London Day Trips for Families with Autism

 

London Day Trips for Families with Autism pin

Although London itself is packed with plenty of things to do, sometimes the bustle of the big city is overwhelming, and travelers often find themselves in need of a change of pace. So, without further ado, here are some of our favorite day trips from that particular city.

Stonehenge

Perhaps the best known day trip from London, this ancient stone circle attracts attention from scientists, historians, neo-pagans, and the merely curious. Located just outside the town of Wiltshire, England, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is situated on a twenty thousand acre plot of land that is considered to be the most archaeologically rich area in all of Europe. Admission to the site is currently at £14.90 ($22.98 USD) for adults and £8.70 ($13.42 USD) for children between the ages of five and fifteen.

Complimentary admission may be available during the summer and winter solstice. At such times, guests are also allowed the privilege of walking through the stone circle. Seeing all of Stonehenge usually takes about an hour. However, visiting the site requires careful planning, especially if for those using public transportation as a means of getting there.

London Day Trips for Families with Autism stones

 

 Autism Travel Tips:

  • During the winter, the Stonehenge winds are harsh and may not be suitable for temperature sensitive kids.
  • The toilet is a mile and a half away from the site so kids should use the facilities before visiting.Families can take a shuttle bus from the  English Heritage visitor center to the site.
  • The ground is uneven. Parents should make sure everyone is wearing comfortable, closed toe shoes.
  • It is important to know that visitors are not allowed to vandalize the stones in any way.
    London Day Trips for Families with Autism spa

Bath

This historic spa town has been particularly popular during the Georgian era, and many sights remain from that period. The main attraction here is the Roman Baths, a spot that dates back over two thousand years. Those who want to test the health properties of the water for themselves can even sample it at the Pump Rooms for 50 pence (77 cents). Also, one can sip on luxurious Afternoon Tea at the Pump Room Restaurant.

London Day Trips for Families with Autism clock

 

Travelers that are interested in soak in the waters might want to head across the street to the Thermae Bath Spa. Other attractions found in Bath include the Abbey with its’ gothic architecture, the shop-lined Pulteney Bridge, and the famous Sally Lunn Bakery.

 

The town is easily reached by train from London in about an hour and a half. Travelers should make sure to disembark at the Bath Spa station if they are headed to the town center. Admission to the site is £13.50 ($20.82 USD) for adults, except during the months of August and July when the cost climbs to £14 ($21.59 USD) per visitor.

London Day Trips for Families with Autism water

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Children’s audio guides are available.
  • The bath water is smelly, and the taste is harsh. Some kids with sensitivities might not enjoy it.
  • Wandering kids might not be safe. Parents should supervise their children at all times.London Day Trips for Families with Autism ladies

Warwick

This particular town set on the banks of the River Avon is located about two hours north of London by car. However, trains also stop at locally at Warwick Station. The area is primarily known for its magnificent castle which dates back to the Middle Ages. Younger kids can enjoy the swordsmanship workshops or falconry displays all included in the price. They can also enjoy guided tours geared towards four to eight-year-olds where the kids see a real secret passage.

Another interesting spot in Warwick village is St. Mary’s Church, known for its medieval style architecture. The church was one of the few buildings to have survived the fire of 1694.

London Day Trips for Families with Autism swords

 

Castle admission costs vary seasonally but adult admission is generally around £14.95 ($23.05 USD) and entry for youngster typically runs about £8.45 ($13.03 USD). The building is open from ten am to five pm year round, but stays open an additional hour between the months of April and September.

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Autism Travel Tips:

  • The dungeon experience and tour of the towers are not included in the admission costs.
  • Parents should buy tickets in advance, as the queue to buy tickets can take up to an hour.
  • Those waiting on tickets can enjoy the nearby cafe.
  • The castle has lots of steps and can be exhausting for some kids.
  • Some towers, like the princess tower, are only available for timed shows. Parents should pick up tickets for these shows as soon as they arrive, as they fill up quickly.
  • The castle has a nice playground for kids.
  • The exit is through the gift shop, so there is no way to avoid it.
    London Day Trips for Families with Autism castle

Stratford-upon-Avon

Although the famous English playwright Shakespeare spent most of his life in London, his birthplace has certainly capitalized on their most famous resident. Some the town’s buildings survive from the Tudor period, lending the village a medieval air. Of course, travelers won’t want to miss seeing Shakespeare’s birthplace, the Anne Hathaway home where his wife grew up, and the local church serving as the great man’s burial grounds. The guides liven up the experience by telling compelling stories. Families can enjoy the film which introduces Shakespeare’s plays to those watching. They can then travel a one-way route through all the open rooms of the house, observing the impressive displays.

London Day Trips for Families with Autism bard

 

Other places of interest include the Tudor World museum which offers insights into that particular period and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre where that prestigious acting troop makes their home. Stratford-upon-Avon is a two-hour drive from London, but the town can also be reached using the local train system.

