Many venues, events and attractions offer free or discounted PA, carer or companion entry. You may need to prove you are disabled, for example by providing a copy of your disability benefits paperwork.
If the seating capacity for an event is very limited, venues may not offer free companion tickets.
Some attractions do offer discounts, special access or free carer entry but do not advertise this or the information is not easily available online. It’s worth contacting the company or asking on the day if they have companion ticket discounts or free entry.
Cinema and theatre
Most UK cinemas accept a CEA Card. This gives you free entry for 1 companion when you buy a cinema ticket. Check if you’re eligible and register for the card online or by post. It costs £6 for a year.
The National Trust lets you bring 1 or 2 carers or companions for free. You can organise free entry on the day or get an Essential Companion card. The companion card is slightly easier. You simply show it when you arrive and your companion or PA will get free entry straight away. If you’re not a National Trust member, you’ll still need to pay for your own entry.
If you’re eligible for a Disabled Persons Railcard, you can get a third off the travel cost for you and your companion. The Disabled Persons Railcard website also includes discounted offers on attractions, accommodation and restaurants.
You could also bring a packed lunch or your own food and drink, if the venue allows. Check the rules in advance.
Accessibility of venues
You have a right to expect companies to do their best to provide equal access to events and activities, like cinema screenings, concerts and sports events. These rights are in the Equality Act 2010.
For leisure activities, equal access could include:
free entry for someone who’s supporting you
access to audio-description
What is offered will depend on what reasonable adjustments the company can make and afford. You may find it helpful to talk to them about alternatives. For example, a discounted ticket for your companion rather than free entry.
If you’re being asked to pay more for accessible seating or tickets, this could be discrimination.
Some companies will have a formal procedure for commenting or complaining about any issues with disabled access. If they do not have a specific procedure, follow the general complaints process.
It can help to check what they say about venue or event accessibility on their website. If they claim they are accessible for certain access needs but you experienced barriers, it’s important to complain. They have promised something they did not provide.
You have a right to equal access to entertainment and leisure activities. You’re not ‘being awkward’ asking for accessibility.
Social media can help you to raise awareness of problems with accessibility and extra costs of disabled people. It can also be effective in getting a quick response from a company. But make sure you raise the issue with them first. You should give companies a chance to fix the problem.
You could use social media to:
contact the company using Twitter or Facebook (the threat of bad publicity can make companies take action)
write about your personal experiences on a blog or in a letter to a newspaper
join other people experiencing similar problems and start a campaign