Thanks to the forward thinking work on accessibility by a series of London Mayors in conjunction with Transport for London and medicines usa key tourist sites, London has become one of Europe’s most accessible cities.
It is also one of the most popular destinations amongst our clients, both from the United Kingdom and the rest of the world. The accessibility of the city means it is a destination we are always happy to recommend to mobility impaired travellers looking for disabled access holidays.
Visiting London as a Visually Impaired Tourist
One of the things I am often asked about by clients is whether London is difficult to navigate for those with visual impairments. So here I have put together my ‘top tips’ for visitors to the city who are visually impaired.
1. Make Use of the Audio Guides on the Tube
When we arrange disabled access holidays to London we are more than happy to organise transport as part of the package. But sometimes our clients like to travel under their own steam, so I always advise those with visual impairments to take advantage of the help that is readily available on the London Underground.
There are a number of audio guides for travellers using the Tube. The first is an audio Tube map, which is available from the customer service desk or ticket office.
Once you get on, it is easy to keep track of your journey, thanks to the clear audio announcements on the platforms and the announcements detailing which station you are approaching and arriving at when you are on the train.
If you are in any doubt, or if you’re experiencing any problems, my advice is always to ask a member of staff. All the Underground staff are trained in disability equality and will be happy to assist you with your journey.
2. Listen Out for the iBus Announcements
All of London’s 8,000 buses are now equipped with an iBus system which announces to passengers where on the route they are and, in Central London, which important tourist attractions are nearby.
While we at Can Be Done are happy to organise taxis with audio equipment for tours and excursions for our clients, the bus can provide a good alternative when you want the freedom to take short journeys around the city centre.
3. Let Us Arrange Journeys in a Black Cab For You
One of the easiest ways to get around London is in a black cab. We can organise a London Taxi to pick you up from your hotel and take you to any of the key landmarks, galleries, restaurants or shops you want to visit – and pick you up again at an agreed time.
4. Look for the ‘Cone’ at Pedestrian Crossings
Crossing London streets can be intimidating at the best of times, so make use of the cones located beneath the control box at pedestrian crossings. By feeling under the box (where the button to cross is located) you’ll discover a small cone which will be stationary when it is not safe to cross, but will begin to spin when the light changes.
5. Let Us Choose an Accessible Hotel For You
At Can Be Done we have 30 years of experience in organising holidays specifically designed for the special needs of our clients. All of the hotels we recommend have been personally checked over by me or my team so we know that it will be right for our clients. There are a number of hotels in London which are particularly suited to people with visual impairments including:
- Amba Marble Arch
A fantastic, accessible hotel close to the shops and tourist attractions around Oxford Street. Facilities for the visually impaired include Braille descriptions, alarm cords and accessible rooms and bathrooms. There is also a bar and restaurant onsite if you don’t fancy facing the crowds.
- Novotel Blackfriars
This is a fully accessible hotel in the heart of London with a lift so that guests can avoid staircases, as well as its own fitness centre, sauna and bar.
- The Royal Horseguards
Set close to Victoria Embankment and overlooking the London Eye, the Royal Horseguards is a spectacular property with elegant proportions. The spacious accommodation makes it easier for those with visual impairments to navigate. And the onsite restaurant is delicious too!
With so much help on hand to aid your way around this glorious city, London really offers the ultimate experience in disabled access holidays. Let us organise your trip to the city and we will create a city break perfectly suited to your needs.