Marwell Zoo

Marwell Zoo

Best days out for SEN visitors in Hampshire

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Many of Hampshire’s attractions have facilities and events in place to support special educational needs (SEN) visitors.

Whether it is quiet areas or relaxed visits, the following attractions offer great days out in Hampshire where all are welcome:

Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium

One of Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium’s primary aims is to make STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) accessible for all and as such, the centre has many facilities in place to help neurodiverse or SEN visitors. 

Ear defenders are available to borrow from welcome area, Bio:Space, Science Theatre and Science Live and sensory backpacks can be pre-booked ahead of your visit.

The centre has a sensory story which can be accessed ahead of your visit as well.
On site, there’s a Changing Places changing room on the lower floor and all levels of the centre are accessible via lifts. 

A recombobulation room is available for visitors to use who may need a quiet area. 

Marwell Zoo

With plenty of things to see and do, Marwell Zoo makes a great day out for all. 

The zoo team are on hand to help visitors with additional needs from arrivals and throughout your visit. 

If queuing upon arrival is a challenge, please let one of the team know. The Marwell team are also trained in looking out for sunflower lanyards often used by visitors with hidden disabilities. 

There are quiet areas throughout the grounds and the team are often able to temporarily close some spaces for any visitors who are needing time out from stimulation. 

For a quieter experience, it is advisable to journey anti-clockwise around the zoo as most of Marwell’s guests go clockwise.

Finkley Down Farm

This popular farm and adventure park in Andover operates SEND early bird access days on various dates throughout the year. 

Visitors can enjoy access 1 hour before general opening times for a more relaxed experience in the play barn and meeting the animals. Pre-booking to avoid disappointment is highly recommended. 

The Mary Rose Museum

Set in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, the Mary Rose Museum offers a fascinating insight into Henry VIII’s beloved ship.

Once a month, The Mary Rose offers relaxed opening mornings from 10am-12noon. During this time, the lights will be at a higher level and the sound effects are turned down.

Outside of these times, a sensory story can be found and downloaded from the Mary Rose’s website to prepare SEN visitors for their visit. 

Paultons Park and Peppa Pig World

Paultons Park has a detailed accessibility guide available to view on their website. Within this guide is information about carer passes and the queue assist scheme for visitors who may be unable to queue for long periods of time.

Quieter areas of the park include the Japanese Gardens, Jungle Falls and River Walk. 

Wellington Country Park

Sitting on the Hampshire/Berkshire border, this popular country park offers a variety of play areas aimed at children aged 3-11. 

Ahead of visiting Wellington Country Park, a virtual tour can be taken from their website. A visual story is also available to download from the park’s website ahead of visiting. 

A limited number of sensory bags are now available on a first-come, first-served basis from the Wellington Country Park team – just ask a team member for details.

Within the park, there’s a sensory play area where the lighting can be adjusted. 

Relaxed performances at some of Hampshire’s theatres

The Mayflower Theatre in Southampton offers visitors with additional needs the opportunity to pre-visit the theatre to familiarise themselves with it. 

Added to this, The Mayflower runs relaxed performances where the house lights will remain lit and visitors are welcome to go in and out of the auditorium during the show. Technical changes such as the reduction of sound effects and lighting changes may also be in place. 

Theatre Royal Winchester also offers relaxed performances for some of its shows and SEN visitors have access to a visual story (just let the Box Office know if you’d like a copy of this). 

Find out more about days out in Hampshire

Explore our family things to do 

Find out more about accessibility in Hampshire