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Information for Days Out

Ideas for family days out

Being able to go out and about and enjoy the activities that all families enjoy is important for children with autism, ADHD etc. It is also important for their siblings. The following are some ideas about how to plan for activities and also gives details of some of the concessions that are available.

Evidence of your child's disability

Many tourist attractions will need evidence of a child's disability and their care needs before they will offer concessions. This is particularly true for children with autism who may have near invisible needs. The best person to ask to provide this evidence is probably your GP, failing that a letter from a social worker or evidence that you receive Disability Living Allowance may be enough.

Planning ahead

It is always worth planning a bit ahead and phoning the place you want to visit to find out what is on offer beside concessions. Some attractions publish special guides for visitors with special needs which they will normally be happy to send you. Most places are very happy to accommodate special needs and many even go out of their way to offer help and support.

Eating out

If eating out is a problem bear in mind that many big chains of restaurants have policies on providing for people with special diets. You can generally get details of these policies by phoning your local branch. For example, most branches of MacDonalds will serve an extra burger as a substitute for a bun. Most chains should be able to provide you with details of the ingredients of their products so you can check they are safe.

National Key Scheme

If you are planning a day out with a child with an autistic spectrum disorder, accessible toilets may be an issue, especially if your child is likely to need assistance from a member of the opposite sex. Disabled toilets are one solution but many of these are part of something called the National Key Scheme and can only be used by people with a Radar key. Although this scheme can be frustrating if you don't have a key it does ensure that disabled facilities are maintained to high standard and can't be abused by non-disabled members of the public.

For more information and how to obtain a Key Click Here

Hillcrescent Farm, Water Orton, Warwickshire

Katie Aldham wrote to ... "We have recently opened a Care Farm in Water Orton. We are writing to offer the people that you may work with the opportunity to utilise our rural training centre. We offer many different activities including agriculture, animal care, horticulture and conservation. These can lead to in-house or formal qualifications from City & Guilds.

Care farming provides health, social and an educational service for a range of vulnerable groups of people. This includes people with mental health problems, people suffering from mild to moderate depression, adults and children with learning disabilities, people with autism and disaffected young people that do not necessarily engage with formal lessons in school. Growing research also suggests that people suffering with dementia also benefit from physical activities, such as care farming.

Here at Hillcrescent Farm we provide a supervised, structured programme of farming-related activities which includes animal husbandry (livestock, small animals, poultry), crop and vegetable production and estate skills. We provide a service on a regular basis for participants to attend the farm as part of a structured care, rehabilitation, therapeutic or educational programme.

Stuart and I are both qualified teachers and have worked within Further education colleges for several years. We have worked with a variety of learners and have seen how the concept of care farming can be beneficial to all learners including those who have learning difficulties and those who are disengaged with formal education.

Clients (known as Day farmers to us!) can come to the farm on a weekly basis and help to look after the animals and take part in all activities on the farm. Some Day Farmers use the farm as a day service, some for trips out and others to gain a qualification.

You may like to have a look at our website You can also find us on Facebook!

Many thanks,

Katie and Stuart

Disneyland Paris

and the other Disney themeparks are normally happy to allow guests with special needs to use special entrances to the rides which often means they do not have to queue.

For more information Click Here

Alton Towers

offers special discount rates for people with disabilities and up to two helpers. If you book your tickets in advance they allow for priority access to the park, which means you can queue jump on arrival but can't queue jump for individual rides.

For more information Click Here

Legoland Windsor

admits one carer without charge when accompaning a disabled child:
You can either ask for your carers pass at the customer service window to the right of the ticket office or better yet call ahead and it will be waiting for you! Also ask for their leaflet Special needs facilities at Legoland. The handicapped parking is also very close to the entrance. If you can get there by 9.30am to be ready when the doors open at 10am you can also have about an hour before the crowds arrive. When it does get crowded go to the miniature village for an hour. The kids love it. The park is very brightly coloured and very visual.

For more information Click Here

Thorpe Park

has a special guide for visitors with disabilities. Their updated (as at July 2010) Ride Access is as follows:

Guests with disabilities who are unable to use the normal queue lines, may visit our Guest Services Office where they may be able to receive preferential ride access wristbands (documentary proof of disability will be required). These wristbands allow preferential access to most of the rides via entry points designed for ease of access.

Please note that Helpers/companions will not be allowed preferential access unless they are accompanying a guest with a disability onto the ride. Please make yourself known to a Ride Host on arrival at the access points, or use the yellow courtesy phones where provided.

For safety reasons, the number of guests with disabilities permitted on certain rides at any one time may be limited. Therefore you may be asked to divide your party into smaller groups, and possibly experience a wait before you board.

In certain situations (such as extreme weather conditions, mechanical problems or power interruptions), it may be necessary for guests to be evacuated from the rides, possibly from the highest point. The icons C and X are used in the table overleaf to indicate what is involved in evacuations and whether particular rides are suitable.

For the full guide for disabled people: click here


has a special guide for visitors with disabilities. Their updated (as at July 2010) Ride Access is as follows:

We reserve a Ride Access Pass for guests who do not understand the concept of queuing, have difficulties with everyday social interaction, have a limited capacity to follow instructions or to understand othersí emotional feelings or expressions, and may become agitated or distressed having to wait for extended periods of time; plus permanently non ambulant guests.

Please note that having a registered disability does not automatically qualify guests to receive a Ride Access Pass.

Qualification includes the requirement of photographic identification on each and every occasion an application for a Ride Access Pass is made at Adventurersí Services.

Other documentation required can include a letter from a consultant or GP detailing the condition that may warrant the provision of a Ride Access Pass, and/or Blue Badge. Please note we no longer accept DWP/DLA letters as acceptable documentation.

For the full guide for disabled people: click here

Drayton Manor Theme Park

People with a disability including an autistic provide proof of disability such as Disability Living Allowance (DLA) forms can get in at a considerable concession along with one carer. Inside the park they are permitted to go to the front of the queue on any ride they want to go on along with three family members. All people with an autistic spectrum disorder and their families are issued with a wristband on entry and have full access to rides without queueing.
Drayton Manor Park, near Tamworth, Staffordshire B78 3TW; tel: 08708 725252; fax: 01827 288916; email:; website:

National Ice Centre

Throughout the calendar year the NIC (National Ice Centre) runs several Sunday lunchtime inclusion sessions (subject to availability). The ice pad is available to as many disabled schools/individual families that are interested. Able-bodied siblings or friends are welcome on the session at the price above. Please note that sessions are to be pre-booked. We have worked in association with many special needs schools. An email database is set up to let families know when the sessions are. Please contact Skate Reception at the NIC for further information. Special 30 minute inclusion sessions on Sundays between 1.15-2.15pm. Skaters can use the Centres hire skates, purpose built sledges or their own wheelchairs. Sessions available for special needs school/groups on Tuesday or Thursdays 11.00-11.30am or Monday and Wednesdays 2.00-2.30pm subject to ice availability. All bookings must be made in advance. Coaching staff assist and encourage individuals. Carer skates for free (1:1).
National Ice Centre, Sports Development, Bolero Square, The Lace Market, Nottingham, NG1 1LA; tel: 0115 853 3036; email:; website:

London for All

details special facilities available at a range of major London attractions.

For similar information about other UK cities contact the town's main Tourist Information Centre.

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