Accessible London: Four top attractions

Accessible London: Four top attractions

With its busy streets, and narrow, step-strewn Victorian buildings, London’s not always the most accessible of destinations. But big efforts have been made to attract disabled visitors. Visit London, the capital’s tourist body, has an ‘Accessible London‘ section on its website that gives information and advice on everything from how to navigate the transport system, to where to find disabled toilets. There’s also a guide (created with Disabled Go) on places to eat, stay and which attractions cater best for disabled visitors.

Like any large city, people who are visually impaired, deaf, or in a wheelchair find it difficult to navigate London’s bad parking, roadworks and throngs of pedestrians. It’s better than many places though. I just spent a day in Paris, and on a cursory glance around, it looked as though the French capital might be even more of an obstacle course than London for disabled people.

And there are plenty of interesting places to visit in London, which have accessible buildings. The Visit London/Disabled Go guide features a list of the top 10 London attractions searched by people wanting to find out more about disabled access. The list include Wembley Stadium, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge and four of our favourite places:

ZSL London Zoo

ZSL London Zoo

ZSL London is home to an incredible variety of animals: big cats (with a new Land of the Lions exhibit), lemurs, komodo dragons and many more species of birds, mammals and reptiles. Despite the fact that the zoo is 170 years old and contains 12 listed buildings, most of it is accessible for wheelchair users and those with walking difficulties. Unfortunately, guide dogs aren’t permitted.

Tate Modern

Tate Modern

Tate Modern is housed in the former Bankside Power Station and opened in 2000. The UK’s largest collection of modern art is a relatively recent development, with a new wing just opened, so it’s relatively accessible by London standards. There’s detailed information about ramps, lifts and handrails at each of the five entrances on the Tate website.

Tate Modern welcomes guide dogs, with a drinking bowl available at the cloakroom. Wheelchairs and electric scooters are available with pre-booking, and there are audio guides, audio described tours, a hearing loop in some areas and BSL talks.

Natural History Museum

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The Natural History Museum holds the first T-rex fossil ever found, as well as an Iguanadon skeleton and a Triceratops skull. It also premiers images from the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

For people with visual impairment, there are audio descriptive guides for the Treasures exhibition in the Cadogan Gallery and the Volcanoes and Earthquakes gallery. Tactile and Braille books, and large-print gallery guides are also available.

British Museum

British Museum

Black siltstone obelisk of King Nectanebo II of Egypt

The British Museum’s main entrance is impressive: a Greek Revival quadrangle with awe-inspiring colonnades. Inside, its collection reflects the country’s internationally focused history, with exhibits from around the world including the Rosetta Stone, the Parthenon sculptures and the mummies in the Ancient Egypt collection.

The entrance has 12 steps, but there are self-operable lifts on both sides. There are some disabled parking spaces outside the museum, and you can borrow a wheelchair for gallery viewing. Most galleries and all special exhibitions are fully accessible.

 

Have you visited any accessible London attractions? Or any that were not so good for people with accessibility needs?Save

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10 Comments

  1. September 21, 2016 / 6:59 pm

    Such a great idea for a post, Nell. It’s easy to forget about the things we don’t bat an eye at twice, but are difficult for others. And I love all of these places! Though I’ve never been to the zoo. I remember seeing the photo of the tiger on IG and loving it!!

  2. Curtis
    September 26, 2016 / 8:09 pm

    I’ll be visiting London for the first time next week, thanks for this list!!

  3. October 11, 2016 / 8:24 am

    Thanks for this wonderful post Nell. I have to admit I was not really aware how difficult it can be for people with a disability until I had to navigate cities with a double buggy. And I appreciate that is not even close to the difficulties some people have. You have made some wonderful suggestions here and I will be sharing widely.

    • Nell
      Author
      October 11, 2016 / 2:53 pm

      Thank you Katy! x

  4. October 11, 2016 / 12:44 pm

    Great post Nell, I think you’re probably right that Paris is behind London on accessibility. Many metro stations have lifts but only if you can get down the 10-20 steps first! #citytripping

    • Nell
      Author
      October 11, 2016 / 2:54 pm

      Yes, that was the impression I had. We complain about London but I think it’s one of the better European cities for accessibility.

  5. October 11, 2016 / 1:56 pm

    Great idea for a post. You really start to realise how accessible places are when you have children. London is not great- especially the tube network but this is very helpful. #citytripping

    • Nell
      Author
      October 11, 2016 / 2:54 pm

      Thanks Elizabeth! x

  6. October 12, 2016 / 8:54 pm

    What a great idea for a post – something I barely thought about, I admit, before being faced with getting a buggy around London. The tube is particularly bad! And of course that pales in comparison to someone needing accessible routes if they visit. Interestingly, I found Parisians were very helpful when I was solo with my daughter in a buggy – most Metro stations have steps, but I never had to ask for help carrying her and only once had to do it myself (when there was no-one else around). Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

    • Nell
      Author
      October 14, 2016 / 9:35 am

      It’s heartening when people in big cities make an effort to help. That’s good to hear about Paris – and I always had help in London, too. These places aren’t as unfriendly as people sometimes make out!

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