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Guide to Britain for disabled travellers

A guide to Britain for disabled travellers



Getting to and from the airport 

Heathrow 

green-tick Ramps for wheelchair access
green-tick Wide paths
green-tick Disabled toilets
green-tick Disabled seating in check-in areas

Train

Both Heathrow and Paddington stations are step-free between the train and the platform.Heathrow Express trains are accessible for wheelchair users.

Bus

National Express buses from Heathrow are able to carry wheelchairs weighing up to 23kg. They must be stowed in the cargo hold.

Tube

At Heathrow Terminals 123 and Terminal 4 tube stations there is step-free from the train to platforms and ticket offices. There is a lift to the airport. Staff help is available on request. 

Heathrow Terminal 5 tube station has no step-free access, but staff can offer help to passengers where possible. See Getting around in London  below for more information about travelling by tube.

Gatwick

green-tick Ramps for wheelchair access
green-tick Wide paths
green-tick Disabled toilets
green-tick Disabled seating in check-in areas

Train

Gatwick Airport train station has step-free access and a ramp to help you board the train. Gatwick Express staff can offer help if you speak to them at the station, or contact them in advance.

Bus

National Express buses from Gatwick can carry wheelchairs weighing up to 23kg. They must be stowed in the cargo hold.

Stansted

green-tick Easy wheelchair access
green-tick Disabled toilets
green-tick Disabled seating throughout the airport
green-tick Low-level information monitors

Train

Stansted Airport train station has step-free access and a ramp to help you board the train.   If you know when you will be travelling, you are advised to contact the station in advance to discuss assistance.

Bus

National Express buses from Stansted are able to carry wheelchairs weighing up to 23kg. They must be stowed in the cargo hold.

Luton

green-tick Wheelchairs available to borrow
green-tick Disabled toilets
green-tick Assistance boarding and leaving the plane

Train

Luton Airport Parkway train station has step-free access with lifts and escalators from street level to all platforms.

You should contact the station in advance if you think you will need staff assistance boarding a train. 

Bus

National Express buses from Luton are able to carry wheelchairs weighing up to 23kg. They must be stowed in the cargo hold.



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Getting around in London 

The London Underground

London Underground (Tube)

  • All tube stations have an extra-wide entrance barrier so passengers in wheelchairs can get through.
  • Many of London's biggest tube stations are completely step-free, including Kings Cross, Heathrow Terminals 123, London Bridge, Wembley Park, Green Park and Stratford. See a full list of step-free stations here.
  • There are ramps to help wheelchair users to get on the tube at 16 stations including Earl’s Court, Oxford Circus, King’s Cross and Westminster
  • All London Underground staff can assist customers with disabilities, if you need help you can just approach them when you arrive at a station. 
  • To travel on the Tube, you will need a ticket - there is no discount available if you do not live in Britain. The easiest way to travel is with either a Travelcard or a Visitor Oyster Card.
A London Bus

Bus

  • Every London bus can carry wheelchairs as big as 70cm x 120cm.
  • All London bus routes apart from 9 and 15 can be lowered to pavement level to allow disabled customers to easily get on.
  • All buses have an easy access ramp, which can be used by wheelchair users to get on
  • You can travel on London buses for free if you are a wheelchair user, but everyone travelling with you needs a ticket.

Black taxis in London

Taxi

  • All licenced taxis (black cabs) in London are accessible for wheelchairs.
  • By UK law, all taxis and private hire vehicles have to let you travel with your guide dog or other assistance dog.
  • Minicabs must be booked in advance. Accessibility can vary so check in advance or when booking
  • TheLondon Taxi website offers more detailed information on taxi travel around London.

Docklands Light Railway

London Overground and Docklands Light Railway (DLR)

  • All stations on the Docklands Light Railway have level access between the platform and the train.
  • 38 stations on London Overground are step-free from the street to the platform
  • Every London Overground train has designated spaces for wheelchair users, and priority seats
  • If you know where you will be travelling, you can contact the station 24 hours in advance and explain what your needs are, to make sure they are able to help you. However, staff will do their best to help you whether you have booked or not.
  • See more information about the accessibility of  London Overground services.

General London travel tips

  • Assistance dogs are welcome on all public transport in London, as long as they do not block exits and entrances for other passengers.
  • To plan your journey on London transport, pick up a tube map from any station once you're in London, or view it online. Stations with step-free access to platforms are marked with a white symbol, and stations with completely level access onto the tube are marked with a blue symbol.
  • Transport for London’s online Journey Planner also provides an option for planning step-free route
  • More detailed guides, including a guide to avoiding stairs, are also available online, as are video guides to using tubes, buses, trains and taxis in London.
  • If you have a Blue Badge and are driving in London, you can register so that you do not have to pay the Congestion Charge. More information here

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Getting around in Britain 
A coach bus on the country side

By train

  • Step-free access is available at many major train stations around Britain. 
  • If you know which station/s you will be travelling to, you can search on nationalrail.co.uk for detailed information about their accessibility.
  • This map shows which of the biggest train stations have step-free access.
  • The Disability Onboard website has trips and information about travelling on trains in Britain for disabled customers.
  • Britain's train travel discount scheme for disabled passengers is only available to people who permanently live in England, Scotland or Wales. However, if you are a wheelchair user or are visually impaired, you may be able to get some discounts on train tickets when you buy them at a train station ticket office. There is more information here.
  • Also consider a BritRail Pass, a pass for unlimited train travel in Britain that's only available to visitors from overseas. It can work out much cheaper than buying inpidual tickets, depending on how much you'll be travelling.