Nearby, families can also experience Mary Arden’s Farm, the farm of Shakespeare’s mother. Volunteers dress up as different farm characters and do chores. Kids will love the falconry show here, and it can be relaxing to walk through the gardens for an hour.
London Day Trips for Families with Autism jester

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Shakespeare fans can enjoy the exhibition in the Visitor Centre for some extra details.
  • This location can get crowded in the summer.
  • We suggest booking online to avoid queues.
  • Parents can get a multi ticket that includes other properties.
  • Travelers have to take the train, bus, or a car to this location.

London Day Trips for Families with Autism view

Oxford

Located approximately 50 miles away from London, this historic college town has been occupied since the Saxon period. It was here that the University of Oxford was founded during the twelfth century. This event began the city’s standing as a premier place for academics, a reputation which has continued to this very day.

However, travelers should note that the various college campuses are spread throughout the city and are open at different times. Christ Church College, in particular, is home to several of the locations seen in the popular Harry Potter films.Christ Church Cathedral offers a family friendly “Head Hunt” trail where travelers can look closely at the details of the church. Exploring guests should seek out the stained glass windows near the St. Frideswade memorial to see the only image of a toilet in stained glass in any UK church.

Other interesting spots in this town include the Bodleian Library, which is among the oldest of its’ kind in Europe, and the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, built during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Also, Charles Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll, actually studied at Oxford, and the real life Alice was the daughter of the college dean. Watchful visitors can see Lewis’s many inspirations for his Alice series in the decor through Oxford.
London Day Trips for Families with Autism dining hall

 

Autism Travel Tips:

  • This location is a working college, so parents should plan when they go. The Great Hall will not be open to nonstudents during regular mealtimes.

 

Story Museum

This museum, based at Rochester house on Pembroke Street in Oxford, promotes the art of storytelling. The museum features several rooms based on different stories by British authors. Kids can enjoy playing in the themed rooms, such as walking through a wardrobe into snowy Narnia or the Bedtime with the oversized bed.Families can attend special events showcasing authors as well as workshops.

London Day Trips for Families with Autism complex

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Flighty kids can run around in the courtyard outside.
  • There is a cafe onsite for families to enjoy.

 

 

Ten Family Activities in London

 When someone asked me the other day which places to visit in London with her kids, it brought back memories of our kids’ first visit.
Here are some of their all-time favorite activities (they’ve been several times since then) that are suitable for most families to try.

The Churchill  War Rooms

Part of the Imperial War Museums, the Churchill War Rooms are an excellent resource to explore and teach your kids not only about a great statesman but Britain’s pivotal role in WWII. Our boys were mesmerized by the battle maps, newspaper clips and the underground BBC makeshift studio displayed.

Speakers’ Corner Hyde Park

A symbol of free speech and real democracy, today’s corner is less about politics and more about off-beat topics and outlandish antics. The Sunday we attended we saw a preacher warning passersby of the second coming, a man on top of a ladder claiming rights for short people and another defending bestiality. Though quite a noisy place, my teen autistic kid felt right at home and was ready to chime on how he would rule the world if we hadn’t proceeded to stop him.

Ten Favorite Family Activities to do in London national gallery

 

 

 Westminster Abbey

Entwined in the lives of monarchs, statesmen, military men; poets, and men of the cloth – the Abbey is a London must-see. Since there are many exciting areas to explore you should map out the places you want to see ahead of time. Our son a pre-teen at the time couldn’t get enough of the story about Queen Elizabeth, I, and how she finally solved her ‘sibling rivalry’  by getting buried over her sister Mary Queen of Scots in the Lady’s Chapel section.

The Tower

The London Tower has, hand down, the most attentive and patient guides we’ve ever met during our world travels. The Beefeater, we had on that snowy day was nothing short of a modern pied piper. He had a group of thirty people (my kids, including) listening to his riveting stories for over two hours while answering my son’s questions. A great tour to take with older children is the nightly key ceremony -just be advised the tickets sell out rather quickly, so you need to book several months in advance.

Ten Favorite Family Activities to do in London beefeater

 Harrod’s

Even though for most tourists, Harrod’s represents the ultimate London shopping experience, my kids fell in love with its food venues. Their two favorite Harrod’s spots are the cheese stalls in the extensive food court as well as the Georgian Room for their High Tea homemade scones, clotted cream, and petal rose jelly.

British Museum

Unlike some of their European counterparts, this museum is a well lit with ample seating spots, which make it a pleasure to walk around. As expected our kids enjoyed checking out the exhibits, especially of ancient Egyptian feline mummies buried alongside their masters and were disappointed when it was time for them to leave -four hours later.

Ten Favorite Family Activities to do in London harrods


Walking Tours

Over the years, we’ve taken many walking tours in multiple cities but none as memorable as the one tracing the killing rampage of Jack the Ripper. If your kids are in the older teen group age and like listening to gory stories, this is the tour for you. After assembling the group by the early evening hours, the guide proceeds to take you to different locations the murders occurred. The combination of walking the dark streets and descriptions of the victims’ injuries make the tour so real; you start looking over your shoulder by the night’s end even though you know these crimes happened over a century ago.

