Skip to main content

Things to do

Children and young people with SEN/D (Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities) can take part in mainstream or universal activities where appropriate.  However, depending on the level of support they require they may wish to use a targeted or specialist activity which has been designed specifically for children and young people who have additional needs.

We try to include as much accessibility information for each activity, group or event as possible so that you can make an informed choice.  However you should always contact the provider before you go to make sure they can accommodate your or your child's needs.  You can either "View all services" or use the Category buttons to narrow your search.

Together for Children and Sunderland City Council cannot recommend or endorse any providers or services listed.  Please read our full disclaimer here.

We have provided some information below which you may find useful:

Leisure attractions in the North East Region

Families often tell us that it is difficult to find new, different or interesting places to go with a disabled child, espcially if there is an entry charge.  Often it can be quite expensive for the whole family to visit somewhere and if you then have to leave early, for whatever reason, you certainly won't feel like you have got very good value for money.  

We have pulled together some useful information about free places to visit as well as general guidance about visitor attractions in the region.  If you have any useful suggestions yourself that are not included here, please let us know via email and we will share them. 

Free places to visit:

  • Herrington Country Park, Sunderland
  • Marine Park, South Shields
  • Chester le Street Park
  • Tanfield Railway, Gateshead
  • National Railway Museum Shildon
  • Preston Park Museum & Grounds, Eaglescliffe, Stockton  (an entry charge applies for the Museum) 
  • Stewart Park, Marton, Middlesbrough (includes Captain Cook Birthplace Museum, which there is a entry charge for)
  • Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens
  • Discovery Museum, Newcastle
  • Great North Museum, Newcastle
  • National Glass Centre, Sunderland 
  • North East Aircraft Museum, Sunderland
  • Washington F Pit Museum, Sunderland

Lots of places will admit a carer of a disabled person in free it is always worth asking if this is the case wherever your visit.  The following are places we have contacted which confirmed that they allow a carer in free with a disabled child/person:

  • Beamish Museum
  • Alnwick Garden
  • Washington Wildfowl Park
  • Centre for Life
  • National Trust Venues

Beamish and Alnwick Gardens also operate an offer where once you have paid your entry fee your tickets are then valid for a whole year. 

Support to visit the Cinema

The CEA Card is a national card scheme developed by the Cinema Exhibitors' Association (CEA) for UK cinemas.

The scheme was introduced in 2004 and is one of the ways for participating cinemas to ensure they make reasonable adjustments for disabled guests when they go to the cinema; in particular it ensures a complimentary ticket for someone to go with them.

The CEA Card allows you to obtain ONE free ticket for the person who is accompanying you to enable you to visit the cinema, by providing the assistance you require as a result of your disability, provided you purchase an applicable full price ticket for yourself for the same performance of the same film in the same auditorium. The free ticket is provided on the assumption that the person who accompanies you is able to provide you with appropriate assistance.

For more information visit their website

Max Card - what is it?

The Max Card is a national scheme designed to make days out more financially accessible for families of children with additional needs by offering free or discounted entry to great attractions.

To find out which venues are included in the Max Card scheme, visit the Max Card Website.

If you are a parent/carer of a child with additional needs (0-18) and live in Sunderland you simply need to sign your child up to the Disabled Children's Register.  A card will then be issued for that child.


Back to top