London is one of Europe’s most visited cities, with tourists flocking here throughout the year to experience its historic sites, cultural venues and world class shopping. But have you ever wondered how accessible it is to people with disabilities? |
As a disability expert with over 31 years’ experience in arranging vacations for disabled people, I can help you to have a fun, stress free and valuable trip to the capital by offering advice about accessible hotels, sights and transportation in the UK’s capital.
The good news is that the city has worked hard over the last 10-15 years to make itself a great destination for both the able-bodied and the disabled. Holidays to London are often based around sight-seeing and shopping, and the city has created great access to both.
Seeing the Sights
Most of the main sights in the city, from the Tower of London to Buckingham Palace and all of the major museums, now have wheelchair access and seating facilities. Many sights now also offer audio guides, BSL video guides and tour transcripts printed in large print, if requested.
There are a variety of ways to travel around London for the disabled. Holidays to the city may involve travelling on buses, trains, the tube and taxis - all of which offer passengers with disabilities varying degrees of accessibility.
• Buses – London has the largest accessible bus fleet in the world. All London buses are ‘low-floor’ vehicles and include an access ramp. • Trains – Only a quarter of Tube stations have step-free access. These are clearly marked on the Tube map, so it’s important to plan your route carefully if you need this facility. All DLR stations are step-free. • Taxis – All ‘Black Cabs’ in London offer wheelchair access in the form of a ramp which the driver will put out on request. The seating area in the back of a cab is spacious enough to fit a wheelchair, although the modern shape taxis do offer more headroom. • Boats – Most piers are now step-free and many boats have boarding ramps.
Visit the Transport for London website for a journey planner which will plan a fully accessible route for you to reach your destination.
Hotels and Restaurants
Many of the newer hotels and restaurants, chains and luxury establishments offer specialised facilities for visitors who are disabled. Holidays for physically impaired travellers visiting London can be booked with our team at Can Be Done. We will identify the best London hotels to meet your specific needs and can recommend restaurants with appropriate facilities.
Shopping in London
Most of the city’s streets, particularly those in the centre, have lowered pavements which make travelling through the main shopping areas relatively easy. Famous shops you might want to visit, such as Hamleys, Liberty London, Harrods, Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason, all offer level access, wheelchair-accessible toilets and lifts. Westfield London is another good option for accessible shopping, but visit using the bus or Shepherd’s Bush Overground, as the Shepherd’s Bush Underground station involves stairs or escalators.
Exploring a new city can be challenging, but remember there is plenty to see and do in London that is accessible to everyone. Take a bit of time before you travel to check out the websites of any of the sights or shops you’re planning to visit - they will usually outline exactly which facilities are available for people with disabilities in order to make your visit as easy and enjoyable as possible. For further advice, feel free to get in touch to see how my team and I can make your trip to the capital a fantastic and valuable experience.
Philip Scott is the owner and founder of Can Be Done, a fully licensed UK tour operator specialising in disabled holidays across the world for individuals and groups who are travelling with a handicap. With over 31 years’ experience organising long and short breaks for disabled travellers, Philip has built a reputation for helping his clients select hotels and accommodation that offer high standards of accessibility to ensure that those with special needs can experience truly relaxing and carefree holidays.
Related Articles -