Some of London is very accessible, while other parts can be tricky for disabled visitors. This guide covers my favourite places that are easy to access, along with tips on getting around to make the most of a trip to London.
London's cabs are accessible, with features including ramps, swivel seats, grab bars, hearing loops, and the possibility to travel with assistance dogs. You can even take a black taxi tour!
London's buses are free for wheelchair users, which is great for those on a budget. They have ramps, wheelchair spaces, priority seating, and audio-visual information.
Places to Visit
Hyde Park has everything: from events and concerts, to memorials, to sports, to self-guided walks. Visitors can take in public speeches at Speakers Corner, swim in the Serpentine Lido or simply relax and enjoy the nature and wildlife. The park is step-free, with accessible parking and toilets, and lots of seating and refreshment areas.
South Bank has attractions offering great facilities and services for disabled visitors including the London Eye and River Cruise, the Sea Life London Aquarium, the London Dungeon, the Tate Modern, Shakespeare's Globe and the National Theatre. The Visit London website has an Accessible London Maps section, which can help with getting to and navigating around South Bank.
Houses of Parliament
The self-guided audio tour starts in 900-year-old Westminster Hall, and assistants can escort visitors with disabilities from Westminster Hall to Central Lobby, which is particularly interesting, as the accessible route takes you to areas that other visitors don’t usually get to see. An accessible public toilet, including a changing bench and a hoist, can be found in Lower Waiting Hall, just off Central Lobby. Visit the Houses of Parliament Shop, where you can buy everything from books, to cufflinks, to wine.
The Science Museum is full of fun, interactive, experiences and has interesting exhibitions for all ages, each accessible to the widest range of visitors possible. Think full wheelchair accessibility, a large print accessibility map, Braille resources, events for deaf audiences and audio described events for partially sighted or blind visitors!
Noel Coward Theatre
The Noel Coward is a grand, traditional London theatre. Wheelchair users have the advantage of private box seating at a special access price (subject to availability), seating one wheelchair user and one companion. The theatre staff are cheerful, friendly and helpful. Accessible facilities include a ramp, headsets for those with hearing impairments, wheelchair and mobility scooter storage and accessible toilets. The theatre has three bars, which are all accessed via stairs. Staff can bring drinks to customers with access requirements.
Bars and Restaurants
Bugis Street Restaurant
Bugis offers authentic Singaporean, Malaysian and Chinese cuisine, just around the corner from Kensington High Street. It's located within the Copthorne Tara hotel, which was one of the first hotels in London to have wheelchair accessible bedrooms. Restaurant staff are attentive and helpful – nothing is too much trouble.
Hard Rock Café
London is the home of the original Hard Rock Cafe on swanky Old Park Lane. Dine and drink here for attentive service, a buzzing atmosphere, American-style comfort food and delicious cocktails. It is worth calling ahead to be added to the priority list for diners with access requirements – otherwise you could be up for a very long wait! Hard Rock Cafe London has an accessible toilet.
The Foundation Bar
A funky atmosphere, imaginative decor, good music and quirky cocktails are all in the offering at Foundation Bar. As the name suggests, it's at basement level, and there's a platform lift along with helpful bouncers to assist those who need it. A spacious accessible toilet is available, and staff are happy to part the crowds on busy nights.
Carrie-Ann Lightley is a traveller, a blogger and and inspiriation for the less mobile traveller. She doesn’t let her Cerebral Palsy slow her down from enjoying the world, near and far. Living with the mantra of ‘there is always a way’ her travel blog provides expertise and inspiration for accessible travel. Visit Carrie-Ann at https://www.carrieannlightley.com