Local buses, taxis and car hire

  • By law, all buses in Britain will have to be wheelchair-accessible by 2017.
  • Right now accessibility varies depending on the area you’re visiting and the type of buses they have. Over 60% of buses in England are already wheelchair accessible (as of December 2013).
  • Transportdirect.info can help you plan a journey around Britain depending on your needs.
  • By law, taxis have to accept passengers in wheelchairs and assistance dogs whenever they can. They legally cannot charge you more than any other customer.  
  • Wheelchair-travel.co.uk has information about hiring an accessible car on your holiday
  • If you are travelling from Europe and have a Blue Badge, you are allowed to park in disabled parking spaces in Britain.
  • You may also be able to park for free or for a discount in some car parks, or to park on roads that do not usually allow parking.
  • The FIA Disabled Travellers website has more information about how you can use your Blue Badge.

By bus / coach

  • National Express buses can carry wheelchairs weighing up to 23kg. They must be stowed in the cargo hold.
  • There is priority seating at the front of the vehicles reserved for customers who might have difficulty getting on or off.
  • Drivers will be happy to load your luggage onto the coach if you are unable to do so yourself.
  • You should contact National Express at least 24 hours before you travel if you want to take a wheelchair with you, or need staff to assist you in any way.
  • More information is available here.

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Visiting Britain's top attractions

What do I need?

  • In order to visit attractions with a disabled ticket, or get a free ticket for a carer, you should carry an ID card (such as a disability card) with you, as you may be asked to show it to a member of staff
  • If your card is not in English, you should also carry an English translation with you
  • You can usually get an English translation from your local town hall

londoneye

The London Eye

  • Wheelchair access 
  • Accessible toilets
  • Carer enters for free with a disabled visitor
  • Disabled visitors can buy discounted London Eye tickets from our shop

shard

The View from the Shard

  • Wheelchair access 
  • Accessible toilets
  • There is no discount, but a carer enters for free with a disabled visitor with a standard Shard ticket from our shop.

tower-of-london

Tower of London

  • Wheelchair access. A step-free route through the tower has been designed for disabled guests.
  • Accessible toilets
  • Carer enters for free with a disabled visitor
  • Disabled visitors can buy discounted Tower of London tickets from our shop

madametussauds

Madame Tussauds

  • Wheelchair access to exhibition. However, there are restrictions on how many wheelchair users can visit at once - so you should contact Madame Tussauds once you buy your tickets to book a slot.
  • Accessible toilets
  • There is no discount, but a carer enters with you for free with disabled Madame Tussauds tickets bought from our shop
  • For safety reasons, the Spirit of London ride isn't wheelchair-accessible 

windsorcastle

Windsor Castle

  • Wheelchair access to castle 
  • Accessible toilets
  • There is no discount, but a carer enters for free with a disabled visitor with standard Windsor Castle tickets from our shop
  • Some areas have steps, including the chapel and Queen Mary's Dolls' House

dungeon

The London Dungeon

  • Wheelchair access to exhibition. However, there are restrictions on how many wheelchair users can visit at once - so you should contact The London Dungeon before your visit to book a slot.
  • Accessible toilets
  • A carer enters for free with a disabled visitor
  • Disabled visitors can buy discounted London Dungeon tickets from our shop.

harry potter

The Harry Potter Studio Tour

  • Wheelchairs can be taken on the bus; they must be put into the luggage area
  • There is wheelchair access to studio tour
  • There are a few steps to board the bus 
  • When you get your confirmation email, you should contact Golden Tours to tell them you will be visiting

warwickcastle

Warwick Castle

  • Wheelchair access to gardens
  • Accessible toilets
  • Disabled visitors and carers can get a discount - contact the Castle directly to book discounted tickets
  • The castle itself has limited disabled access. There are some steps and narrow doorways
  • The Dragon Tower isn't wheelchair-accessible

kensingtonpalace

Kensington Palace

  • Wheelchair access to palace
  • Accessible toilets
  • Wheelchairs can be borrowed
  • There is no discount, but a carer enters for free with a disabled visitor with a standard Kensington Palace ticket from our shop


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Visiting National Trust properties 

With a National Trust Touring Pass you can visit over 300 stately homes, gardens and castles in England and Wales.

