Latest News

Pier offers to extend ‘quiet hour’ provision – and changes autism hour times

Friday 12th July

A top tourist attraction hopes to further increase its accessibility to people with autism and other sensory issues.

The Grand Pier in Weston-super-Mare has now hosted its first couple of ‘quiet hours’, which take place on the first Sunday of every month.

For the first two autism hours, the Pier opened at 9am instead of 10am. The usual background music was switched off, there were no tannoy announcements and, where possible, lighting was reduced on the amusements and attractions.

While the move was widely praised, many people said it was simply too early and therefore not practical for them to attend.

The move was the latest in a series of measures introduced by the Grand Pier in order to make the seafront attraction as accessible as possible to everyone.

In line with that ethos, the Pier has listened to feedback and has changed the time of the next autism hour, on Sunday 4 August, to run between 10am and 11am.

The attraction is also open to discussing improving its accessibility even further.

Group Marketing Manager Lucy Graham said: “We chose to open early on a Sunday morning because it’s generally one of the quieter times of the week, so by taking a few extra steps we could make the Pier as welcoming as possible to those with sensory difficulties.

“To allow us to effectively create a sensory environment, it is important that these ‘autism hours’ take place at the start of the day. However, we also appreciate that 9am on a Sunday morning did not suit everybody.

“We are encouraged by the overall positive response to the idea, and as a result of the feedback we have received, have decided to move the starting time to 10am instead of 9am.

“While it means the Pier will also be open to the general public, we will still take the special measures regarding music, tannoy announcements and lighting.

“We will also be alerting everyone who accesses the Pier of this dedicated quiet hour to ensure the experience is enjoyed by all.

“This move also demonstrates our willingness to listen to what our guests are telling us, and to do everything we realistically can to provide what they want.

“In addition, we would welcome conversations from schools and other organisations which look after people with sensory difficulties and it might be that we could do a quiet hour one weekday morning to accommodate organised groups.”

Ben Egryn Nicholas, Chair of the National Autistic Society North Somerset Branch, welcomed the Pier’s introduction of the Sunday morning quiet hour.

He said: “The Quiet Hour for the Christmas Grotto proved to be popular among families and we were pleased to be able to work with the team at the Pier to do it. It’s great that the team want to build on that and offer sessions throughout the year.

“Quiet Sessions at the Pier offer people on the autism spectrum and their families the opportunity to enjoy the amusements and entertainment – and simply to have fun!

“I hope other local businesses will hear about this and consider how they could be more accessible – for instance, by holding quiet hours or adapting their everyday practices.”

The Grand Pier has an Accessibility Guide on its website, which can be downloaded, which has information about its facilities and services for those with special needs.

All areas of the Pavilion and function rooms have lift and escalator access; disabled access toilets are also available on all floors.

There is also an Essential Companions scheme to ensure guests are able to receive the support they need in order to visit and enjoy the Grand Pier.

By continuing to browse or by clicking “Accept All Cookies,” you agree to the storing of first and third-party cookies on your device to enhance site navigation and analyze site usage. Find out more about our cookie policy.

By continuing to browse or by clicking “Accept All Cookies,” you agree to the storing of first and third-party cookies on your device. View our Cookie Policy.

Cookie Preference Settings


Your Privacy

When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. This information might be about you, your preferences, your device or used to make the site work as you expect it to. The information does not usually identify you directly, but it can give you a more personalized web experience. You can choose not to allow some types of cookies. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings. However, you should know that blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience on the site and the services we are able to offer.

Always Active

Essential Cookies

These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services, such as setting your privacy preferences, logging in or filling in forms. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site may not work then.

Cookies Used

  • User site session: CraftSessionId
  • Form security: CRAFT_CSRF_TOKEN
  • Cookie Preferences: ccSitePreference
  • Shopping cart: commerce_cookie
  • Google Analytics Cookies: _ga, _gb, _utma _utmb _utmc _utmt _utmv _utmz

Performance Cookies

These cookies allow us to count visits and traffic sources, so we can measure and improve the performance of our site. They help us know which pages are the most and least popular and see how visitors move around the site. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. If you do not allow these cookies, we will not know when you have visited our site.

Cookies Used

  • Hotjar analytics cookies: _hjClosedSurveyInvites, _hjDonePolls, _hjMinimizedPolls, _hjDoneTestersWidgets, _hjMinimizedTestersWidgets, _hjIncludedInSample, hubspotutk, __hstc, __hssrc, mp_*_mixpanel

Marketing Cookies

These cookies are set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant ads on other sites. They work by uniquely identifying your browser and device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will not experience our targeted advertising across different websites.

Cookies Used

  • Facebook Pixel Cookies: fr, wd