How accessible are London’s top sights?
Read on for useful information about accessibility at favourite London attractions from the London Eye to Tate Modern.
The Eye is one of London’s most postcard-friendly sights and a 30-minute trip gives great views of the city. The ticket hall and capsules are wheelchair accessible. Disabled visitors pay a discounted rate with one carer free of charge. Groups of less than four are fast-tracked to the front of the queue. Wheelchairs are available for use and there is an accessible toilet.
It’s a treat to be able to roam the State Rooms of Buckingham Palace, which are open to all every summer. And if you require step-free access you can enter in style, by using the front gates (the main visitor entrance is at the side). Wheelchairs can be hired free of charge for the State Rooms, and mobility scooters for use in the gardens. Assistance dogs are welcome and audio guides are compatible with T-coil induction loops, with free guides available in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese and Russian.
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Designed by Sir Christopher Wren, St Paul’s Cathedral is an iconic feature of London’s skyline. Wheelchair users can access the cathedral floor with its sculptures, mosaics and chapels, as well as the crypt – accessible via a lift – where Lord Nelson’s tomb lies. Access to the dome galleries up top is by stairs only, but there is a virtual tour of the galleries screened in the crypt that brings it to life. There are ‘Touch and Feel’ tours for visually impaired visitors and orders of service in Braille. Guide dogs are welcome.
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The South Bank is the stretch of the Thames that manages to pack in culture, great dining and drinking options, stunning views and fun street entertainment in less than 4km! The area links the Southbank Centre, National Theatre, Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe and Southwark Cathedral. There are new pavement layouts, better lighting and signage and more seating, access ramps and handrails. A newly laid cobbled but smooth surface has been laid on Clink Street, which retains its traditional feel but makes it easy for everyone to use.
It’s hard to believe the Tate Modern has only been open 12 years – it’s already an institution and one of Britain’s top five most visited attractions. Tate offers a reduced entry to paying exhibitions for disabled visitors, and carers go free. Guide and hearing dogs are welcome, with drinking bowls available from staff. ‘Touch tours’ are available and certain events have visual descriptions. Ten wheelchairs and two electric scooters are available for hire, bookable in advance.
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The Science Museum’s collections include an impressive 18th-century steam engine, the Apollo 10 command module and everyday technological marvels from 1750 to the present. Every part of the museum is accessible by ramp or lift (except for a couple of raised walkways). Everything is displayed at just the right height. Tactile signage and touch tours are available for some exhibitions along with large print and braille information. A wheelchair is available for loan. There is ample disabled parking.
Read more about accessibility at The Science Museum