New research into the most accessible tourist attractions in Northern Ireland has gone underway, taking into account over 60 different popular attractions, and issues of sight, hearing and mobility. Olympic Lifts has now ranked the top 10 in how well they cater for accessibility.

1. Titanic Belfast

Titanic

With accessible bathrooms, blue badge parking, and rent-able wheelchairs, this attraction is exceptionally well-equipped to cater to disabled visitors. Not only that, but those with impaired sight will benefit from the availability of audio and Braille guides, and those with hearing difficulties can make use of the British Sign Language (BSL) visuals and printed guide.

Titanic Belfast has also made attempts to make the experience as autism-friendly as possible, with ‘VIP’ passes and rentable ear-defenders and/or blackout tents.

Accessibility features:

Audio aids
Autism
Braille
BSL visuals
Building accessible
Entirely accessible ie. all floors and sections
Disabled parking
Guide dogs
Mobility aids included e.g. textured floors, railings
Rentals
Sight aids
WC accessible
WC disabled

2. Northern Ireland Assembly Buildings (Stormont)

Stormont

Action on Hearing Loss awarded The Assembly Buildings the ‘Louder than Words’ charter mark, and National Autistic Society awarded them Autism Access Award.

They offer British and Irish signed tour guides, and have a hearing loop system installed in all Committee rooms, function rooms and the Chamber, while portable loops are available at reception.

Accessibility features:

  • Audio aids
  • Autism
  • Braille
  • BSL visuals
  • Building accessible
  • Entirely accessible
  • Disabled parking
  • Guide dogs
  • Sight aids
  • WC accessible
  • WC disabled
  • Disabled parking

3. Ulster Museum

Ulster Museum

The elevator accesses all floors and the walkways are wide and spacious, with slopes alongside staircases, meaning that very little in this museum need be missed.

A sound enhancement system is available at certain locations, and so are described videos and magnifying sheets can be requested as well.

 

Accessibility features:

  • Guide dogs
  • Sight aids
  • Audio aids
  • Rentals
  • Building accessible
  • Entirely accessible
  • WC accessible
  • WC disabled
  • Disabled parking

4. Belfast City Hall

City Hall

Belfast City Hall offers free, daily tours with a specialised guide. For those with mobility issues, a lift is available to transport guests to different floors, and a wheelchair is also available to rent. Braille, large print documents, and a hearing loop are available for those who are hearing impaired, and blind or partially sighted guests can make use of the audio guide.

Accessibility features:

  • Building accessible
  • Entirely accessible
  • WC disabled
  • WC accessible
  • Guide dogs
  • BSL visuals
  • Audio aids
  • Braille
  • Sight aids
  • Rentals
  • Disabled parking

5. Belfast Zoo

Belfast Zoo

The zoo makes special efforts to be as accessible as possible. It offers disabled parking and a different disabled bathrooms across the park, and rentable wheelchairs for those who call ahead. The visitor centre is fitted with an induction loop hearing system, and they even offer a “Quiet Hour” for guests on the autism spectrum to enjoy the park before it officially opens at 10am.

Accessibility features:

  • Building accessible
  • Entirely accessible
  • WC accessible
  • WC disabled
  • Guide dogs
  • Audio aid
  • Autism
  • Rentals
  • Disabled parking

6. Giant’s Causeway

Causeway

While the pathway to the causeway is relatively flat and wheelchair-friendly, the shuttle bus provides a suitable alternative for those with mobility issues. Even if you simply stay in the visitor centre, you can explore the different interpretive exhibits, such as a 3D coastal model, or request a portable induction loop is available or general audio guides for those who are hearing or visually impaired. The majority of the exhibits are tactile, interactive and/or available in Braille.

Accessibility features:

  • Building accessible
  • Braille
  • WC accessible
  • WC disabled
  • Guide dogs
  • Audio aid
  • Visual aid
  • Disabled parking

7. Exploris

Exploris

The building is fully accessible for wheelchair users, with all tanks visible, and even has the option of rentables. There is a hearing loop in the reception area, and suitable disabled parking and bathrooms available, as well as discounts for carers and an assistant dog bathroom in the park.

 

Accessibility features:

  • Building accessible
  • Entirely accessible
  • WC accessible
  • WC disabled
  • Guide dogs
  • Disabled parking
  • Rentals
  • Audio aid

8. W5

W5

The family-focused science centre has 6 themed exhibition areas and over 250 interactive exhibitions, all of which are easily accessible with ramps and elevators. They also provide a hearing loop system at the ticket desk and in the Lecture Theatre, for those hard of hearing.

Accessibility features:

  • Building accessible
  • Entirely accessible
  • WC accessible
  • WC disabled
  • Guide dogs
  • Disabled parking
  • Audio aid
  • One off/extra feature

9. Crumlin Road Gaol

Gaol

While not entirely accessible (there are 2 lower rooms only reachable via narrow steps) most of the building is easy to navigate, with elevators and ramps to make wheelchair access simple. There are even rentable wheelchairs available at reception.

The tour is spoken, and guide dogs are welcome, and so visually impaired visitors should not have many difficulties, but it is a good idea to call ahead to make sure they can fully cater for your needs on the day of your visit.

Accessibility features:

  • Building accessible
  • WC accessible
  • WC disabled
  • Guide dogs
  • Disabled parking
  • Audio aid
  • Rentals

10. HMS Caroline

HMS Caroline

While tide times will dictate how accessible the ship is for wheelchair users and those with mobility issues, there have been real efforts to better the accessibility of the ship with a newly installed lift and the introduction of a Virtual Access suite. It also has audio guides available in six different languages.

Accessibility features:

  • Building accessible
  • WC accessible
  • WC disabled
  • Guide dogs
  • Disabled parking
  • Audio aid
  • Visual aid
  • One off/extra feature