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This post is for information purposes only and based on personal experience. As I researched my local area and found out that Bletchley Park were hosting an autism friendly grotto, I volunteered to write this post about our visit, which I paid for. I received no payment or any other compensation for this post.
Bletchley Park located in Milton Keynes was once the top-secret home of the World War Two Codebreakers. A remarkable place, which is right on my doorstep! (Even better at Christmas time!)
With the joyous occasion of Christmas soon approaching, I was delighted to discover that Bletchley Park were running a special ticketed event: A Vintage 1940s Autism Friendly Christmas Grotto. Perfect! Saturday 1st December here we come!
My son’s ticket only cost £7.00, (This was the 2018 price) including free entry to the park accompanied by a paying adult.
My son has sensory differences so Christmas can be a challenging time for him.
Autism Event at Bletchley Park.
The autism-friendly grotto has adjusted lighting and the choice to have the music turned off if we preferred. We also had the chance to discuss my son’s triggers before arrival.
I really appreciated the information and attention to detail before setting foot in the park. Bletchley Park’s website also has a section on accessibility.
Social Story and Sensory Map.
My son and I went through the social story:
He ticked off how we would travel to the park and could see that the grotto would be situated in the library located inside the mansion.
The sensory maps helped identify where the busy and quiet areas would be.
Our Visit in December.
We had arrived at Bletchley Park, and as we walked through the doors, I noticed that there was a separate queue for the Christmas Grotto (ensuring ease of entry).
I was kindly informed that each person would have a 15-minute time slot for the grotto, allowing flexibility for that child/young person.
I took note of the visual displays for directions, which we found very helpful:
We made our way past the lake and towards the mansion:
What a Humdinger of a view!
I showed my son the three rooms used for the grotto at the mansion:
- A quiet place.
- Arts and Crafts room.
- The Grotto.
He enjoyed spotting the decorations around the mansion and ticking them off his visual checklist of the mansion.
We entered the arts and crafts room, where my son joined in and made a festive creation:
What originally was meant to be a snowman was adapted into a Little Big Planet monster……of course! (one of my son’s interests).
1940s Christmas Grotto at Bletchley Park.
It was my son’s turn to enter the grotto…
You could feel the warmth as you entered the room. Absolutely breathtaking! It was a magical moment. Even I felt like a child again full of excitement. It was everything you expected a Christmas grotto to be, infused with a 1940’s twist.
Santa asked my son what he would like for Christmas and afterward handed him a present and a jar of sweets. My son smiled his way out of the grotto.
Cyber Security Exhibition.
We then had a look around the mansion and at the Cyber Security Exhibition, which had lots of interactive elements.
We finished off our trip at the shop, where we admired the Christmas tree but also purchased a WW1 History Ruler for my son.
Our visit to Bletchley Park was a wondrous occasion filled with festive cheer. What a great way to start off the holidays!
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