Looking for things to do and/or events this Christmas that are disability and autism friendly and all of the family can enjoy?
We have done some research for Christmas events in the Northeast including County Durham that are inclusive and tailored to autistic peoples’ and people with learning difficulties’ needs.
Now, we will explore what events we recommend for families with neurodivergent individuals.
Brand new to Newcastle city centre this Christmas, is one of the biggest light trails in the Northeast. This Christmas event has everything from dynamic choreography to mesmerizing visual displays which include the laser garden, lantern trees, the electric avenue and the Christmas village.
Of course, the light trail is dotted with plenty of food and drink vendors along the way. The trail is one mile long and would take you approximately an hour to walk around and really take in the festive atmosphere and appreciate all the features.
This event is one of the most autism friendly Christmas events that takes place throughout all of December every night when it’s dark. It is certainly a unique experience and has been tailored to suit all people of all ages including people on the autism spectrum and other neurodivergent groups.
What makes this Christmas event autism friendly?
One thing that makes this Christmas event exceptionally autism friendly is their neurodivergent sessions that run on specific dates and times.
They are running one on Thursday 7th December between 4.15 and 5.15 pm. During this time, the capacity is reduced so it’s less crowded. The audio features are played at a reduced volume to help reduce the chance of sensory overload for autistic and neurodivergent individuals.
People can also buy extra tickets for personal carers of disabled people. This is for people with disabilities who require a special companion to accompany them so they can attend the event. Click here to find out more about this.
As well as being autism friendly, this Christmas event in Newcastle is also very accessible for people of all ages and other physical disabilities which we will now highlight.
This trial is suitable for wheelchairs to access throughout. The paths are all level and flat and reasonably wide. Parts of the trial have matting laid on grassy areas too for easy access as well as ramps going over any steps or other inclined areas. Wheelchairs are also available to rent at the event.
It is also worth mentioning that people are allowed to bring portable camping chairs if they are likely to struggle with walking and require to sit down. There are also park benches along the trial too. This may also be helpful for individuals with autism who require sitting down to stim if they feel overwhelmed.
There is a pay-and-display car park a five-minute walk to the event starting point. There are plenty of other places to park in the area including Leazes Park car park just a 6-minute walk from the event entrance and the car park at St James’ Stadium which is just 2 minutes away.
Disabled-access portable toilet cabins are on the site. People can ask stewards if thy need any assistance.
Food and drink
Throughout the trail, there is plenty of food and drink vendors. There are three kiosks serving mulled wine and hot chocolate to keep you warmed up. Buy some marshmallows to toast over open barbecue fire pits. At the end of the trial, there is a selection of street food traders serving hot-dogs, burgers, wood-fired pizzas, etc. People can also buy small snacks and soft drinks. All vendors only take card payments.
Travelling to the event
The nearest train station is a 15-minute walk to the event. The train can be caught directly to Newcastle from Durham, York or even as far as Edinburgh and/or London. The nearest bus stop is on Richardson Road just a 3-minute walk away. There are plenty of other bus stops around the area, most bus services run from Gateshead, Tyneside, and County Durham.