London, United Kingdom

Share on social media

London is a world tourist destination. The city has a mix of old and new infrastructure. This presents a challenge that all historic cities face when addressing accessibility, investing in changes while maintaining a ‘sense of place’ and identity.

"London from a hot air balloon" by Daniel Chapma - Flickr. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons. Photo: "London from a hot air balloon" by Daniel Chapma - Flickr. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons

London has a policy of inclusive design for the benefit of both residents and visitors to ensure that as many as possible can enjoy the city. New  build  can  incorporate  accessibility  from  the  outset,  however  it becomes more costly to change a public realm, much of which was developed in the nineteenth century.  This requires long term investment, which London has  made  and  continues  to  make,  as  it  undertakes  a  programme  of  change that takes it into the future.  The Mayor of London champions accessibility and supports changes through a framework of policy and strategy that the Greater London Authority has developed.

The  2012  Olympic  and  Paralympic  Games  proved  a  catalyst  for  some accelerated   change   and   investment   to   make   London   more   accessible, with the eyes of the world watching.  This brought many benefits for the  provision  across  the  supply  chain  with  improvement  in:  information, the public realm, transport and accommodation.  This has provided a legacy that London  can  build upon.  

Disabled  people believe that overall  there  is  better accessibility  in  the  supply  chain  and  the  visitor  experience  in  London. They also  believe though that  more  still  needs  to  done,  as  London  has  not  yet reached  its  goal  of  being  fully  accessible.

Information  about  accessibility needs to be collated and marketed better. Improving the basic facilities like wheelchair access and  accessible  toilets  have  to  be  pushed  harder. The  transport  programme continues to make more of the old tube system accessible. More needs to be done  to  ensure  that  London's Boroughs  work  more  closely  together  to  ensure  a  more homogenous public realm.  There also needs to be greater engagement with small  and  medium  enterprises  to  ensure  they  improve  their  accessibility.  
There is  also a requirement  for getting disabled people to work with organisations, not  just  to  help  get  it  right  but  to  lose  historical  mistrust  and doubt about the next 'accessibility solution'.

Download the London Accessible Tourism Case Study in PDF format, produced by ENAT and Partners for the European Commission (2015).