London and Disabled Access

If you are planning to visit London and have a disability, this article will supply you with useful information about how might be best to get around, what there is to do and how to access it.

Transport

Getting around in London is typically done on a transport system that's about a century out of date. This can sometimes make it harder for disabled passengers to use TFL's network. In general however, modifications have been made to stations and interchanges, wherever it was at all feasible, to install lifts and other accessibility equipment. The result isn't ideal, especially in the more ancient stations, but it is still usable.

Tube, rail and DLR stations are all clearly labelled on the tube should they have step free access, and TFL have an online journey planner that can help you plan any journey in the capital from postcode to postcode. You can enter in any needs you might have, such as allowing extra time to change at platforms, or even “rain friendly” journeys which totally avoid being out of cover. You can find it here.

Back up in the surface world, London cabs may be a more expensive way to travel, but they are all wheelchair accessible. Busses and overground trains all have access ramps. Bus drivers will be happy to help disabled users onto buses, while platform guards at rail stations should be made to known what assistance you require before boarding.

Longer-term visitors may think about bringing a car to the city. Of course, many wheelchair users rely on accessible vehicles on a daily basis. (If you are moving to London from another part of the world, right-hand drive wheelchair can be found here.) However, London is not a car-friendly city. Lack of central parking, high road tax and Congestion Charge in central London means that many people choose public transport over running their own car.

Out and About

Helpfully, most of London's most iconic attractions are easy to access via public transport. There are, of course, so many reasons to visit and so many things to see, so here are just two of my favourites.

The Victoria and Albert Museum is in South Kensington. It houses the kind of objects you would expect the national museum of a nation that dominated a third of the world and had a penchant for collecting cultural items to house. There are always stunning exhibitions on, and usually several ones free of charge to compliment the permanent display. A current showing is of items of civil dissent and protest called Disobedient Objects. Most of the museum is on two floors, and there are plenty of lifts to connect the two.

The London Zoo is in the northernmost part of Regents Park. It is very old, but still mostly wheelchair friendly, with disabled parking and most areas with disabled access. It is an especially exciting time to visit as the zoo has recently given birth to three tiger cubs! Access info can be found here.

Hotels are expensive in London, and cheaper ones tend not to be as accessible. So for your stay, here is some info about where to find cheaper, still accessible accommodation for your visit.



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