KidRated.com is listed by the kidSAFE Seal Program.
RATE
When the Kids are happy, Everyones happy!
SIGN UP to the KIDRATED NEWSLETTER

Plan Your Visitmore itineraries

Special Needs

sonny and elvi

 

KidRated believes ALL kids are entitled to have great days out, so we’ve made a list of attractions and experiences (mainly in London, but also beyond) that cater really well for kids with special needs.

 

Clicking on the pictures will take you to the invidual pages where you can read more about each attraction or event.

 

This list is a work in progress so please tell us if you have great places and experiences to suggest – write in the comment box below, send an email, tweet, or just heckle us in the street, and we’ll add it!

 

 

Cutty Sark   icon-eye-slash  icon-wheelchair  icon-truck

London Cutty Sark KidRated reviews by kids family offers

Cutty Sark, an official K-Rated attraction © National Maritime Museum

Ahoy there! The Cutty Sark tea clipper/ museum in Greenwich is great fun for kids.

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Braille and tactile models

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Free parking for blue badge carriers

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Carers go free – concession price for disabled visitors

 

 icon-thumbs-down Parts of the ship are hard to access by wheelchair, but there are virtual tours of those areas

 

 icon-thumbs-down Can only accommodate 3 wheelchair users at a time

 

Sea Life London Aquarium icon-wheelchair

Shark Week at Sea Life London Aquarium, an official K-Rated attraction KidRated reviews

Shark Weeks at Sea Life London Aquarium, an official K-Rated attraction © Sea Life London

The Sea Life London Aquarium is a great place to explore some exotic sea life. 

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Fully accessible for wheelchair users

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Wheelchairs can be borrowed but there’s a £200 deposit

 

 icon-thumbs-down Can get crowded at peak times

 

 

RAF Museum    icon-wheelchair

London Royal Air Force Museum KidRated reviews by kids family offersThe wonderful RAF Museum in Colindale is a fun way to discover more about the Royal Air Force.

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Wheelchair access, and wide aisles for easy movement

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Free autism friendly trail

 

 icon-truck Plenty of parking – fees apply 

 

 

London Transport Museum  icon-eye-slash  icon-wheelchair  icon-volume-up 

London Transport Museum KidRated reviews family offersThe London Transport Museum  is  a great place to learn about the history of London Transport.

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Wheelchair access, lifts to all floors, plus ramps in some areas

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Audio-visual exhibits are subtitled, or fitted with induction loops

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Guide dogs are welcome and water bowls available on request

 

  Described tours are available for blind and partially sighted visitors – booking is essential

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Carers go free

 

 icon-thumbs-down Located in the cobbled (wheelchair unfriendly) Covent Garden piazza

 

London Eye icon-eye-slash  icon-wheelchair  icon-volume-up 

 

London Eye KidRated reviews by kids and family offers

© EDF Energy London Eye – an official K-Rated attraction

The London Eye provides the best views of London.

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Carers go free

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up London Eye and the London Eye River Cruise are fully accessible with wheelchair access and disabled toilets

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Assistance and wheelchairs are available

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Guide dogs welcome

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up The staff are very helpful to disabled visitors, including those with autism

 

 icon-thumbs-down Only 2 wheelchairs are allowed per capsule and a maximum of 8 in total at any one time. It’s a good idea to book your wheelchair space in advance

 

Tower of London icon-eye-slash  icon-wheelchair  icon-volume-up 

 

Oscar gives the Tower of London a K-Rating of 10/10

Oscars gives the Tower of London a K-Rating of 10

The Tower of London is where all Henry VIII’s wives were executed. It also holds the Crown Jewels. 

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Disabled visitors get a concessionary rate and carers go free

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up There are toilets with easy ramped access and wheelchairs available to hire free of charge

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Guides available for blind, partially sighted and autistic people and induction loops are provided for those who are deaf

 

 icon-thumbs-down Access is limited

 

Discover Children’s Story Centre icon-eye-slash  icon-wheelchair  icon-volume-up 

 


Discover story children's centreDiscover Children’s Story Centre, London’s only children’s museum is a great place for families to enjoy playing, learning and making up stories together.

