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How disabled friendly is England/London?

So, unfortunately, we will again be traveling via wheelchair for our daughter. In Paris last year the French were very accommodating and respectful. People offered to help us many times. How should we expect to be treated in the UK?

Posted by
1989 posts

You can expect to be treated well in the UK. If you have a special pass allowing you to park in favoured bays, bring it with you. Although the British pass is different, I would be very surprised if somebody took issue because you used an American pass.

When travelling about, you will find supermarkets with free parking - usually on the edges of towns. These supermarkets nearly always have decent toilets suitable for the disabled. One of the biggest chains in Tesco. (The one in Stow-on-the-Wold is fairly new but has been made to look like a traditional Cotswold stone building - no ugly blue boxes allowed in The Cotswolds)!
http://www.tesco.com/store-locator/uk/?bID=3195

Buses usually have ramps and spaces for people in wheelchairs. Trains in Britain are different to the USA in that the platforms are nearly always level with the carriage floor rather than the American low platforms with steps up inside the carriage. This means that staff can fit ramps across the gap between the train & platform. (It is a good idea to inform the rail company ahead to say what service you will be on & where you will be getting on/off as disabled spaces are limited on each train).

You should also be aware that not all smaller stations have disabled access to all platforms. You can check on this at the following site by clicking 'Accessibility'.http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations/mim/details.aspx

Posted by
4825 posts

This is the official guide to Accessible London. Details relating to attractions, transport etc.

Many attractions provide free admission for a carer so check that out.

Posted by
659 posts

If you're not using the 100% correct pass, you will get a ticket, and maybe even towed away... the parking people don't make concessions.

Posted by
28826 posts

Most kerbs are cut, most London road intersections have walk/don't walk lights, and there are zebra crossings. Once you have started across traffic is supposed to wait until the way ahead is clear.

Businesses should have ramps or means of attracting attention inside so that accommodations can be made for the wheelchair to enter.

Theatres tend to place wheelchairs in front of the front row. Be sure to ask when buying tickets.

Restaurants should also provide ramps or a means to attract attention, and be prepared to move a chair out of the way. Toilets can be difficult in London because so many are downstairs but many larger places will have a single disabled toilet on the ground floor.

Many disabled toilets are opened with a RADAR key. See https://crm.disabilityrightsuk.org/radar-nks-key

I have seen RADAR keys on Amazon.

Posted by
4825 posts

Parking concession in Central London is different to the rest of the UK and much less generous as it does not cover parking in the street on yellow lines etc. Dedicated bays though are the same. Check with the local parking authority as to whether you can use your state's placard.

Posted by
1865 posts

Thank you!

My daughter can walk, so we are ok with stairs etc. she just can not walk distances. Last year hubby would pick up the chair (lighter transport fold up chair) when we were faced with stairs, we even took the metro and he just lifted it up over the ticket area. No one said anything.

Here in the states our experience is that in a chair we are pretty much ignored, so in Paris it was actually a delight to see such helpful people. My daughter started to feel really special, and it was nice since she really hates being in the chair. I was curious to know if it will be more like the states or Paris. I guess we'll see.

Thank you for the information. Sounds much more accessible than Italy! Glad the streets are cut out for crossing!

Posted by
28826 posts

Sticks is good - just don't use a white one or a white one with a red band. They have a special meaning.