Reply To: query about getting around London and transport

  • Josh Grisdale

    January 19, 2020 at 10:47 am

    I asked around and got the following suggestion from a kind soul on Quora:

    Use Plan a journey (

    This, is a complete godsend with many different options for accessibility. And is particularly helpful on the fly.

    I would suggest a couple of caveats:

    If you are changing forms of transport at a station, check that the proposed exit is accessible. I came across this with Waterloo during my last London trip. Coaches into Victoria and anything else away from Victoria is particularly difficult as well (the best way is to ask a staff member to let you on to the Gatwick express platform, and use that lift to get down to Victoria train station. They won’t charge if you’re just using it for the lift.)

    The other thing to bear in mind is the “Maximum walking distance” option. If you are changing bus stops that are classified as the same station (Getting off at stop A then boarding the next bus at stop C, for instance) it does not include the distance between the stops. Even if that distance is upwards of a quarter of a mile!! So be sure to check out that. Google maps should give you the route between the stops if you enter the stop name and letter (ie Oxford Street stop BC) in the start and finish points.

    I would also recommend printing the most important routes (hotel-station and back, at the very least).

    You can get the accessibility information for each station from the travel planner as well as individually elsewhere on the tfl website. Check the travel planner “alerts” before you go to each station because they often contain information about broken lifts and escalators.

    If using national rail services, especially if using a smaller station even if accessible, try to book any assistance in advance. They say a few hours but I’ve frequently booked with less (even when the advised notice was 24h) and they will do their best to accommodate you. A big benefit of this is, if they are unable to carry you because of your disability & unexpected circumstances like cancellations making the trains too packed, is that they ought to make alternative arrangements. Even if that’s a taxi – on their dime!

    Finally, avoid rush hour! It is difficult for an able bodied tourist but essentially impossible to navigate with a stick. But also don’t be afraid to ask people for directions. Some will be a bit short with you but if in a station the staff are almost always angels! Most people will do their best to help but they won’t be aware of the accessibility situation either.

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