 

icon-thumbs-o-up Guide dogs are welcome

 

 Wheelchair accessible with step free access to all entrances and lifts

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Induction loops are available for those with hearing impairments

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Play equipment and events at Discover are multi-sensory

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up All story telling sessions are led by skilled Story Builders who are trained to support children with SEN, EAL and disabilities

 

 icon-truck Parking spaces for blue badge holders in surrounding streets

 

 

Monkey Bizness  icon-eye-slash  icon-wheelchair  icon-volume-up 

 

Monkey BiznessMonkey Bizness is a children’s soft play centre for 0-12 year olds in Gosport, Hampshire.

 

icon-thumbs-o-up Makaton friendly centre

 

 Staff trained in basic Autism awareness

 

icon-thumbs-o-up Wheelchair accessible

 

icon-thumbs-o-up Guide dogs welcome

 

icon-thumbs-o-up Sensory play areas and equipment

 

 

 

Tate Britain icon-eye-slash  icon-wheelchair  icon-volume-up 

 

Tate Britain London Gallery KidRated Review

6 year old Francis gave the Tate Britain a K-Rating of 8!

The Tate Britain is one of London’s most famous art galleries.

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Concessionary admission and carers go free for special exhibitions

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Guide dogs are welcome

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Large print gallery plans with braille text available from the Information desks

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Touch tours are available but advanced booking is required

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Hearing loops are available

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up There are a range of free talks and workshops for those who have learning disabilities

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up There are wheelchairs available at the gallery

 

 icon-truck Limited parking spaces for blue badge holders on Atterbury Street and Millbank. Also parking spaces on site but must be booked in advance

 

The Fashion and Textiles Museum icon-eye-slash  icon-wheelchair 

 


Fashion and Textiles MuseumThe Fashion and Textiles Museum puts on a range of fun and stylish exhibitions that change every few months.

 

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Large print booklets available

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up The museum is split level with a lift

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Carers go free

 

 icon-truck One disabled parking space but with a blue badge you can park on a single yellow line

 

The Geffrye Museum icon-eye-slash  icon-wheelchair  icon-volume-up 

 

Geffrye Museum ShoreditchThe Geffrye Museum is a great place to bring the kids. It shows the history of how home furnishings have changed in England over four centuries.

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Hoxton Station has step-free access

 

  Wheelchairs are available to borrow and there’s lift access to the art rooms

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Guide dogs are welcome

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Induction loops available

 

 Free highlights tour of the period rooms specifically for blind and partially sighted visitors

 

 icon-truck Limited number of disabled parking bays in front of the museum

 

Roundhouse icon-eye-slash  icon-wheelchair  icon-volume-up 

 

RoudhouseThe Roundhouse is a renowned arts venue that sets out, above all, to reach out to young people by hosting a range of fantastic workshops, courses and other projects.

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Accessible toilets, dedicated wheelchair spaces and balcony handrails that have been lowered to offer a better view

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Infrared-assisted hearing system in both theatre spaces and an induction loop

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Braille/tactile signs

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Assistance dogs are welcome and captions and audio-described events often take place

 

 icon-truck There are seven blue badge spaces (book in advance)

 

 V&A Museum of Childhood icon-eye-slash  icon-wheelchair  icon-volume-up 

 

Museum of Childhood V&A London KidRated Kids family

© Museum of Childhood, an official K-Rated attraction

There is so much to see at this museum and all for free. The museum is packed with childhood-related objects and artefacts from the 1600s onwards, interactive exhibits and family events.

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Wheelchair access 

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Wheelchairs available

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Talks and arts activities can be adapted, with warning, to suit a range of needs

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Touch tours 

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Induction loop 

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Assistance dogs welcome

 

 icon-truck Pre-bookable parking spaces available for blue badge holders

 

The Science Museum icon-eye-slash  icon-wheelchair  icon-volume-up 

 

Science Museum London KidRated reviews by kids family offersThe Science Museum is a vibrant, energetic place where children can discover so much more about science in a fun and interactive way.

 

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Lifts, ramps and accessible toilets

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Induction loops available

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Wheelchairs available to borrow

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Braille information books

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Cinema has four wheelchair spaces and an infrared system – headsets available on request

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Special days where families with ASC children can enjoy the museum free from the hustle and bustle of the public. These are free events for children under 14. Booking is necessary

 

 icon-truck Six blue badge parking bays on a first-come first-served basis

 

 

Houses of Parliament  icon-eye-slash  icon-wheelchair  icon-volume-up

 

Commons Chamber - Courtesy of Houses of Parliament'Houses of Parliament is where all the country’s important decisions are discussed and a great way to learn about what goes on in Parliament.

