Leisure and Things to do

There are lots of clubs and activities in the local area where children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) can have fun, make friends and build their confidence.

Below you can find out more information about what is available as well as Disability related discounts.

Leisure and Countryside

In Central Bedfordshire, there are lots of leisure facilities, such as:

  • leisure centres
  • libraries
  • theatres
  • countryside parks
  • open spaces
  • an extensive network of public footpaths and bridleways

They all offer a range of regular and seasonal activities and events for different interest groups and abilities.

Several countryside sites provide walks that are likely to be more suitable for people with limited mobility. This includes users of wheelchairs and mobility scooters.
Find more details about sites that are easier to access including

  • maps
  • details of on-site visitor facilities
  • parking
  • paths and gradients

You can also find out access information via the AccessAble website.

Active Lifestyles - GP Referral Scheme

Active lifestyles referrals help people that are currently sedentary or inactive and have a health condition or other health risk factors to become more physically active. GPs and other healthcare professionals can refer individuals who they feel would benefit from being more physically active and help their medical conditions.

Whether you are completely new to sport or physical activity or would like to do a little more each day, our active lifestyles team can help. The scheme offers you motivation, advice and support that may help you to improve your current health and wellbeing.

Find more information on the Active Lifestyles - GP Referral Scheme page.

Disability Related Discounts

Get discounted or free entry to a range of leisure options

Did you know that as a parent or carer of a child with special educational needs or disabilities, you may be able to get discounted or free entry to a range of leisure options?

You may also find that you can skip lengthy queues.  Not all attractions will advertise their discounts, so don't be afraid to ask!  You will need to have with you evidence of disability - a copy of your award letter for Disability Living Allowance for example.

More information about local attractions can be found on the Experience Bedfordshire website.  

The Rough Guide to Accessible Britain is free to download and includes ideas for days out across Britain, with reviews, tips and access information.

Max Card

The Max Card provides free access to attractions for looked after children, children with disability or complex needs, their friends and family. The card is valid for two years and gives free entry for 2 children and 2 adults. Search over 245 venues on Max Card's website. Find out more information and apply for a card via the SNAP Parent Carer Forum.

CEA Card

The CEA Card enables a disabled cinema guest to receive a complimentary ticket for someone to go with them when they visit a participating cinema.  The Card is also one way for cinemas to make sure they look after their disabled guests. If you require an adjustment to visit a cinema because of your disability, cinema staff should make them for you whether you have a CEA Card or not. More information and how to apply can be found on the CEA Card website.

Merlin's Magic Wand

Merlin's Magic Wand offers magical days out at Merlin Entertainments attractions such as Legoland, Sea Life Centres and Madame Tussauds. They welcome applications on behalf of children aged 2 to 18 years with a confirmed serious illness/long term illness, disability or disadvantage.

Accessible Holidays

The following organisations can provide details of holiday accommodation that's suitable for people with disabilities and their carers:

Tourism for All is a national charity that provides information on accessible holiday venues and places in the UK and abroad for disabled people, their carers and family.

Revitalise is a national charity that specialises in short breaks throughout the year for adults and children (aged six and older) with physical disabilities, dementia or sight impairment, and their carers. The charity has holiday centres around the UK, and also offers holidays in Spain and Germany. All Revitalise centres are registered as personal care centres and most are also registered as nursing care centres. However, the charity does not have the resources to provide holidays for people who are bed-dependent, or who have uncontrolled epilepsy, learning difficulties, or mental health problems.

The Disaway Trust is a registered charity that organises group holidays internationally and in the UK for people with physical disabilities aged 16 to 80 years and their carers.

MindforYou offers supported holidays for people living with dementia and their carers.

The Calvert Trust runs outdoor adventure activities in the countryside. These activities help children and adults with disabilities, along with their families and friends, to fulfil their potential. The trust has three purpose-built centres with full-board or self-catering accommodation around the UK, offering a range of sports and recreational activities.

The Holiday Homes Trust provides affordable holidays for families, carers or groups who have a member with a disability, physical, mental, or age-related illness. Their centres are located at popular holiday sites with specially adapted accommodation for all families with a special need, and low-income or single-parent families.

You can get advice and information on charitable grants and other financial help with the cost of a holiday from the national charity Contact a Family. The charity has produced a useful guide called Holidays, play and leisure (PDF, 1.03Mb).

Disabled Holidays is an online directory of organisations and venues, both in the UK and abroad, that cater for children and adults with disabilities.

Accessible Venues

Once you have decided on where you would like to go, you can contact the venue directly to enquire about what facilities they have on offer, such as:

  • disabled parking spaces
  • wheelchair access
  • disabled toilet or accessible changing facilities
  • accessible restaurant facilities

The venue or event you are attending may require you to book in advance or phone ahead to let them know your requirements. Some venues are able to hire out wheelchairs for the day, so it's worth finding out what they offer beforehand.

AccessAble  is a website where you can find detailed access information to thousands of venues across the UK and the Republic of Ireland: shops, pubs, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, railway stations, hotels, universities, hospitals and more.

Some locations may have accessible changing facilities, although these are still quite scarce. Use the Changing Places website to find your nearest changing facility.

You may also want to buy a Radar key, which offers disabled people independent access to locked public toilets around the country.

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