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New book to support disabled visitors at Northern Ireland attractions

By Claire McNeilly

A new guide book has promised to open doors for disabled visitors in Northern Ireland.

Accessible and inclusive attractions throughout the region have been chosen to feature in an inspiring new book to support people with diverse needs in enjoying a day out - whatever their disability.

The revamped edition of The Rough Guide to Accessible Britain, now in its 10th year, has for the first time extended its reviews to include information for visitors with more hidden conditions such as autism and mental illness.

Local attractions featured include the Grand Opera House, Titanic Belfast, Silent Valley Nature Trail, and the Armagh Planetarium.

As well as details of ramps, accessible toilets and parking spaces, visitors can find out well in advance whether a venue offers features such as quiet mornings, picture stories or bespoke queuing arrangements.

Packed with more than 180 comprehensive reviews, the guide is an ideal planning tool for anyone with access needs.

Every venue is thoroughly checked out by Rough Guides' team of reviewers, who either have a disability themselves or visited the venue with a disabled friend or relative.

The new edition places particular focus on accessibility for people with neuro-diverse and mental health conditions.

And it has drawn on advice from specialist organisations such as the National Autistic Society.

Tom Purser, head of campaigns at the National Autistic Society, said: "With over 700,000 autistic people in the UK, it is vital that they are able to enjoy days out, just like anyone else.

"This has been a great opportunity for us to increase awareness of autism in partnership with organisations that are proactively making leisure activities more accessible to autistic people.

"It has been an inspiring collaboration and the National Autistic Society welcomes the open minds and attitudes with which Rough Guides are seeking to enhance the lives of people on the autistic spectrum." The guide has the backing of TV presenter Chris Packham, who said it was "a celebration of some of the best and most inclusive venues in the UK".

He said: "From personal experience, I know that many people face particular barriers to enjoying a day out."

The edition of The Rough Guide to Accessible Britain is now available online at accessibleguide.co.uk.

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