Travel tips | Traveller tips | Guide dogs and public disabled toilets

Guide dogs & public disabled toilets

Practical information for mobility or seeing impaired travellers

If you have mobility or seeing disabilities, we've put together some practical information about public disabled toilets and about what to do if you are bringing your guide dog with you to help make your trip to Britain easier and more enjoyable.

Accessible toilets in Britain

Where there are public toilets in Britain, you'll usually find an accessible toilet. Accessible toilets have large floor space, grab bars, low level sinks and hand dryers, and sometimes an alarm (a red string which reaches the ground) for emergencies.

You might find that many accessible public toilets in Britain are locked - this is to prevent vandalism and misuse of the toilets.

The National Key Scheme (NKS), operated by the Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation (RADAR), offers independent access to over 7,000 locked accessible toilets in Britain. RADAR supplies keys that unlock toilets that are a part of the NKS.

One key, which costs £3.50, unlocks any of the 7,000 toilets that are registered with the scheme. RADAR makes no profit in supplying keys but needs to make a small charge to cover the costs of supply. You can keep your key for future visits to Britain.

For more information on the National Key Scheme or to buy a key, visit RADAR - National Key Scheme.

Other accessible toilets can be found in places such as Tourist Information Centres, supermarkets, fast food restaurants, train and bus stations, ferry piers and many of Britain's tourist attractions.

Changing Places

Fully accessible public toilets for disabled people are available in the UK and there is an ongoing campaign to increase their number. Changing Places provide safe, clean toilets with hoists, changing areas and room for up to two carers.

To find out where you can find fully accessible public toilets in Britain and for more details of the campaign, check the Changing Places website.

Guide dogs in Britain

If you're travelling to Britain with a guide dog, you are advised to contact the Department for Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) before booking your trip.

Guidelines on bringing pets, including guide/service dogs into the UK change frequently, so consult your veterinary surgeon for information regarding documentation and procedures required for travel into the UK with your dog.

PETS Travel Scheme

Your guide/service dog can enter the UK from certain countries without going into quarantine under the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS). Countries participating in PETS include parts of Europe, Bahrain, the USA and Canada. For a full list of participating countries, visit Defra – PETS listed countries.

To be eligible for PETS, there are certain procedures you must follow:

  • Have your pet microchipped
  • Have your pet vaccinated
  • Arrange a blood test for your pet
  • Get PETS documentation
  • Have your pet treated against ticks and tapeworm
  • Arrange for your animal to travel with an approved transport company on an authorised route.

For more detailed information on PETS and its procedures, visit Defra – PETS.


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