 

icon-thumbs-o-up Audio tour commentary specifically for 7 to 12 year olds in the style of a ‘live’ news broadcast with time travelling reporters

 

icon-thumbs-o-up Screen-based version of the adult audio tour available in British Sign Language

 

icon-thumbs-o-up Tactile tours for blind and partially sighted visitors offered on request

 

icon-thumbs-o-up Accessible for wheelchair users, lifts in some areas

 

icon-thumbs-o-up Carers go free on all tours

 

icon-thumbs-o-up Most children go free on audio tours

 

icon-thumbs-o-up Visitor Assistants on hand throughout the tour route to answer questions

 

icon-thumbs-o-up Detailed 15 minute access videos so adults can plan their visit

 

icon-thumbs-down No parking available

 

Westminster Abbey icon-eye-slash  icon-wheelchair  icon-volume-up 

 

Westminster Abbey London KidRated reviews family days out

photo credit: Dean and Chapter of Westminster

Westminster Abbey is one of London’s top attractions. The abbey has been the venue for all coronations since William the Conqueror.

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Portable audio guides available in a range of languages

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Transcripts available for deaf visitors

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Touch tours can be arranged 

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Disabled visitors and carers go free

 

 icon-thumbs-down No parking spaces available 

 

ZSL London Zoo icon-wheelchair 

 

London Zoo ZSL KidRated Reviews News Families Kids Animal Stock Take Whipsnade Sumatran Tiger Endangered Species London Zoo is an exciting and informative day out that all the family will enjoy.The Zoo is located within Regent’s Park and there are plenty other attractions to see. 

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Wheelchair accessible

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Disabled toilets and wheelchairs are available but deposit is required

 

 icon-thumbs-down Guide dogs are not permitted

 

 icon-truck There are six disabled parking bays near the Zoo entrance

 

The Natural History Museum icon-eye-slash  icon-wheelchair  icon-volume-up

 

Sophie the Stegosaurus at the Natural History MuseumThe Natural History Museum is one of London’s most popular destinations. They are host to a vast collection of fossils, animals, dinosaurs and much, much more.

 

  Wheelchairs available to hire for free and lifts to most floors

 

 Audio descriptive guides and free, guided audio description tours as well as braille and large-print guides

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Guide dogs are welcome

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Free touchscreen BSL multimedia guide to all the galleries

 

 icon-thumbs-down No step-free access to the Earth Lab

 

 icon-truck Small number of parking spaces on site for blue badge holders – must be booked in advance

 

Princess Diana Memorial Playground

 

Diana Memorial Fountain Hyde ParkThis playground was especially created so that it was accessible for able bodies and less able bodied children. Situated in the north west corner of Kensington Gardens, it was opened in 2000 and has a Peter Pan, you really get the sense that Princess Diana would love to have such a delightful area named in her memory. The pirate ship is not to be missed.

 

Relaxed Performances & Screenings icon-eye-slash  icon-wheelchair  icon-volume-up

 

There are numerous theatres around London that put on ‘relaxed performances‘ for those with learning disabilities, Autism Spectrum Condition,  and sensory and communication disorders. These performances usually tone down the voice and movement and small changes are made to lighting so that everyone feels more comfortable in an unfamiliar environment.

Click here to read Simon London’s (KidRated co-founder) experience of attending a relaxed performance of War Horse with his goddaughter Elvi.

 

elvi & sam & simon

 

 

Matilda the Musical  Sunday June 14th, 3pm at the Cambridge Theatre

 

Matilda the Musical London Cambridge Theatre Roald Dahl Tim MinchinThe Royal Shakespeare Company will present their second relaxed performance of Matilda this month, following the success of the first one last summer. This will be the fifth relaxed performance that the RSC has staged, once again working with the National Autistic Society and Mousetrap Theatre Projects. Book your tickets before they sell out! All wheelchair spaces have already been sold. Call 0844 800 1110 for the RSC ticket hotline. Click here for more ticket info. 

 

 

 

 

 


The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time –  Thursday July 2nd, 2pm at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

 

Curious 3The smash hit adaptation of Mark Haddon’s novel has seven Olivier Awards and (5 Tony Awards) is now on a nationwide tour of the UK. The play tells the journey of Christopher, (a 15 year-old “mathematician with some behavioural difficulties”) in solving the mystery of who killed his neighbour’s dog.  Stay has a special Q&A with the cast after the show!

 icon-thumbs-o-up Provides a visual story to help prepare for your visit

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Trained, welcoming staff, relaxed attitude and chill out spaces for use at any time

 

All tickets are £15 and the performance is on Thursday July 2nd, 2pm at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton. 

