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Where can carers get free access?

When you’re employing a carer or working as a carer, it seems unfair that days out can cost twice the price that they do for other people because you’re having to buy two tickets. Fortunately, many businesses and establishments recognise this inequality and offer free or discounted access for accompanying carers. Due to the pandemic, NHS staff and paid carers are now also being rewarded for all their incredible efforts in their own spare time too with free concert tickets for events taking place across the country. Our blog explores where carers can get free access whilst working and also whilst off shift.

How can I get a free carer ticket?

To make the most of these offers, you may need to bring some form of proof. This could be something like a letter about which disability-related benefits the person being cared for gets, or a letter about Carer’s Allowance. Some places might not ask for any proof, or may simply ask a few questions instead, but it’s always best to bring some just in case. If you’re not sure whether the venue you’re going to offers free tickets to carers, it might be a good idea to ring ahead and ask. If you explain the situation and the reason why a carer is necessary, some more informal venues may assign you a free ticket even if it’s not strict policy.

Where can I get free access as a carer?

Many attractions offer free tickets for carers, but here are a few well-known examples:

  • Cinemas – A person with disabilities can apply for a card from the Cinema Exhibitors’ Association (CEA), which gives one free ticket to anyone accompanying you to the cinema. Most cinemas in the UK accept the card, including most branches of Vue, Odeon, and Cineworld, so it’s definitely worth having.
  • Theatres – Many theatres will allow carers in for free and also offer discounts for people with disabilities. You may also be able to reserve specific seats if you are a wheelchair user and need extra space.
  • Theme parks – Most theme parks in the UK will allow free or concession tickets for carers, and many will allow people with disabilities to ‘fast track’ to the front of the queue.
  • National Trust and English Heritage properties – If you enjoy days out around the UK exploring some of the beautiful history the country has to offer, it’s worth knowing that both the National Trust and English Heritage offer free entry for carers or companions of people with disabilities. You can apply for an ‘Access for All Admit One Card’ to save yourself time during your visit, though this isn’t necessary.
  • Football matches – Some clubs, though not all, offer free admission for carers at matches. It’s worth ringing up your club and checking if this is something you might like to take advantage of.
  • Merlin attractions – The Merlin annual pass – which affords unlimited access to over 30 attractions including SEA LIFE, the Dungeons and Alton Towers, also offers a complimentary pass for carers.
  • Festivals – Many festivals will offer carers a free ticket; contact your festival organisers to explain your situation and see if this is possible.
  • Concerts for Carers – NHS staff and paid carers are being rewarded for all their incredible efforts since the pandemic began with free concert tickets for events taking place across the country. Concerts for Carers is a registered charity that aims to promote positive mental health and wellbeing by providing free social care worker tickets and NHS tickets for concerts so that those under pressure can see some of the world’s biggest music acts. Click here for more information.

Families who care for a child with disabilities should also sign up for The Max Card, which is completely free and offers foster families and families of children with additional needs free or discounted entry into many attractions across the UK including Butlin’s, Haven, and Thorpe Park.

The Cinema Exhibitors' Association (CEA) card gives one free ticket to anyone accompanying someone with a disability to the cinema.
The Cinema Exhibitors’ Association (CEA) card gives one free ticket
to anyone accompanying someone with a disability to the cinema.

Where can I get discounts as a carer or a person with disabilities?

As well as free entry for carers, some establishments may also offer discounts for both carers and people with disabilities. It’s important to make note of these, too, because sometimes a little can go a long way.

  • CareSmart offers benefits and discounts to both carers and people with disabilities.
  • Your local council may offer discounts for activities such as swimming for people with disabilities.
  • Some local carer services offer discount cards which can be used at local businesses.
  • Many public libraries offer discounts on overdue books, computer use, and audio and visual materials fees for people with disabilities.
  • Public transport operators may offer discounted or free tickets to carers, and the Disabled Person’s Railcard offers people with disabilities 1/3 off train travel in the UK.

What if a discount isn’t available?

If there’s somewhere you love to visit which doesn’t have a policy for carers, it might be worth getting in touch to give your feedback personally. Many attractions or organisations would be willing to change their policy to allow carers to go free because discriminating against people with disabilities isn’t good press, so you should never be afraid to make your voice heard. There are plenty of stories out there of people who have voiced their concerns and managed to get policies changed this way – so don’t rule it out.

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