We booked on Friday afternoon for a last minute break to Haven in Wales. Not knowing what was around to do, on Saturday morning we had a look online and decided on Harlech Castle.
As soon as we walked in, the lady on the ticket desk greeted us with a smile. Amongst our tickets I asked for one disabled and one carers ticket. The lady directed the people in the queue behind us to the shop till, telling them they could buy tickets there and then took her time to serve us. She took my money and then explained that there were wristbands to wear. She said that if anyone had a problem wearing theirs they didn’t have to. She put them on us but when she got to my son she asked firstly, did he want to wear it and secondly, would he rather I put it on for him, which he did. She then proceeded to tell us that at the beginning is a film to watch but it has loud noises so we could skip it if we wanted to and take the exit over to the castle. She also told us that the castle toilets have quite loud hand dryers.
I was really impressed that she volunteered this information without me having to ask for it and that she treated my son so well and was so understanding. I didn’t even tell her he was autistic! This is a brilliant example of someone doing it right and making life that little bit easier for autistic guests. Whether it is the attractions policy to train their staff about autism or this lady taking it upon herself to be accommodating, she is a great credit to Harlech Castle!
We headed over the walkway to the impressively whole looking castle, with its flagged turrets. The kids were armed with pencils and activity sheets. They had to look on the map to find where the clues were and then find them to find the letters and work out an answer to the puzzle. If they worked it out then they would win a small prize, although we were pre-warned by the nice lady that the prizes were not amazing.
We enjoyed exploring the castle. We looked in some of the rooms, climbed a very tall tower and explored around the outside. We could have explored the castle walls but it was tipping it down with rain by this time and the rain combined with the risk of being so high up were enough reason for us not to.
There was an event going on, in the center of the castle though, with a bird of prey to meet, sword fighting and art and craft if you wanted to join in.
We managed to find all the clues to work out the answer to the puzzle and the lady at the gift shop gave each child a special flag as a prize.
We spent about an hour looking round Harlech Castle and enjoyed exploring. You can also watch our Youtube video to see more of the castle and our adventure to Wales.
Taking an autistic child to Harlech Castle?
The staff were incredibly understanding and helpful. They gave us useful sensory information.
There is a film which is loud and the hand dryers in the toilets are also loud so I would take ear defenders if you want to visit either of these and loud noises bother you at all.
There is a need to keep your child close to you as the castle is a ruin with some very high up places, including outside the back of the castle downstairs.
The ticket is a wristband. They won’t make your child wear it.
Disabled guests get in free, as does one carer.
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