The capital city is a huge cosmopolitan metropolis with every conceivable form of entertainment. It plays host to some of the UK’s biggest attractions not only for domestic tourists but also for international visitors.
Here we look at the top 10 mobility scooter accessible attractions in London
Briefly outlining what the attraction has to offer, how to get there from Euston station and what sort of access issues to expect. As there isn’t space to go into every detail, it’s worth noting that all public places are expected to make provisions for those with disabilities and to provide full details of those provisions on request. Inevitably, this list will miss out somebody’s favourite London attraction since there are many more than ten mobility scooter accessible tourist hotspots in this incredible city.
ZSL London Zoo
The Zoological Society of London was founded in 1826 aiming to create a collection of animals for study. Members of the public were later admitted, to raise money for research. London Zoo welcomes over one million visitors annually and houses over 20,000 animals of some 700 species. Although the entrance to the zoo is about a mile and a half from Euston station, we would recommend you plan your visit to allow for a leisurely stroll/scoot along Drummond Street to Regent’s Park and follow ‘Outer Circle’ to the zoo entrance. Otherwise, there is the Northern Line tube or various buses to Camden Town, but they won’t save much of the walk. Every effort has been made to ensure accessibility for disabled visitors including those in wheelchairs and mobility scooters. However, due to the age of the zoo and there being twelve listed buildings, some areas cannot be made accessible and some enclosures have limited visibility.
Kensington Palace in Kensington Gardens has been a Royal residence since the 17th century, and although still the official London home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the State Rooms are open to the public, with many paintings and other objects from the Royal Collection on display. The easiest way to get here is by tube, although not all stations are mobility scooter accessible, so you will need to take the Circle or Hammersmith & City lines to Paddington and then head south to enter the park where Kensington Gardens meets Hyde Park and head south-west on Budge’s Walk making the most of the gardens. Every effort is made to accommodate visitors with all disabilities and there is level access and lifts to all public floors. If you have children in tow, the Diana Memorial Playground is nearby and a little further away in Hyde Park is the Memorial Fountain.
St Paul’s Cathedral
One of London’s most iconic buildings; designed by Sir Christopher Wren after the Great Fire of London and completed in 1711. Described at the time as “most awful and artificial” both words were high praise at the time. 1.5 million visitors a year pay to visit, although you can attend services free this only gives access to the main church. The main areas are mobility scooter accessible (maximum lift length 1.4m which will rule out most class 3 scooters) however there is no lift access to the Whispering Gallery (257 steps), Stone Gallery (additional 119 steps) and Golden Gallery (additional 152 steps). There are multiple options for getting there from Euston. The 59, 68 and 168 go from Eversholt Street to Aldwych, then the 4, 15 and others go along Fleet Street. Alternatively, take the Northern Line ‘Bank branch’ and it’s a short walk from Bank station.
One of three major national museums on Exhibition Road, along with the Natural History and V&A, all of which are free (donations welcomed) except for special exhibits. It receives over three million visitors per annum there to enjoy its huge range of science-based galleries. The interactive galleries for children are particularly popular. Getting there from Euston, take the Victoria line to Green Park and change to the Piccadilly line to South Kensington, or a simpler but longer journey is the number 10 bus from Upper Woburn Place to Exhibition Road. With some mobility scooter accessible London attractions there are limitations due to the age of the building, but in the science museum there are lifts to all floors and all types of mobility scooter have full access including the largest class 3 scooters.
National Portrait Gallery
Over six million people pass through the pleasantly understated neoclassical portico of the National Gallery every year to see a renowned collection of paintings by some of the most famous names in art history. It sits on a now pedestrianised side of Trafalgar Square and the 24 or 29 from Gower Street will take you to St Martin’s in the Field. The front entrance has steps and cannot be adapted as it is a Grade I listed building, but there are four level access points and lifts inside.
One of the most famous landmarks in the city which only opened for passengers in 2000 affords spectacular views of all the other landmarks and more as you enjoy a genteel ride above the River Thames in the heart of London. Get there on the 168 bus from Eversholt Street to Waterloo Bridge and enjoy a short scoot along the Thames embankment. It is an unusual attraction because once inside you stay still while it moves. As such, access is unlikely to be a problem unless your vehicle is over 94cm (37”) wide. It is highly advisable to book in advance to avoid disappointment, especially at busy times.
Hardly anybody visits London without at least looking at Buckingham Palace from the outside, but for several years now it has been possible to visit the State Rooms, the Queen’s Gallery and the Royal Mews and view the collections held in trust by the Crown. Get there on the Victoria Line to Green Park Station, and then a ten-minute walk/scoot through Green Park itself. Mobility scooters are welcome inside the Palace providing they fit in the lifts, the smaller of the two being 148cm deep, 94 cm wide, weight limit of 500kg.
Housed in the former Bankside Power Station the Tate Modern houses artworks from 1900 to the present and is one of the largest contemporary galleries in the world. As with all national art galleries, entry is free and nearly 6 million visitors take advantage of this annually to see art from the likes of Picasso, Hockney and Damien Hurst. Southwark tube station on the Jubilee Line has step-free access, the 45 and 63 buses go from King’s Cross to Blackfriars Station, but if you combine this with St Paul’s Cathedral (see above) it is a 10-minute walk/scoot across the Millennium Bridge. Mobility scooters are welcome, and they have wheelchairs and scooters to borrow with advance notice.
With 330 acres of landscaped gardens housing many Grade-I and Grade-II listed buildings including the famous glasshouses, Kew is a jewel in the crown of London attractions. Housing some 30,000 different living plants and a huge herbarium and library, this World Heritage site receives almost 2 million visitors per annum. Take the Circle or Hammersmith & City changing at Hammersmith to the District Line. Kew Gardens Station has limited step-free access but a lengthy street detour to get to the right side of the track on arrival. The gardens are mainly flat with tarmac paths and ramped access to most buildings. But there are some areas and buildings which cannot be made accessible. Don’t let that put you off though.
The hugely popular dungeons depict every gory and grimy aspect of London history using a mixture of live actors, animatronics, special effects and rides with the emphasis being shifted more towards entertainment than education. Housed in the old Greater London Council County Hall along with other Merlin attractions such as the London Aquarium. Being next to the London Eye the same directions apply. As to accessibility, this is one of the more limited of those mentioned here, so make sure you inquire ahead of any visit. Although the venue is wheelchair accessible, they can only admit one wheelchair per hour (at a quarter past each hour) there is no mention of mobility scooters and they do not have wheelchairs available to borrow on site.