How accessible are National Trust properties?

green-tick Most properties are suitable for wheelchair users and disabled customers 

green-tick A carer can enter National Trust properties for free when accompanying a wheelchair user

green-tick Assistance dogs are welcome in all of the properties

  • Many properties have wheelchairs that can be borrowed on your visit, but this varies by location 
  • It may be easiest to contact the properties in advance if you know which you will be visiting
  • To use disabled parking spaces, you must display a relevant Parking Card, marked with the international wheelchair symbol
  • You can look up any inpidual place in more detail here including information about accessible toilets, and parking
stourhead Fountain's Abbey, North Yorkshire

Some of the most popular places to visit with the Pass are:


Stourhead, Wiltshire

A beautiful fairytale garden with Greek-style temples, a serene lake, and colourful landscaped woodland.

Parking
green-tick Parking is free for Touring Pass holders
green-tick Disabled parking spaces available
green-tick A wheelchair-accessible transfer from the car park to the park runs between March and October 

The attraction
green-tick There is an accessible route map for exploring the gardens
green-tick The garden path is 1.25 miles in total. Mostly level with a few steep slopes
green-tick Wheelchairs can be hired, but you should book one in advance

Fountain's Abbey, North Yorkshire

Britain’s largest ruined monastry, set in acres of beautiful parkland. It dates back to 1132, and is an UNESCO World Heritage site.

Parking
green-tick Parking is free for Touring Pass holders

The attraction
green-tick There are routes around the estate to make wheelchair access as easy as possible
green-tick There is a special transfer vehicle to take you from the visitor centre to many areas in the park
green-tick Wheelchairs can be hired, but you should book one in advance

Petworth, Sussex

A stunning country house with a world-famous art collection, a room carved entirely from wood, and fascinating historic collections.

Parking
green-tick Parking is free for Touring Pass holders
green-tick Disabled parking spaces available in a separate car park. The other, main car park is quite far away and has a steep sloped path to the house
green-tick There is a wheelchair-accessible shuttle service from the main car park to the house

The attraction
green-tick There are ramps up to the ground floor of the house. Other floors and the chapel have a few steps
green-tick There are two accessible toilets in the house
green-tick The surrounding park has a few slopes, and is partially wheelchair-accessible


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Visiting English Heritage properties 

An English Heritage Pass lets you visit over 100 of the most important places in English history: castles, abbeys, Roman ruins and prehistoric monuments. 

How accessible are English Heritage properties?

green-tick English Heritage are working on improvements to make sure properties are suitable for wheelchair users and disabled customers wherever possible

green-tick Assistance dogs are welcome in all of the properties

  •  Many properties have wheelchairs that can be borrowed on your visit, but this varies by location
  •  It may be easiest to contact the properties in advance if you know which you will be visiting
  • To use disabled parking spaces or get reduced parking prices, you must display a relevant Parking Card, marked with the international wheelchair symbol 
  • You can look up any individual place in more detail here including information about accessible toilets, and parking
Stonehenge Kenwood House

Some of the most popular places to visit with the Pass are:


Stonehenge, Wiltshire

A world-famous prehistoric monument with thousands of years of  secrets to explore.

Parking

green-tick Disabled parking spaces are available

The attraction

green-tick Wheelchair-accessible shuttle bus from Visitor Centre to the Stonehenge monument available
green-tick The stone circle of the monument is wheelchair-accessible, depending on weather
green-tick Wheelchairs can be hired, but you should book one in advance
green-tick There are accessible toilets at the Visitor Center


Kenwood House, London

This beautiful and unique stately home is an oasis of calm in the heart of bustling north London.

Parking

green-tick Disabled parking spaces are available
green-tick Wheelchair-accessible transfer from car park to house is available

The attraction

green-tick Wheelchair access to ground floor
There are stairs to upper levels. There are handrails, and assistance is available
Some paths in surrounding gardens may be unsuitable for wheelchairs


Dover Castle, Kent

A majestic medieval castle; one of the most historically important in Britain, and less than 2 hours away from London.

Parking

green-tick Separate car park for disabled visitors, with easy access
green-tick A wheelchair-accessible shuttle runs between car park and castle

The attraction
green-tick Ground floors are wheelchair-accessible
green-tick Mobility scooters can be borrowed; book in advance
green-tick There are accessible toilets
There is some restricted access to upper levels of castle and towers


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Useful links 

Disabledholidays.com - Information about accessible holiday accommodation 

Disabledholidayinfo.org.uk - Guides to help you plan and find suitable accommodation, including a UK-wide accommodation search

Disabledgo.com - A guide on accessible accommodation, and leisure activities including restaurants, hotels, libraries and more

Accessibleguide.co.uk - This guide provides lots of additional links to helpful resources

Tourismforall.org.uk - A nationwide charity with information about where to stay, visit, eat and drink in Britain 


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