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Wednesday, 3 October 2023

Planning a trip for a child with a disability

Planning a day out for a disabled child isn't always easy, as some venues can lack understanding or proper facilities. Before you leave, you may want to check the following things to make sure the day runs smoothly.

Call ahead

Some venues and attractions are better than others at offering facilities and assistance - so it's probably best to telephone in advance to talk things through that may be helpful for you and your child on the day. This could include booking a table at the café/restaurant, reserving seats at a special event, or booking a guide.

You could also do your research online - most attractions will have their own website.

Proof of identity for free entrance

Many venues offer free entrance for children with special needs and their carers, so don't forget to take your proof of being a carer. This could include your carers allowance or Disability Living Allowance book or letter. To save time when you arrive, it may be worth ringing in advance to book tickets.

Travelling by car

Some venues offer parking for families with special needs. As this can be limited and may need to be booked in advance, try and call beforehand, so that you can be allocated a space.

Alternatively, the Blue Badge Parking Scheme provides a range of parking concessions for people with severe mobility problems who have difficulty using public transport.

Public and community transport

If you don't have a car, special arrangements can be made for disabled or mobility-impaired passengers when travelling by train, coach or bus. There are also discounts available for disabled passengers. Some areas also have community transport services for people who have difficulty using public transport.

Access to toilets

As your child may need access to changing facilities or disabled toilets it's worth checking beforehand that these are easily accessible. Some need a key to get in so it's worth knowing the system. Keys are usually available on request from the venue. For a very small charge you can get your own key from Radar, who promote the National Key Scheme.

If standard accessible toilets are not sufficient for your needs, on the Changing Places website you can input your destination details to find toilets with adult changing facilities. These facilities include enough room for a disabled person and their carer, and a height-adjustable changing bench and hoist.


If you need a lift to get from floor to floor, check that this is easily accessible. Some venues don't have dedicated customer lifts, but might offer the service ones for use, so like toilets it's worth knowing what the facilities are.

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