Days out and activities for SEND children and young people

An image of a family playing in a park. A dad holding his young daughter in the air whilst laying on the ground and an image of a wheelchair in the forefront.

There are many accessible attractions and activities for days out across Kent for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

Before you visit

We recommend you check the accessibility and availability of an event or location in advance so you can be confident it caters for all your needs. Visit the company's website or contact them directly.

  • AccessAble allows you to find accessible restaurants, shops, cinemas, hospitals, hotels, education facilities and more. Download their app to your phone (Apple devices or Google store) or visit their website for more information.
  • Euan's Guide is a review site where disabled people, their family, friends and carers can find and share reviews on the accessibility of venues. Read reviews of attractions in Kent.
  • Wheelmap lets you search for wheelchair accessible parking places.

Don't forget your hidden disabilities sunflower lanyard. It lets people know that you or your child may need additional support, or a little more time.

Max Card

The Max Card is a discount card for families of children with disabilities. It can help you save money on great days out at castles, zoos, bowling alleys and more.

These are available to any family of a disabled child or young person who is in receipt of disability benefit, or who has an EHC plan.

Register for the Max Card.

Activities, days out and support in Kent

Bowling alleys provide a fun, exciting and inclusive experience for all. Families can play, dine and gather together to make memories. Children and young people with SEND often find experiences such as bowling to be overwhelming, your local bowling alley may offer:

  • discounted concession tickets for you and your family
  • wheelchair access
  • quieter hours.

Contact your local bowling alley to find out how they can support you and your family. To find your nearest search "local bowling alley near me" or "find bowling alley near me" on Google, Bing or Safari.

Whilst disabled toilets allow for extra room, Changing Places toilets have additional features to meet the needs of people with a range of disabilities and their carers.

The toilets provide space and the right equipment, including a hoist and height adjustable changing bench.

Find your nearest Changing Places toilet.

RADAR keys

You may need a RADAR key to access certain disabled facilities. These keys are designed to be used in any of the 5,600 wheelchair accessible toilets across the country that are fitted with a RADAR key.

You can buy a key online via the Disability Rights UK website or your local pharmacy.

Find your nearest community public toilet on your borough or district council's website.

A children's centre is a place, where families with young children or prospective parents can go to receive parenting support.

Each centre offers different services, including:

  • childcare
  • early education
  • training or finding a new job
  • antenatal classes
  • baby clinics
  • support with breastfeeding
  • support with parenting and speech and language
  • drop-in sessions for parents and children
  • services for children with special needs and disabilities
  • opportunities for families to get involved with volunteering and designing services

Find out more about our children's centres.

Many cinemas offer accessible friendly showings of films. Support can include:

  • audio description
  • autism friendly screenings
  • subtitles
  • wheelchair access.

Children or young people who have special educational needs and disabilities can apply for a Cinema Exhibitors' Association (CEA) Card. The card allows a family member or a friend to attend the cinema for free with them.

See if you're eligible and how to apply for a CEA card.

Visit your local cinema:

Growing up with a brother or a sister with special educational needs or disabilities doesn't mean that life needs to change. Siblings can have many things in common, such as how they behave, communicate, favourite days out and playing activities. There are so many positives!

Charities can provide family days out, events, activity groups plus family advice:

Learn more about sibling support.

Kent has many beautiful historical attractions, offering educational, fun, and family friendly days out.

There's plenty of options in Kent, whether your child or young person is interested in one of our famous:

  • castles
  • grand houses and gardens
  • railways.

Many historical attractions provide accessible friendly support, including:

  • accessible toilets
  • audio tours
  • disabled parking
  • mobility transport
  • wheelchair access.

We recommend you check the accessibility and availability in advance so you can be confident it caters for all your needs.

You can either visit the company's website or contact them directly.

To make sure your child or young person keeps active and healthy, there are many opportunities for them to get involved in sporting activities.

Gyms and leisure centres may have times during the week restricted to those with additional needs. We recommend that you contact your local gym or leisure centre to find out what they offer and when.

To find leisure centres and sport groups you can:

Or why not visit:

You may also be able to get financial support for sports and exercise through national and local charities. Find your nearest discounted sporting activities and events.

In Kent there are a number of voluntary organisations, support groups and advice charities active that can help you, often for free.

To find local groups you can:

Local charities also provide some great activities. To find out more visit:

A museum is a great day out to explore your town's history and to learn about where we come from.

Museums are adapting their buildings and exhibitions to support SEND children and young people. This can include:

  • access ramps
  • audio descriptions
  • relaxed visits
  • resource backpacks
  • tactile maps
  • visual stories.

