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21 November 2017
London is replete with fantastic attractions and interesting things to see and do, but not all of these locations are suitable for those among us who live with mobility difficulties. Luckily, London is also home to many wonderful attractions that have accessible facilities, allowing all that arrive to enjoy what’s on offer. With that being said, we have put together the below guide, to highlight just some of the many great accessible highlights London has to offer.
Those of us who make use of mobility equipment such as indoor curved stairlifts certainly appreciate companies and attractions that make visiting them as easy as possible, and one of these locations is London Zoo. Even at 170 years old, with many old buildings housed inside, London Zoo is easily accessible by wheelchair and for those with walking difficulties.
There are six disabled parking bays near the zoo entrance and attractions such as the Land of the Lions has a lift available for visitors to use. Tiger Territory is another accessible highlight of the zoo, with lifts available to access a higher viewing platform.
Wheelchair hire is available at London Zoo and able to be booked in advance by contacting their support services via telephone or email for a refundable deposit of £25.
London Zoo also provides a number of accessible toilets across its premises. Assistance Dogs aren’t currently available due to the other animals present, but this is an issue currently being worked on with Guide Dogs UK.
For good fun, a bit of theatricality, and a whole host of history, The London Dungeon is a great way to spend a couple of hours while visiting London. 110 minutes long to be exact, The London Dungeon is an experience comprising interactive shows, live actors and special effects in a rather exciting gothic adventure.
London Dungeon spoke to us about the accessible nature of the attraction:
“The London Dungeon has a range of facilities in place to cater for guests with mobility difficulties. The attraction covers three levels, however we do have a lift, and staff are in place to assist you around the tour. Before arriving at the London Dungeon, we recommend guests visit our website to plan and book in their tour for the optimum experience.”
The London Dungeon is wheelchair accessible, making this a great attraction for all to visit. When arriving, make sure to speak to a staff member in front of the entrance and you will be escorted into the building via step-free access.
The London Dungeon contains mostly level pathways but there are moments when the floor can move, so it is advised to apply brakes to wheelchairs when stationary. There is also a lift present along with staff being available to assist those that need it around the tour.
While The London Dungeon can be a little dark for some with low vision, carers are allowed to join guests free of charge to help with any assistance needed. Assistance dogs are also welcome, but won’t be permitted access to the rides.
Tower Bridge might be the most iconic landmark in London and is a truly fascinating attraction to visit while in the city. Tower Bridge opened in 1894 after eight years of construction and today its walkways provide some truly stunning sights.
Tower Bridge spoke to us about the accessible nature of this historic attraction:
“We’re delighted to confirm that Tower Bridge Exhibition is fully accessible. There is lift access taking visitors to all levels in the tower and the Engine Rooms meaning that visitors can enjoy all parts of the iconic landmark. Accessible toilets are also available once inside the exhibition, located in the towers and the Engine Rooms. Further information on accessibility is available via the Tower Bridge website.”
The Tower Bridge exhibition centre is where visitors can explore the history and function of this fascinating location. The exhibition centre also includes subtitles and scripts for the video presentation.
Tower Bridge’s engine room – with its original steam engines, coal burners and accumulators – is certainly worth the visit and visitors can make use of the accessible wheelchair route should they need it.
To make things even better, Tower Bridge offers free entry to any visitors with disabilities and for their carers/enablers.
Not only is The British Museum one of London’s best attractions, period, it is considered by a great many to be the city’s best in terms of accessibility.
The doors to The British Museum opened in 1759 and these days it attracts five and a half million visitors each and every year. With a range of events waiting to be enjoyed and fascinating free and ever changing exhibits, it’s not hard to understand its popularity.
On either side of the museum’s main entrance there are self-operable lifts available, and on the Monmouth St side there is level access. Lifts and wheelchair access are present throughout the museum, with carers/enablers being offered free entry to the paid-for exhibitions.
The British Museum is also able to offer induction loops and BSL-signed talks and lectures each month. For those that require them, touch tours, magnifying aids, and large print guides are available for the visually impaired.
Theatre lovers are of course spoiled for choice while in London, with myriad world-famous shows available in its many wonderful venues. Once such location is the New London Theatre, a modern building that has seen great entertainment on its site since Elizabethan times.
Being a modern building, this of course makes the venue an ideal place to catch a show for people with mobility difficulties. The New London Theatre has no steps at its entrance to deal with, there is a lowered counter at the box office, and an escalator from the main foyer.
Wheelchair access is also available; upon arrival just visit the foyer and a member of the front of house team will accompany you to the Stage Door where there is access to a lift. The upper foyer and bar has step free access along with accessible toilets.
For those with access dogs, these are allowed inside the auditorium and staff can even dog-sit four dogs per performance inside the manager’s office. For full details, please visit their website.
London is well known for its museums so they should of course be well represented on this list. One of the more unusual ones is the London Museum of Water & Steam, a fascinating attraction and one that is easily accessible.
One of the most enjoyable things about London is its history and this is just what visitors can uncover here by discovering the tale of the city’s water supply with an interactive gallery, museum garden, and waterworks railway.
A total of 85% of the museum is wheelchair accessible via the use of rising platform lifts, and the museum’s 90 inch engine (the largest working beam engine in the world) is accessible thanks to a stair-climbing lift and ramp, as is the waterwheel courtyard and Diesel House.
The Birdies Cafe is also on hand for some refreshments, with a wheelchair accessible toilet being located inside.
Image Credit: Ham Chris Allen