Manchester Day, the annual celebration of “everything great about the city,” is here and will undoubtedly bring huge (happy!) crowds and loud (lively!) sounds throughout the city centre.
For many families with SEND, such environments can be very challenging – whether it’s the hustle & bustle or the noises potentially causing a meltdown, or the sheer number of people making it more difficult to access disabled toilets. We hope to somehow be able to alleviate some of these concerns through this guide showing where nearby quiet spaces, accessible toilets and changing places are.
The city centre can easily be reached through public transport (recommended by the Manchester Day organisers), whether by bus, the Metrolink or train. If you have never used the Metrolink before, note that all trams have a designated area for wheelchair and mobility scooter users, which you can also use for buggies if it’s not needed by a wheelchair user.
For more information about getting to the Manchester Day celebrations in town, please visit https://manchesterday.co.uk/getting-here/
If you do wish to go there by car, you can find a list of nearby disabled parking on the Manchester City Council website.
Road Closures and Parking Suspensions
It would be worth noting that there will be road closures and parking suspensions as a result of the parade.
There’s more information about these on the Manchester Day website.
Changing Places are disabled toilets with more space and extra features (such as adult-sized changing bench, tracking hoist system or mobile hoist) for people (and their assistants) whose needs cannot be met by standard accessible toilets.
We only know of three Changing Places toilets in Manchester city centre: one in the public toilets outside of the Town Hall Extension, one inside the Central Library, and one in Manchester Arndale near Shopmobility (Update: I initially missed this but thanks to one of our member parents for pointing this one out).
There are plenty of accessible/ disabled toilets, some requiring a radar key and some not.
Arndale Centre : There are two sets of disabled toilets in the mall, one at the ground floor near Next and another on the first floor near Aldi. You will need a radar key to access it or request a toilet attendant to open the door for you. A note for those with children hypersensitive to sound: It can get quite busy here and the hand dryers are almost always running & can easily be heard while you’re waiting for an staff member to open the disabled toilet door.
Manchester Art Gallery : They have accessible toilets each beside the men’s and women’s toilets at the ground floor on either side of the lifts.
Manchester Central Library : There are standard disabled toilets as well as a Changing Places toilet on the lower ground floor of the library.
Marks & Spencer : There are two accessible toilets at the first floor of the store. It is relatively more quiet and less busy than Arndale Centre’s toilets. Please do note that there’s a narrow passageway leading from the main store area to the toilets. You won’t need a radar key to use these toilets.
Museum of Science and Industry : There are disabled toilets on the ground and first floors of the museum (New Warehouse building). You won’t need a radar key to access these toilets.
National Football Museum : There is an accessible toilet on the ground floor of the museum, near the shop and cafe.
Manchester Town Hall Extension Public Toilets : There are standard disabled toilets as well as a Changing Places toilet outside the Town Hall, along Lloyd Street.
People’s History Museum : There are accessible toilets on the ground floor of the museum, one near the reception area and another in the Engine Hall.
Manchester Art Gallery : MAG offers a Quiet Room during their Open Doors sessions. It may be worth asking reception if you can use this space today, if needed.
National Football Museum : The museum offers a Quiet Room during their autism-friendly sessions. It may be worth asking reception if you can use this space today, if needed.