An accessible guide to kids’ attractions in London
24th February 2020
No matter whether you live in London or are enjoying a long weekend in the city, there are so many things grandparents can do with their grandchildren in the capital.
From world-class museums to top-class theatres, London has attractions that are open to everybody. Most of the best attractions are accessible so grandparents with mobility problems that need to use aids like stairlifts at home or mobility scooters when they are out can enjoy their day out with their grandchildren.
Read on to find out the most accessible attractions you can visit with your grandchildren.
The Science Museum
The Science Museum in London is the most visited science and technology museum in Europe and it should come as no surprise as the attraction is home to more than 15,000 objects.
Visitors can enjoy interactive galleries that bring science to life. Popular attractions include an experience that makes you feel like you are flying a Red Arrow or taking off in a rocket on a space mission.
Carrie-Ann Lightley, a disabled blogger and travel writer, highly recommends visiting the museum: “The Science Museum is full of fun, interactive experiences and has interesting exhibitions for all ages, each accessible to the widest range of visitors possible. Think full wheelchair accessibility, a large print accessibility map, Braille resources, events for deaf audiences and audio described events for partially sighted or blind visitors. Entry is free for all visitors. A limited number of adult and child wheelchairs are available and may either be booked in advance or borrowed on the day of your visit.”
ZSL London Zoo
ZSL London Zoo is packed full of wonder and you and your grandchildren can meet more than 750 species of animals as well as learn some fascinating facts about the residents of the zoo.
A spokesperson from London Zoo said that it is a great place to take your grandchildren: “ZSL London Zoo is a great place to visit with your grandchildren because it is an opportunity to spend quality time together whilst connecting with nature and marvelling at a whole range of animals such as Asiatic Lions, our male Sumatran Tiger, Asim, and our colony of Humboldt Penguins. Get up close and personal with ZSL London Zoo’s residents, nestled in leafy green Regent’s Park.
“As the oldest scientific zoo in the world, there is a wealth of history across the site, and stories that can be shared from your childhood, including the bear cub, Winniepeg, who was the inspiration behind the Winnie the Pooh books by AA Milnes.”
Visitors with mobility problems can visit the zoo safe in the knowledge that the vast majority of the site is accessible. There are 14 exhibits in the main zoo area, and 5 are accessed via tunnels and may be restricted (Into Africa, In with the Lemurs, Rainforest & Night Life and Happy Families) as the tunnels have steep inclines and declines on both sides.
The Land of Lions and Tiger Territory both have lifts, as well as ramped access. The reptile house is fully accessible apart from a small section at the back of the exhibit where there are a few steps. The wildlife garden and woodland walk paths are made of bark chippings and are therefore not suitable for wheelchairs.
The Making of Harry Potter
The Making of Harry Potter allows grandchildren and grandparents to walk in the footsteps of Harry Potter and to explore the wonders of the Wizarding World.
The tour takes groups into iconic sets from the film such as the Great Hall and Diagon Alley, it allows you to see props from the films, get a close-up view of the costumes from the film and discover how special and visual effects made Harry Potter and his friends fly.
The studio tour takes around three to four hours to complete and it is accessible to visitors with mobility problems as most sets have level access. Staff are also located throughout the tour and will assist anyone when necessary.
There are several manual wheelchairs available to borrow and staff will advise visitors who need to use a wheelchair which parts of the set that are difficult to access.
The London Eye
The London Eye offers you an eagle-eyed view of the city and its top attractions as you rotate over the River Thames during a half-hour ride.
At 135-metres tall, it is the world’s largest cantilevered observation wheel and since its opening in 2000, it has won more than 85 national and international awards.
In 2020 it is the attractions 20th birthday and throughout the year there will be a variety of events taking place, including firework displays and more.
The London Eye is fully accessible and up to two wheelchair users are allowed per capsule and eight in total at any one time.
The Lyceum Theatre
Dating back to 1765, the Lyceum Theatre has been the home to so many incredible performances and exhibitions during its rich history.
Back in 1860 in a stage adaptation of his novel A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens appeared on stage, while in the 1970s famous bands such as The Who, Led Zeppelin, U2, Bob Marley and The Police all performed.
After being a music venue from 1951 to 1986, The Lyceum was turned back into a theatrical venue when it reopened in 1996 and it has since become one of the best West End theatres in London.
Today it is home to Disney’s multi-award-winning musical The Lion King. Set against the Serengeti Plains and to the rhythms of Africa, the much-loved film has been transformed into one of the best theatrical shows you can experience, and it is something grandchildren up and down the UK have enjoyed.
The Lyceum Theatre has lifts to all levels and although there are no low counters for visitors in wheelchairs, the staff are able to take orders and will bring it to where you are seated. The Disney merchandise kiosks are fully accessible.
Visitors with mobility problems can take advantage of parking spaces for blue badge holders and there are car parks in Chinatown and Leicester Square that are also close-by.
Madame Tussauds London
Join Hollywood A-Listers old and new at an exclusive party, rub shoulders with music stars from The Beatles to Beyoncé, join the Royal Family in the most regal of settings, hail a London cab for a journey through 400 years of the capital’s history then step into a galaxy far, far away with the greats of the Star Wars universe. You can even stop off for a cup of tea with the Queen in Madame Tussauds London’s Royal Tea experience!
Speaking about why the London attraction should be a must-visit, a spokesperson said: “Madame Tussauds London is the home of famous fun in the capital and fun has no age limits! Through a combination of our historic artistic methods (which date back centuries, by the way!), immersive sets and pioneering modern tech – guests can experience fame and get closer to the action like never before.”
Madame Tussauds London is very accessible with its team receiving training on accessibility and lots of seated areas available. Guests are also welcome to bring folding/ portable seating with them if required.
Considering the age of the building (Madame Tussauds has been located here for over 100 years), certain restrictions mean that wheelchair users take a slightly different route through the attraction at certain points, but don’t worry - you’ll still be able to see it all. The attraction does work to a maximum of three wheelchair users in the building at any one time and there are wheelchairs available to use at the site. Wheelchair users must notify the attraction ahead of their visit by visiting the ‘Plan Your Visit’ section of the website.
The Spirit of London ride can be temporarily stopped to help less-mobile guests to board; however, it does require guests to walk up to 40 steps unaided on a gradient so isn't suitable for those with severe mobility issues. As part of an exciting new project to bring the ride to those that can’t board it, Madame Tussauds is working on offering VR.
The best and most accessible attractions in London for kids
London is home to lots of attractions that are perfect for children and here is a recap of some of the best ones you can visit if you have mobility problems:
- The Science Museum
- ZSL London Zoo
- The Making of Harry Potter
- The London Eye
- The Lyceum Theatre
- Madame Tussauds London
This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.