Here’s a list of 10 relaxed events for autistic children in London, to peruse this October! I’ll be adding to this if anything else pops up, and please let me know if you feel anything’s been missed!
Please note, the italics under the “Info” sections, have been lifted directly from the respective websites.
3 of these are at a super early time of 8am or 8.30am. Families with neurotypical children would struggle to get to these, but if you’ve a neurodiverse child who’s a bad sleeper which is very common, it’s going to be simply unlikely you’d ever make it! Especially if most of these sessions take an hour of travel time to get to! Note to the organisers…
1. The Box Rocket (Sensory Adapted) at Discover Story, Stratford, East London
Date: 29th October 2023,
Suitable for: 0-8 years
Info: At Discover, our events and performances are all ‘relaxed’ so that all families can enjoy them – we don’t expect our young audiences to be completely still or quiet! Our ‘Sensory Adapted’ sessions are modified in various ways, to make them more suitable for certain families with SEN. Some of the differences are:
- We will explicitly indicate that our audience is welcome to move around, make noise and leave or re-enter the session throughout.
- We’ve kept capacity lower, and are holding these sessions at times when Discover is generally quieter throughout the building.
- Lights and sound levels will be adapted to make these sessions less overwhelming – we’ll also have a specific chillout area outside for those who need a break.
- Ear defenders will be offered to those who need them (NB these are always available on request at our reception).
Cost: additional £4 for each adult and child, on top of Storyworld ticket price
Additional note: We attended here in August for this event, and loved it! The event was kept to small numbers, the talking at the start was reduced, and the lights were helpfully dimmed. I loved the fact that you didn’t feel the need to explain anything, and LM could do as he pleased. This is a really lovely event, because they’ve really thought about how to adapt it. It was really busy in the Story World and garden before hand, just to say in case your child struggles with nose or crowds, as those bits are not adapted.
2. Relaxed Opening at Tower Bridge, Central London
Date: 21st October 2023
Suitable for: any age
Info: Every third Saturday of the month, between 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM, entry is reserved for their Relaxed Opening visitors. You can explore Tower bridge in a calm and relaxed atmosphere during these hours. Visitors can explore the Towers, Glass Floor, and Engine Rooms and even take part in a trail with their families. During these hours:
- Visitors are limited.
- Loud noises are controlled by turning off hand-dryers and loud soundscapes and videos.
- Staff will be given disability awareness sessions.
- You can use visual story to help you plan your visit.
- Access Toolkits that contain sensory items to help to assist visitors who may be overwhelmed due to the new environment can be used.
Cost: under 5’s are free, 5-15, child is £6.20, adult is £12.30
3. All Aboard Club, various locations including Streatham and Lewisham
Dates: various dates
Suitable for: Most children who attend are between 4-11, but any age is welcome.
Info: All Aboard Club runs sessions for autistic and ADHD children, where they can build their confidence, develop their social skills, and just be themselves.
All our staff have lived experience of autism and ADHD and have professional experience with SEN children. We have designed our child-led play sessions to reduce the children’s sensory and social challenges, and allow them to play together.
Cost: £13.52 per child, adults go free (concessionary rates available).
Additional note: I think the fact that all staff have lived experience of autism or ADHD is fantastic: we have yet to attend as we are in N.E London, and these tend to be West or South East, but I love that aspect, it would definitely make me feel so more relaxed about attending. A great option for relaxed events for autistic children in London. By people who really understand the needs of autistic children.
4. Children’s Garden Quiet sessions, Kew Gardens, West London
Next date: 29th October 2023, 8.30-10am
Suitable for: 2-12 years.
Info: 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. Tickets must be booked in advance.
5. Quiet afternoons for families, Museum of London, East London
Dates: 2, 9, 16 and 30 October at 3pm.
Suitable for: Under 5’s
Info: Quiet afternoons provide an informal atmosphere to explore the museum, sensitive to the needs of children with autistic spectrum conditions. Discover fascinating artefacts and choose to take part in relaxed family activities such as object handling, arts and crafts and sensory spaces. Siblings and children with other types of SEND are very welcome.
6. Early Birds at the Science Museum, South Kensington, SW London
Date: Saturday 28th October, 8-10am
Suitable for: ages 4-15 and their families.
Info: This event is suitable for those who benefit from visiting the museum free from the hustle and bustle of the general public (for example, individuals with autism spectrum conditions or sensory processing differences).
Cost: Free, but booking required.
7. Pericles for Autistic Individuals and their Families, Flute Theatre, Hammersmith, West London
Dates/suitable for: Tuesday 24th October – Friday 27th October 10.30 10 years and under
Monday 23rd October – Friday 27th October 14.00 11 years plus, no max age limit
Info: 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.
Cost: Just £5.00 per family
Additional note: We previously featured Flute Theatre in our July/summer guide to events for autistic children. We were delighted that some of you attended and fedback that you of course LOVED it! We can’t wait to attend this October too, because it sounds just lovely and so inclusive! A perfect example of a super relaxed event for autistic children in London, this October, to look forward to!
8. Relaxed Opening Tours, ZSL, Central London
Date: 25th October 8.30-10am
Suitable for: any age.
Info: Relaxed opening tours allow people with autism and other neurodiversities, to enjoy the Zoo in a calm and safe environment.
Cost: Free with Zoo admission
9. Autism Friendly Family Day, Gunnersbury Park Museum, West London
Date: 23rd October 2023
Suitable for: any age
Info: A relaxed and quieter day at the museum, designed for families and carers with children and young people on the autism spectrum and those with additional sensory needs.
Cost: Free but book in advance.
10. Early Explorer Evening, London Transport Museum, Central London
Date: 28th October 2023
Suitable for: Any age.
Info: Explore the Museum at a quieter time For families with Special Educational Needs (SEN), including Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), we open outside our regular hours on certain special days. Enjoy the Museum at a quieter time, free from the general public, and with many of the gallery sounds turned off.
Cost: Free, but must book.
We love the London Transport Museum! And haven’t tried these sessions yet- but it’s on our list! Perfect addition to our relaxed sessions for autistic children in London list.
In conclusion, there’s a fair few options to choose from this month! Which one of these relaxed events for autistic children in London, this October, do you think you will be attending? We definitely hope to be attending this months unique Flute Theatre Pericles event, because any opportunity to be able to take LM to the theatre, is a good idea!