 


Disney’s The Lion King

 

KidRated New Lion King Autism-Friendly performance

This year’s relaxed performance of the Lion King was held on 30th August and was a great success. Watch Issy’s review here

 


The Lyric, Hammersmith

 

Lyric TheatreThe Lyric, Hammersmith, accommodate disabled people in their newly renovated theatre.  

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Audio described performances with additional commentary during performance

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Touch tours before some performances – limited availability

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Guide dogs are welcome also

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Open Captioned Performances and BSL interpreted performances 

 


Polka Theatre, Wimbledon 

 

The Polka Theatre in Wimbledon are host to many specialist events for disabled people and people with learning difficulties.

 

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Sign language performances for all their main house productions.

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Touch tours of the stage, set and the actors

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Guide dogs are welcome

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up Step-free access and lift

 

 icon-thumbs-o-up For every main house show, Polka Theatre offer one show in the schedule that is a relaxed performance

 

Check the website for more details

 

For the Polka’s current show Gorilla, there is a Signed Performance on 1st August and an Audio Described performance on 8th August.

 


Mousetrap Theatre Projects

Mousetrap Theatre Projects is a theatre education charity. It strive to provide opportunities for young people with special needs and encourage them to engage with theatre. It also provides information about relaxed performances, and performances for those who have visual and hearing impairments.

 

The next Mousetrap Theatre Projects performance will be the Gruffalo at the Lyric Theatre Shaftesbury Avenue on 4th August.

 


Autism Friendly Film Screenings

 

The non-profit organisation Dimensions, teamed up with Odeon in 2011 to organise more accessible ways for people with autism and learning disabilities to go to the cinema. They now boast over 250 cinemas that facilitate these events, for which the lights are dimmed, the volume is turned down, trailers are dispensed with, you can bring your own food and drink, and the audience is allowed to move (but not run) around the cinema. Cineworld, Showcase, Odeon and Vue all host one Autism Friendly Screening each month.

 

Sports

If your kids recently been inspired by the Special Olympics in LA or the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games right here at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and want to get involved in sport then here are some good places to start.

 

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

 

 

Queen Elizabeth Olympic ParkHere is one of the best places in the UK to see a whole variety of Paralympic Sport. Check out the access information here. Also keep a look out for sports activities for kids.

 

 

 

 


Inclusive Cycling at the Herne Hill Velodrome

 

 

Herne Hill Velodrome

Lycra is not required for the Inclusive Cycling sessions

In collaboration with the charity Wheels for Wellbeing, the wonderful Herne Hill Velodrome, the only still in use venue from the 1948 London Olympics, is open to people of all abilities who may not be confident to cycle on the road.

 

Mondays 11:00am -1:30pm

 

Check Wheels for Wellbeing for more venues in London.

 

If you know of any other sports venues with sessions for kids with special needs, let us know!

 

 

Useful Websites icon-eye-slash  icon-wheelchair  icon-volume-up

 

  • The Accessible Guide is a great guide for planning a family day out for  those who have disabilities. With over 100 family-friendly attractions, there’s bound to be something that fits your needs.

 

  • Euan’s Guide features reviews for disabled people about places with disabled access. It includes reviews of attractions, but also places that are visited as part of everyday life, for example train stations, or post offices.

 

  • The National Autistic Society is a great website providing tons of advice, information and support for people with autism and aspergers. They also provide information about autism-friendly events.

 

  • Ambitious about Autism are the national charity for children and young people with autism. They provide services, raise awareness and campaign for change and opportunity. They aim to make the ordinary possible for people with autism. The website also provides a forum where people can share their experiences and offer advice to each other as well as providing details about events.

 

  • The Autism Directory is literally what is says on the tin. It is a directory of support that is out there for families with autism. The directory covers entries from all over the UK and is starting to attract entries from all over the world. They provide information about loads of things, from autism friendly hairdressers, to treatments and therapies available.

 

  • Disabled Go is the leading website for access information and they provide access information for thousands of venues across the UK and the Republic of Ireland. They help to make planning day to day life that much easier.

 

  • Genetic Disorders UK is a registered charity with a vision to improve the lives of individuals and families affected by genetic disorders.

