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Thursday 21 July 2022

Autism-friendly attractions to visit in summer 2022

The summer holidays are a great time to go out exploring and visit new attractions, and we know how important it is to visit somewhere that caters to everyone’s needs.  

With support from the Ambitious Youth Network, we have put together a list of autism-friendly attractions to enjoy over the coming months. From museums to theatre productions, there’s something for everyone.

 

Tower Bridge 

Tower Bridge is a famous, imposing bridge connecting Southwark with Tower Hamlets. The iconic tourist attraction hosts a multitude of events around the year in which you can explore inside the bridge and learn all about how it was made and the inner workings.  

This summer they will host a range of relaxed openings in which sounds will be turned off and disability advisors will be on hand to answer any questions. 

 

The Postal Museum 

Ambitious about Autism has worked with the Postal Museum to bring a calming yet educational experience to young autistic people when they visit, called Relaxed Events. 

 

Museum of London 

Learn all about the history of London and what makes the city tick in the Museum of London. From exploring a Saxon home to walking through a Victorian shopping street, the museum has plenty of things to do for families and also offers activity sheets and word games for children to get involved. 

For autistic visitors, the museum offers child-size ear defenders and its Morning Explorer events are specifically designed for families with autistic children. Sensory maps are also available.  

 

Natural History Museum 

If you or your young person are interested in all things prehistoric then the National History Museum’s Dawnasaurs may be right up your alley. It is a free event for children aged five to 15 with neurodiverse conditions, their siblings and families. 

The event allows families to explore the museum at a quieter time supported by experts who understand autism. You must book a free ticket in advance to attend. 

 

Rochester, Kent 

Rochester is known for the historical home of Charles Dickens the writer. The high street and surrounding buildings are kept within the period and the local museum of children’s toys and past Mayor history is enjoyable. Rochester also is very pleased to offer a beautiful cathedral and they have been known to host exhibitions.  

The high street has various eating establishments and ice cream parlours. Alongside the cathedral there is a castle in small grounds. The castle is not complete, but you can see a marvellous view from the top.  

Rochester is set alongside the river Medway and is near to Chatham Docks and the museum of boats, ships and ropery. There are plenty of open spaces for a picnic or a rest with views of the river or sit behind the private school, Kings.  

Near here is the house that was used to base Charles Dickens’ book, Great Expectations, and the newly finished gardens.  

 

Tyland Barn, Blue Bell Hill, Kent 

A small but enjoyable half a day visit to Kent Wildlife Trust. Many afternoons and holidays pond dipping, chasing dragonflies and trying to spot the lizards that live in the rocks.  

Tyland Barn guides you through the chalk hills and beaches around this area and the plants and animals that you may find there. Inside, there is a wide range of activities for young hands to try, including a live beehive.  

The knowledge from the staff is amazing and informative and the little shop gives you a good cup of refreshments and children’s pocket money items.  

 

Legoland 

Legoland Windsor is a good place for autistic people because they have a ride access pass which means you spend the queue time walking around instead of in the crowded and noisy queue.  

If the autistic person is being accompanied by a family member or PA/carer they will not have to pay for their ticket. There is a sensory room in Hart Lake City. It is an ideal place for autistic Lego fans! 

 

Royal Engineers, Chatham, Kent 

The Royal Engineers Museum covers all past wars and shows a range of uniforms, objects, medals, vehicles and stories from men, women, and animals. The exhibitions of different wars are informative and well designed. It offers basic information for little ones or greater details for adults.  

The museum archives history and is used for research. The staff are very friendly and can give you as much information as you require.  

The layout of the museum is bright and airy, and the displays are not crowded and are easy to read. Visitors can have the feel of being in trenches and bunkers at this museum, but you can skip these parts if it is not for you.  

 

Flute Theatre  

Flute Theatre offers performances of Shakespeare to autistic participants to join the actors so that they can improve their facial expressions, eye contact, spatial awareness and social communication as well as learn about the play.  

Participation is not compulsory, and the company offer a safe space. This means that everyone treats you in a non-judgmental way and allows you to be who you want to be in that moment. Anyone can join and are not obliged to play if they don’t want to and can drop out of the activities at any time. 

 

Other suggestions from the Ambitious Youth Network: 

The National Trust for being open and laid back.” 

The Hartlands in Shanklin on the Isle of Wight is a great place for anyone with an autistic family member.” 

Polka Theatre, Wimbledon, offer relaxed performances and put autistic people’s best interests at heart.” 

“I love garden centres during weekdays. All the green plants and the fountains are really soothing.” 

 

About the author

Megan loves writing and her interests are Makaton, blogging on her Facebook page, music, Harry Potter and Disney.     

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