The Changing of the Guard ceremony

There are several places around London that you can witness the changing of the guard depending on what their schedule is that day. However, even if you miss it, you can still take your kids to St James Palace and take that traditional picture with the guard in which he stands with that frozen glossed over look no matter how hard you try to look funny and make him smile.

Ten Favorite Family Activities to do in London buckingham

 

Overall View of the city

We have two favorite places to view the city from, each with its unique features and accompanying atmosphere. The first, clearly not for the faint of hearted lot, involves climbing over 500 stairs  (total of 1,000 up and down) to the top of St Paul’s Cathedral. The reward is a 360-degree spectacular view of the entire city along with well deserved lifelong bragging rights
The London Eye is pricier (even though they do provide a disability discount and fast pass) but more sensory friendly supplying you with priceless views at different levels as the ferrous wheel turns. As expected our kids enjoyed the Eye better as it was less physically challenging and provided them with a more ‘theme park’ adventure feel.

A  West End show

No visit to London is complete without attending a show at the west end. For more affordable tickets try looking online for sales or head-on the Leicester Square the day of the [performance to catch some last minute deep discounted tickets. Over the years, we’ve all ended many shows but none more memorable than the performance of, Billy Elliot, when a cute little mouse decided to steal the spotlight by continuously running between the audience rows looking for remains of intermission sold ice cream cones.

What do you and your family like to do on your London visits-feel free to add to our list?

London’s Marriott Grosvenor Square Hotel

This 237 bedroom establishment is a five-star hotel that is run by the Marriott hotel chain. The refurbished former private mansion is located at Grosvenor Square in the heart of Mayfair, very close to the US embassy.

What makes it family worthy?

 The centrally located and luxurious hotel has wonderful family rooms. These suites can accommodate two adults and two kids (even older teens) comfortably. The main shopping areas in London are only a short walk from the building and the hotel also received a Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence in 2014.

Review of London's Marriott Grosvenor Square Hotel our room

Fellow Travelers

This hotel is a good spot for families and couples, but travelers of all types are well represented.

The upscale establishment is decorated in a sleek modern, minimalist style with mostly neutral colors throughout. Some public areas featured colorful ambient lighting with upholstered velvet and leather furniture.

Our room had a large, well-lit closet that contained plenty of space to hold our belongings. A shelving unit was included inside the closet as well, for even more storage. The room’s mini bar area was furnished with clean glasses, some beverages, a miniature refrigerator, and an in-room safe. There was also a small fold out chair in the suite and a large LCD television to keep travelers entertained while they are in their rooms for the night. Along with the usual amenities, the hotel sent us a number of complimentary gifts due to some minor inconveniences we encountered upon check-in. This was a very nice gesture, which we appreciated.

Our quad room contained one sofa bed, a regular sized bed, and a poster queen-sized bed. On either side of the poster bed were sizeable nightstands and small reading lights over the bed. Our favorite feature in this suite was the special sockets on the poster bed that allowed us to recharge easily our electronics. Another elegant touch was the live plant in the suite that enhanced the elegant ambiance. A work desk with plentiful drawers and a comfortable chair rounded out the room’s furnishings.

The bathroom had spotted tan and gray granite countertops and tan and black patterned tile that gave the whole area an elegant appearance.  The amenity kit that included shampoo, soap, conditioner, and a good number of fat, fluffy towels were waiting for us in the open wooden cabinet that was located right by the sink.

This bathroom also contained a scale so that guests could easily see if they need to pay a visit to the hotel’s gym. Meanwhile, the shower curtain had a swirled black and white pattern that added a bit more pizazz to the overall decor. Our room had a hand held shower device, a feature that makes it easier for handicapped persons or small children to take a bath with ease.

Review of London's Marriott Grosvenor Square Hotel maze restaurant

The hotel

Over seven different languages are spoken by the staff, and the reception desk is open at all hours to better meet the needs of their guests. Complimentary Wi-Fi is likewise available in all public parts of the hotel. In room internet is also offered for a modest fee Free for Marriott Elite members)  so travelers should definitely be aware of that fact.

The small outdoor courtyard is a good spot to hang out when the weather is nice, but this being London travelers should expect rain more often than not.
Indoors, guests might want to pay a visit to the Michelin starred, Maze.The restaurant as it one of the many establishments founded by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay.
The executive level on the bottom floor is a large well-designed room, able to accommodate the different travelers, for breakfast and light lunches and dinners.We found the staff enthusiastic and helpful trying to cater to requests.

Autism travel tips

Make sure to ask for a room that overlooks their interior courtyard because they tend to be quieter.
It is also a good idea to ask for higher floors to avoid the noise that may result from the wedding receptions that often take place here on weekends. Handicapped persons should have no trouble entering and exiting the bath because the tubs have two safety handles. However, those who need a bathmat for more traction should be sure to bring their own as these are not provided by the hotel.
Allergy sufferers will additionally be happy to learn that the entire facility is nonsmoking and pet free.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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