Visiting a local heritage attraction can be an exciting experience for many people. However, for autistic people the idea of going somewhere new can be quite a challenge.

To try and tackle this problem, Heritage Ability has produced an online Visual Guide for Prior Park, a National Trust property in Bath, which could help reduce anxiety for autistic people. The guide can also be beneficial to plan group visits, especially groups that have complex needs.

The online guide provides information on what visitors should expect to see and hear during their visit, and any areas that may be noisy or have flashing lights (which can cause problems for autistic visitors). The guide also includes information on what you can expect to see when visiting Prior Park, including what wildlife they may see on their visit, where the toilets can be found, or any quiet areas where visitors can rest.

The Visual Guide was developed in partnership with the Heritage Ability project, which is a three-year project, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to help support over 20 heritage attractions become more accessible across the South West.

Rachel Beaumont, Senior Visitor Experience Officer at Prior Park, stated:

“We are so happy that the new Visual Guide for Prior Park is up on our website. It will help visitors to the garden plan their visit more thoroughly and ensure they avoid any areas that could add anxiety or stress.”

Maryann Soper, Manager of Heritage Ability, said: “This is one of many products we’ve developed to make heritage attractions more accessible for disabled and Deaf people (that use British Sign Language).

“All our products are reviewed by people with lived-experience to ensure the products and tools are actually useful to visitors.

“Information about accessibility at a site is becoming more available online and is always worth researching before your visit. Heritage Ability has already provided ten online Visual Guides across the South West so far.”

To find out which places across the South West will have Visual guides and the other accessible solutions that Heritage Ability are introducing to these places, visit http://www.countrysidemobility.org/heritage/locations/.

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Heritage Ability is looking for disabled people and Deaf people to get involved with the project. For more information about volunteering opportunities, visit the website or get in touch with the team.

Living Options Devon is a registered charity (number 1102489) working across the South West to ensure that people with disabilities and Deaf people who use British Sign Language (BSL) can live the lives they choose.

To find out more, visit www.livingoptions.org.

Prior Park is cared for by the National Trust. To find out more about what’s on offer at Prior Park, visit the website here.