 

If you like this, you may like…

 

Simon and Elvi Special needs page

Toby K-Rates the London Transport Museum Depot

Toby K-Rates the London Transport Museum Depot

 

 

 

 

 

Also check out our Special Needs section which is filled with parent approved places for kids with special needs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 comments on “Special Needs” | Add a comment

  1. Rachel

    Great to see this section on your website some good ideas and advice which I will take on board for my autistic son.

    1. Simon London

      Thanks for those kind words Rachel. Please feel free to upload some K-Ratings with your son or contact us at info@kidrated.co.uk if you’d like to submit a blog with a list of things he loves to do that could inspire other parents.

  2. Claire Bbdiva Butler

    Many of you may of may not know that regardless whether you child has a definitive diagnosis or not theres still lots of help out there to makes days out easier and so more fun.
    My son was only diagnosed aspergers this May. However we known for 4 years he was probably ASD just one thing and another taken four years and a lot of chasing docs and officials to get diagnosed.

    Two years ago my son had a meltdown whilst queueing in Chessington, we lost sight of him for 10 minutes he was 5 i was beside myself. Due to the queue for particular ride being rigid barrier over 4 ft high i couldnt slip over or under and neither could my husband, and was taking forever to explain our way thru, whereas son had slip thru legs.

    So i went to guest services and complained that there was no emergency exit from a very long queue for cases like this, explain sons issues. Staff were sympathetic and asked had i not got letter from doctor/school explain why queues were an issue. I said i was aware of ride access passes but as son not diagnosed didnt realise we were entitled. No , so long as its headed paper from teacher, doctor etc they accept it.

    All visits to theme parks since them have been much more enjoyable.
    Also if your in receipt of DLA / carers i think most let 1 adult in free too.
    This was the case with legoland this year no problems they barely glanced at our documentation. Just make sure you check each parks website as it can vary whats acceptable.

    All merlin parks apparently have a central data base for people who have claimed ride access passes. I was told last year ( where we did 3 theme parks , in 3 days) once you claimed it once , you dont need to show documentation again. Personally i wouldnt risk not taking it and im not sure if you need to show once a year to update systems. But worth noting in case you forget as no harm in asking.

    With ride access passes the nitty gritty in and outs varies from park to park.
    With legoland you get 10 tickets a day and you hand one in every time you queue jump. I think you can always take a few people with you so great for families.

    Chessington was great too, again i think was always least 2 people allowed on but at busy times they will write a time down and you cant ride another ride until then . But thats fine as sometimes takes 20 mins to walk otherside of park etc or use to eat, drink toilet.

    Thorpe park was least user friendly. Had a long queue to get pass as office was doing annual passes as well. Nearly all rides was only allowed 1 extra person so awkward if your on own with 2 young kids. ( suppose have to beg staff to be lenient). Was only the water rides i think that allowed a few riders. But my son loved out door beach there almost as much as duplo valley waterpark in legoland

    Peppa pig /Paultons were great i had documents but they accepted what i said. Had to go to first aid room to fill forms. Was limited i think again to usually 2 extra but to be honest so long as your there for 10 am first hour or so we didnt use passes so we had for later as queues non existent even middle of August

  3. Tracy

    I have two children who get low care dla. The dla letters have my name on them. My question is if myself and my partner of 15 the father of the children went out for the day with the kids would it only be me that gets in free or could we both get in for free. And also for a carer to get in free do you need to get carers allowance. Thank you Tracy.

  4. Matilda

    The Lowry in Manchester (www.thelowry.com) also does relaxed performances of some of their family shows – BUT WE NEED MORE – thank you kidrated for highlighting the issue, there’s not enough information out there for kids with special needs although I’m sure it does exist.

Grown-ups, have your say...

Toby (6) – <strong><span style=Red Level " />
Toby (6) – Red Level 
Mackenzie (15) – <strong><span style=Red Level " />
Mackenzie (15) – Red Level 

All K-Raters get a certificate, and the chance to win great prizes.

KidRated.com is listed by the kidSAFE Seal Program.

KidRated is a safe place for children to express their points of view.
Each child’s review is consented to by his or her parent or guardian.
To protect their anonymity, children give only their first names (no surnames), don’t say where they live, or indicate which school they attend.
All comments, videos & photos are individually checked and moderated for inappropriate or unsafe content, before being published on the site.
KidRated.com is a ratings site, not a kids’ social network.