This blog offers information of where to find relaxed events for autistic children and their families, across London this summer.
As always, every family needs to use their discretion as to what will suit their child best.
We haven’t attended all of these, so can’t give our individual feedback. Some ideas for you to peruse. Some of the writing is directly from the respective organisations websites- please see the italics.
1. Replay, Southbank Centre
Dates: 8 July- 3rd Sept
Suitable for: 6 months- 11 years.
Sensory Adapted sessions take place weekly on Sunday mornings, and on Thursday mornings after Thursday 27 July.
These have a lower capacity, with a maximum of 30 people in the space. All sessions – not only the Sensory Adapted sessions – feature lighting and sound which has been designed to avoid sudden changes of brightness or loudness, and there are no flashing lights.
Cost: £6.50 per person, child and adult.
2. Dawnosaurs, Natural History Museum
Dates: 2nd Sept, 4th November 2023
Suitable for ages 5-15, siblings welcome
Time slot: 8-10am
Dawnosaurs is a free event for children with neurodiverse conditions (including autism and other sensory processing difficulties).
Cost: free. Must book ticket.
3. Early Bird, Science Museum
Dates: Sat 22nd July
Time slot: 18.30-21.30pm
Early Birds is a sensory friendly event for families with members who need a quieter environment to enjoy the museum.
Cost: Free. Must book ticket.
4. Milk Exhibition, Welcome Museum
Date: Saturday 2nd Sept
Time slot: 6.30-8.30pm
Join us for a calm and friendly Relaxed Opening of our ‘Milk’ exhibition. The gallery will be less busy than usual. It will be quieter and the lighting will be more even.We will also provide sensory equipment, including:
- ear defenders
- tinted glasses
- tinted visors
- weighted lap pads.
You can come to our Chill-Out Room to lie down or relax. There will be low lighting, comfortable seating, cushions and mats throughout the room. Make use of ear defenders, earplugs, board games and materials with different textures.
Cost: Free, must book.
5. Post Early, The Postal Museum
Dates: 24th July and 21st Aug
Time slot: tickets available between 10am and 3pm
Although the event is designed to support autistic and neurodiverse people, including families and adults, it is suitable for anyone who would benefit from visiting the museum when it is less crowded and noisy.
Cost: £3.50 per person (1 carer per person included in the ticket fee).
6. Children Relaxed session, Kew Gardens
Date: 4th August
We are closing the Children’s Garden to the public to allow children with special educational needs and disabilities, like Autism Spectrum Disorder and/or sensory processing needs, and their parents or carers to have a more comfortable visit.During the quiet sessions, we will be permitting fewer people than our usual time slots and ensuring easy access to avoid potentially stressful queues.
Cost: free. Must book.
7. Early Morning Explorer, London Transport Museum
Date: 29th July
Explore our Museum at a quieter time, free from the general public, and with many of the gallery sounds turned off. For families with Special Educational Needs (SEN), including Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Cost: Under 18 go free
8. Relaxed Opening, Tower Bridge
Date: 19th August , and the third Saturdays of every month.
Time: 9:30 – 11:30am
On the third Saturday of every month, we host Relaxed Opening for anyone who would like to explore the Bridge in a calm, tranquil atmosphere, including people with autism and other neurodiverse needs, as well as their siblings, families and carers.Families are able to explore the Towers, Glass Floors and Engine Rooms and also take part in a family trail if they wish.
9. Disability Class, Inflatanation
Date: Call 0161 710 2360– it wasn’t clear to me by looking online, what dates and times are available in their Colindale branch for these 1 hour sessions.
We wanted to offer something different for, not only for those with autism generally but specifically for those with autism to take part in an activity that their whole family can enjoy alongside them. These sessions also provide an opportunity for families to meet other families facing similar paths in a fun and safe environment.
The number of participants is halved. The music is turned down. A parent/carer can enter the arena FREE of charge with every participant. There is complimentary juice and biscuits for all participants following the session
Cost: £5.99 for under 4’s, £10.099 for 4-15 years, 1 x parent/carer goes free.
10. SEN sessions, Jump In trampoline Park
Suitable for 4+
Jump In SEN sessions are perfect for autism groups and for parents looking for activities in a calmer environment.These sessions are capped (less people), no music and reduced lighting to avoid glare.
Cost: SEN Sessions are £10pp and carers are free of charge
11.Pericles for Autistic Individuals, Flute Theatre
Monday 7th August – Friday 11th August. 10.30 10 years and under
Monday 7th August – Friday 7th August. 14.00 11 years plus, no maximum age limit Tickets £5 per family.
Further dates coming in October!!
This sounds just so INCREDIBLE. A beautiful relaxed event for autistic children, personified.
Flute Theatre create ground-breaking productions of Shakespeare for autistic individuals and their families using the Hunter Heartbeat Method created by Artistic Director Kelly Hunter.Up to twelve autistic individuals become the participants for each performance, sitting with seven actors in a circle on our stage. Their families or carers can join us in the circle or sit just behind to watch. The actors invite the participants to experience Shakespeare’s story through highly enjoyable sensory games of fishermen, pirates and storms which everyone plays together. Each performance is adapted to the specific needs of the participants, however, complex they may be.
Show running time: 90 minutesAll participants and their families are welcome to join the cast for 30 minutes, with tea and biscuits after the performance in the foyer.
Cost: £5 per family. To book please CALL 0208 237 1010 (Riverside Studios Box Office). No online bookings.
We hope to be adding more relaxed events for autistic children in London as we see them! Please let us know if you have any to add.
12. Sensory Sailors at the National Maritime Museum
Date/times: one Saturday a month, 11-12.30pm. Next date is 9th September 2023.
Families with children with special educational needs and disabilities (under 13 years) are invited to a monthly session at the National Maritime Museum. Explore the collection, enjoy the opportunity to be creative together as a family, and meet other local families. Sessions are led by a SEND-specialist and will respond to the needs of the families participating. With a flexible approach and a team to support your family, we hope the entire family will enjoy their time at the Museum!