Seven accessible experiences in Aberdeenshire
7 November 2023
#PurpleTuesday exists to recognise how we can improve the customer experience for disabled people and their families. There have been great strides with physical disabilities, and it’s been fantastic to see accessibility extended to recognise hidden disabilities and neurodivergent requirements also.
Within Aberdeen City and Shire, there is a free What’s On Guide that showcases all the accessible events and sessions within the area that visitors are also able to access when coming to visit. This blog works through a week of accessible visits and demonstrates the variety of what’s available, as well as the commitment of many organisations to be as accessible as possible to their visitors within the area.
A fantastic initiative with Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums, they host a more relaxed visit on Mondays. All the staff have been trained by local organisations as well as having sensory break out areas and sensory kit bags that can be borrowed when visiting – great when you leave the ear defenders in the car by accident!
Codona’s Amusement Park hosts relaxed sessions regularly, ensuring families can have the opportunity to enjoy their soft play area, Smuggler's Cove, as well as their bowling facilities and introduction to laser tag sessions. No visit to the area is complete without a visit to the funfair and it’s reassuring to know that there is a good level of training and understanding when you decide to visit.
Fancy trying some ski lessons but didn’t think it was possible? Sport Aberdeen, have you covered with their ASN (additional support needs) ski lessons on a Wednesday evening – get some specialist tuition on the slopes before perhaps considering some winter sports on the Lecht!
Transport Museum Thursday
Grampian Transport Museum is a hidden gem in Alford that has worked alongside a local based parent group ensuring they always keeps accessibility at the forefront of all their visitor experiences, not withstanding that many families enjoy transport as their specialist subject. They even stock a brilliant range of sensory toys in their gift shop area.
Castle Fraser Friday
No visit to the area is complete without visiting a couple of castles. Castle Fraser is a real favourite for families for many reasons. A check on their website can show you their full accessibility guide including a short visual guide too. Many of the National Trust for Scotland sites now have their own individual accessibility guides, making the prep before visiting an absolute breeze by answering lots of questions beforehand!
Catching a Saturday matinee at His Majesty’s Theatre is a lovely way to spend an afternoon and many of the matinee performances are also audio described, captioned and signed. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a visit to the fully accessible Union Terrace Gardens before or after the show for those all-important photos in front of the Aberdeen letters.
Ending the week with some Sunday shopping, perhaps starting the day at Union Square where 11am - 12pm is a quiet hour with dimmed lights and no music. Taking a trip up to the Trinity Centre will also allow you to access a full sensory space should you require a place to rest and decompress between the shops.
This only scratches the surface of what is available within Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire and is just a flavour of the inclusive welcome you are assured of when choosing to put the region on your list of places to visit.