
One recent young visitor to the tour was seven-year-old Elis from Cornwall, who has a connective tissue disorder, a curvature of his spine, a hole in his heart and has the most severe level of hypermobility, which means all his joints are very loose and floppy and this leads to him he becoming tired easily – to the point he will need to physically stop while moving too much during the day. Elis is also on the Autism pathway and has little awareness of danger, so it can also be difficult to keep him safe, unless he is in a specialist buggy to meet all of his needs.
Elis loves going on fun days out with family, which includes parents Sara and Andrew and siblings Evan aged 14 and Florence aged 12 and they recently went to the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London.
Mum Sara said: “We couldn’t have even contemplated going without the buggy from Newlife, it gives us freedom. Instead of worrying about everything we can just enjoy being together, which is fantastic. The Harry Potter Tour was amazing – and it’s so nice to see a big attraction cater to disabled children. There was even a disabled changing place with a hoist and shower facilities, which makes all the difference.
“The staff there are very on hand, and all of the attractions there have a short cut to the sensory room if it’s needed. They spotted Elis was overwhelmed and took us straight through. He spent 40 minutes there and came out a different child. That release was fantastic, and it meant we didn’t have to cut the day short and the older children could have the day out they wanted too. It made a world of difference.”
If you have visited a place that goes above and beyond to help disabled children and you would like to share – please let Newlife know at email@example.com