Autism-friendly attractions to visit in summer 2023
The sun is shining, and exams have come to an end. That can only mean one thing – the summer holidays. The summer holidays are a great way to relax and spend time doing things you enjoy.
Eden, a member of the Ambitious Youth Network, has put together a list of autism-friendly attractions to visit this summer. From museums to theatre productions, there’s something for everyone.
Theme parks can be extremely noisy and overwhelming for anyone, but they can be especially hard to navigate if you are autistic. Legoland Windsor is the only theme park in the UK that has a sensory room for autistic visitors created by Total Sensory. Legoland also gives a free ticket to a family member/carer if they are accompanying you. Finally, it also has a ride access pass so you don’t have to wait in a noisy crowded queue and can explore the park more. A definite must-go for any Lego fans!
Camp Mohawk is an activity centre run for autistic children and young people and/or those with disabilities, as well as their families. It has indoor and outdoor facilities including a sensory room, a soft play area, a sensory garden, and an outdoor swimming pool. There are different types of activities run throughout the summer like art and music therapy, and even the opportunity to learn circus skills!
Tower Bridge is a famous, imposing bridge connecting Southwark with Tower Hamlets. The Tower Bridge offers relaxed opening making it more accessible to those who are autistic or neurodiverse, and their families. Families can explore the Towers, Glass Floors and Engine Rooms and take part in a family trail if they wish. They ensure it is as accessible as possible by providing a visual storyboard before visiting and having toolkits around the bridge with sensory items. They limit noise by replacing the hand dryers with paper towels and limit the number of people who visit the bridge.
Want to have the cinema experience in a more relaxed environment? The British Film Institute has introduced relaxed screenings to make the cinema environment more accessible for autistic people and their families. These screenings feature dimmed lights, no trailers, and the ability to move around and make noise if needed. They have a relaxed screening guide so the autistic person can prepare in advance. Odeon is also running relaxed screenings on a Sunday morning once a month, and they have these screenings all over the UK and Ireland.
The British Library hold over 25 million books, making it the largest library in the UK. This summer the library is hosting early bird openings and different workshops, and there is also a sensory room in which you can curl up with a good book while relaxing on a beanbag. The perfect place to go for any book lovers!
Flute Theatre is offering performances of Shakespeare with the opportunity for autistic participants to join the play alongside the actors in a non-judgmental and inclusive environment. This allows participants to improve their facial expressions, eye contact, spatial awareness, and social communication, and learn more about the play. Participation is not compulsory, and you can stop at any time.
The Natural History Museum’s Dawnosaurs event is the perfect opportunity for autistic young people and their families to explore the museum in a relaxed and quiet atmosphere. It is free for children and young people aged 5-15. Places must be booked online in advance. There are also free downloadable activities to complete from home to build excitement and prepare in advance of the visit.
Ambitious about Autism has worked with the Postal Museum to make it as autism friendly as possible. The Postal Museum runs relaxed openings and has a range of videos and online resources to support autistic visitors prepare for their visit.
The Superhero Series, powered by Marvel, is the UK’s only disability sports series. The series is endorsed by our Ambassador Sam Holness, and we are delighted to have a limited number of spaces to offer. There are two events taking place - At Home Superheroes and Superhero Tri.
About the author
Eden is from Northern Ireland. In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering, reading, playing guitar and teaching taekwondo.