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Where's the loo?

I have heard that public restrooms are hard to find in the UK. This concerns me a bit and I have the world's smallest bladder. We leave for London/Bath/Edinburgh in a few weeks and I've never been to these places. Where can one expect to find a loo when the need arises?


Posted by
9077 posts

You shouldn't have many problems finding a WC. Most major tourist attractions have facilities, you can also find them at larger train stations, fast food joints, shopping malls, and in London they have automated pay toilets on some street corners.

Posted by
505 posts

Can't speak for London, but Edinburgh has plenty of loos to use, though not that many true public loos.

There are public loos in the Meadows (at least for men) and in Princes St. Gardens. You can also find loos without a charge at any of the museums and also in the courtyard of Holyrood Palace. In addition, stores like Marks & Spencer, Jenners etc. all have loos available to the public.

However, many pubs and stores, particularly in the touristy areas, will not allow you to use the loos without purchasing something because they've gotten frustrated with loos being 'over-run' by tourists who use the facilities, but don't buy anything.

I think London has plenty more public loos, plus again all the museums and probably some in the Tube stations. In general, the situation is far better than in most US cities.


Posted by
389 posts

Hey Cat,
There are a number of public washrooms in London, but the lines were so long we stuck to places like museums (free entry & clean toilets!), fast food places, Starbucks and department stores (Marks & Spencer, Harrods are super nice!) You shouldn't have a problem, but do use when you see them as it may take you a few minutes to track the next one down.

Posted by
504 posts

In London (actually all over Europe) we would head into the larger business class hotels to use the facilities if we couldn't find one elsewhere. If there were no signs directing us, we would relax in the lobby seating area for a couple of minutes and then take turns with the first person asking if there was a restroom. We were never hassled.

Posted by
11503 posts

Second Franks post, NEVER pass a bathroom,seriously, I have used all tips listed, and still find bathrooms hard to find sometimes.
At some McDonalds( the one on the Champs Elysees) you need to buy something to get a receipt that has a bathroom code on it , you use the code to assess the toilet. We did not know this, but some kind person saw us trying to enter the door and gave us their code. Not all Mc Ds had this, but I imagine this one was so busy that they were trying to reduce the amount of walk in and use bathroom visitors. LOL

Posted by
3580 posts

Most trains and coaches (long-distance buses) have loos. McD's and other fast-food places have 'em. Often the loos in fast-food places are up a long flight of stairs, and sometimes they are locked. If you are desperate, go into a cafe and buy a coffee, then head for the loo. Pubs are also equiped with them. Almost anyplace that serves food should have restrooms, but the door may not be so marked. Look desperate and ask someone.

Posted by
658 posts

There are two ways to combat the small bladder problem and they can be used in almost every city in the world. You want a clean, functional rest room. You have two easy choices. First walk into the lobby of any up market hotel ( it's so nice to have a Concierge open a door for you when you absolutely have to pee ) use the rest room, freshen up a little and walk out. The second is to walk into any branch of McDonalds anywhere. The rest rooms are always clean. Another thing, and this may be unique to me, when you're in a foriegn city and you get diarrhoea for some reason A banana flavoured milk shake from McDonalds seems to bind the system faster and cheaper than any other remedy.

But actually you're not going to have a problem in London, Bath or Edinburgh - there are plenty of rest rooms. Just look for the signs pointing to 'Public Conveniences' and 'Public Toilets' and 'Ladies' and 'Gents' - once you know the language, you're safe.

Posted by
22976 posts

We have a standard operating policy when in Europe (including England). NEVER pass a loo !!!! You can never be sure when and where you will find the next one.

Posted by
8 posts

I have found WC generally easy to find all over europe, I also agree with the "never pass up a chance to use the wc" philosophy either. Nobody had mentioned but most of the WC in Europe have an attendant that you are expected to give a tip to or charge a fee, usually 50cents to use the WC. There may be an attendant or just a bowl to put your the change in.

Posted by
290 posts

Traveled all over Europe with friends with the very same issue. The best thing to do is to use the WC right before you leave any place you eat at. Also, all museums and galleries have WC to use. There are plenty of public WCs but I don't recommend using them as they can be very dirty. I've tried a few and even being very careful not to touch anything and use my own small travel toilet paper, the WC odor seemed to cling to my clothes. It was very unpleasant to smell it for the rest of the day and feel uncomfortable knowing that others may smell it too.

Posted by
1455 posts

I just got back from London and had no problem finding a toilet. There's so many big stores, and even coffee places Starbucks and Caffe Nero... you will be just fine.

There's also public toilets which you can pay 50p to 1pound, and they're clean and tidy.

Posted by
808 posts

Hey, Kim! Yeah, I know that quote! I clearly remember our 8th Grade teacher quoting that one on a class trip! She said in a rather raunchy phoney British accent "A LADY never passes up an OPPORTUNITY to PEE!" Now it's our motto!

Posted by
196 posts

Please note that the Loo's in UK are not only identified by WC-water closet, but also the good old word: TOILET.

Posted by
45 posts

Museums seem to have some of the best (or at least cleanest bathrooms) I remember seeing. Have to agree the nicer hotels worked well too. Then there's always McDonalds, just try not to go there when it's lunchtime or dinnertime or you'll be fighting crowds of kids, and especially teens, to get to the bathroom.