Visit your nearest museum:

Our libraries have a range of resources available to make our services accessible for everyone. This includes; induction loops, large printed books, accessibility software on our computers, easy access books and e-books.

Your child can develop their interpersonal skills through:

If you or your child has a disability, you also qualify for our exempt card.

Parks and playgrounds are a place designed to provide an outdoor play environment. Find your nearest by visiting your local borough or district council's website:

Country Parks

Did you know that a number of our country parks are SEND friendly?

We want everyone to enjoy the beautiful sights of our country parks and their surrounding countryside. We've adapted some of our cafés, car parks and will soon be adapting our playgrounds to meet the needs for all.

Find your nearest country park.

Reconnect is a community based programme designed to get your child and young person thriving.

Clubs, businesses and organisations have come together to create fabulous opportunities for children and young people. Together they can:

  • have fun
  • catch up on missed learning
  • engage in sports and activities
  • take part in trips and experiences
  • receive mental health support
  • regain their confidence
  • gain access to career development opportunities.

There are lots of activities and events for you and your family. Check out our what's on events listing to see what Reconnect activities are happening near you.

Find your nearest Reconnect activity.

Soft play centres are often located indoors and allow children to play in a specially designed area with soft surfaces and equipment. There's plenty to keep the kids busy including soft play and arts and crafts.

The following are based across Kent, however you can also find your nearest by searching "local soft play near me" on Google, Bing or Safari:

Short breaks

Short breaks are activities for disabled children and young people (0 to 18) to take part in. They can range from an activity taking a couple of hours, or weekend club, to an overnight stay for those with more additional needs.

Depending on your child or young person's needs they are split into three categories:

  • universal
  • targeted
  • specialist.

Find out more about short breaks.

Shared Lives

Shared Lives support young adults aged over the age of 16.

Young adults can choose a placement of their choice, which is somewhere safe and supportive for them to stay in the home of a chosen host. Their host could be a single person, a couple or a whole family. They are able to be a part of a family, bring their own things and be supported in their hobbies, interests and activities.

Find out more about Shared Lives.

Many supermarkets offer a dedicated quiet hour for shoppers who are disabled or have disabled children.

Your local supermarket may:

  • dim the lights
  • turn off the music
  • avoid making tannoy announcements
  • turn off or lower the sounds at the checkouts at these times.
  • provide priority queuing
  • allow assistant dogs to join.

Contact your local supermarket to find out their quiet hours.

Don't forget to  take with you, your hidden disabilities sunflower lanyard. It lets people in public know that you or your child may need additional support, or a little more time.

Many theatres are putting on special accessible performances for children and young people who have SEND. They could provide:

  • a hearing support system
  • BSL performances
  • audio description
  • relaxed and off-peak quieter performances.

The following theatres are based across Kent, however you can also find your nearest by searching "local theatre near me" on Google, Bing or Safari:

If you cannot visit your local theatre, Head2Head Sensory Theatre provide online performances of theatre productions. Visit their website to find out more about their performances.

Theatre classes for children and young people with SEND

If your child or teenager is interested in theatre, they may want to join a local theatre group:

You can also find other clubs on our community directory.

A theme park or an amusement park is a place made up of rides, such as roller coasters and water rides.

They usually contain a selection of different types of rides, along with shops, restaurants and other entertainment outlets.  They're great fun days out for all of the family or to hang with friends.

The following theme parks and amusement parks are based across Kent, however you can also find theme parks outside of Kent by searching on Google, Bing or Safari:

A youth hub provides that safe space for young people. Whether they're looking for support, advice or just wanting to have a laugh and take part in activities there's something for everyone! We have dedicated SEND Youth Workers to support young people, where they can talk to them in a trusted environment.

Young people can take part in activities, including:

  • art
  • music
  • singing
  • Duke of Edinburgh
  • pool
  • table tennis
  • football
  • day trips.

Whatever your needs they are here to help. If the person best suited to help isn't available, we can make an appointment for them to meet in the future.

To find your local youth group you can:

Local charities also provide some great activities and too, to find out more visiting:

In Kent there are a variety of zoos and wildlife parks that are accessible for your child or young person. Most can provide support through:

  • wheelchair friendly routes
  • installed ramps
  • quieter hours
  • larger printed signs
  • disabled friendly play parks.

We do suggest that you visit their websites to find out how they can make your visit even better:

Visit our getting around independently page to view websites who have rated and reviewed accessible days out across Kent and beyond.