Sited on the former Snibston Colliery, the Snibston Discovery Museum showcases Leicestershire’s science, technology and design heritage with a vast and diverse collection ranging from medieval mining tools to a prototype jet engine.
Well laid-out displays cover themes such as transport, engineering, mining, toys, light and fashion, and many of the exhibits encourage a hands-on approach. In the ExtraOrdinary Gallery, for example, you can lift a Mini, make fire and discover the effects of black holes. Take a wander through the Fashion Gallery to admire quirky and funky designs by the likes of Alexander McQueen and Zandra Rhodes, before heading outdoors to explore the rest of the site. Here, you can ride around the colliery railway, hauled by an old diesel locomotive, and – best of all – take a tour (45min) of the colliery itself, guided by former miners who describe life on the coalface in compelling detail. Finally, kids won’t want to miss the fantastic adventure playground (be sure to pack dry clothes for the Wild Water section).
Parking is straightforward, with ten disabled spaces close to the museum’s front entrance, which has level access via automatic doors. Inside, the reception desk is low-level and wheelchairs can be borrowed here free of charge. All the exhibition galleries are on the ground floor, and there are three disabled toilets: two in the entrance foyer and one near the locomotives towards the back of the building. Some staff are BSL-trained (and one staff member, John, is a wheelchair user, but he’s not there every day). The train rides are wheelchair accessible, and the colliery tours are largely accessible, though there are some uneven surfaces and certain areas, such as the powder store, are rather narrow. With advance booking, staff are happy to arrange tours of both the colliery and the museum tailored to the needs of disabled visitors. The museum has been awarded a runner-up prize in the Access for All Tourism Award, and its website (see below) has a short film about access, the museum’s access statement and details of the available facilities.
Food & drink: The fully accessible on-site café serves inexpensive snacks, sandwiches (the bacon rolls are good) and home made cakes. There are also picnic benches outside, near the playground.