How to get around London in a wheelchair
As one of the main financial, commercial and tourist centres of the world, there’s no wonder plenty of us love visiting London, or are curious about seeing it for the first time.
But for those of us who are wheelchair users, a little more planning and preparation is required (as with any amount of travelling!) Have you always wanted to see London in all its glory, but been concerned about how wheelchair accessible the city may, or may not, be? Well, this article is for you! Read on to hopefully get your questions answered and your worries redirected.
1. London is BIG
As cities go, London is huge! With nine million people living there, there’s a lot to see and do. Regardless of how confident you are as a disabled traveller, don’t try and conquer it all at once; it’s just impossible. London is divided into main geographical districts via its postcodes (so if you’re hoping to explore East London, you’d be looking for hotels and attractions with an ‘E’ postcode, and so on). There’s certain parts of London that are famous for certain things, too. You might want to go to Shoreditch for hipster cafes and nightlife, or head to the Southbank for the London Eye or a cultural evening at Shakespeare’s Globe. In Kensington, you can visit Harrods and marvel at the Natural History Museum, or stop off at Westminster if you’re into politics – the list really is endless! Have a think about the main attractions you want to visit on your first wheelchair accessible trip to London, and find an inclusive hotel nearby. Premier Inns, Holiday Inns, Ibis and Hilton hotels are good chains to start with that all have accessible rooms as standard.
2. Public transport is your friend
Driving around London is not fun. It’s busy, takes far too long and parking is extortionate and seems none-existent sometimes! You’ll be happy to know that all of London’s black cabs and all 22,000 of their buses are fitted with wheelchair ramps, making getting around by bus or car very simple indeed! East London is arguably the most wheelchair accessible district, as it is home to the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), a 100% wheelchair accessible overground tube system, and hosted the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. In terms of underground transport, London’s tube still has a long way to go with only just over a third of its stations being wheelchair accessible. If you wish to use the tube, the Jubilee Line is the most accessible, and can take you from Stratford (home of the Olympics) to Green Park (the stop for Regent Street, Oxford Street and Piccadilly) totally step free!
3. Attractions that are wheelchair accessible
All of the attractions mentioned in this article are wheelchair accessible, so feel free to go and enjoy them! If you get chance, take the accessible Emirates Air Line Cable Car from the docklands to the famous o2 arena – there are plenty of shows, exhibitions, restaurants and bars in the arena, and you can even climb to the top of the arena without leaving your wheelchair, if you’re an adrenaline junkie! The Shard is another great, and thoroughly accessible, attraction, and a stroll through Hyde Park is always pleasant (if you are lucky enough to have good British weather during your visit!)
We hope you have fun in one of the world’s greatest cities!