London 180In this guest blog, Amy Clarke, who has a learning disability, gives a run-down of some of her favourite places to visit in London that are accessible to people with disabilities:

I live in London and I’m always amazed by how many different places there are for people to visit here in the capital. It is important for leisure facilities to ensure they are accessible to people with a disability. I always keep an eye out for whether places have a Changing Places toilet – an accessible toilet for disabled people – or what the staff’s attitudes are like to people with a learning disability.

As the festive season approaches, I’ve put together some of my favourite places to visit in the capital:
The London Transport Museum is in Covent Garden and tells you about the story of London and its transport system over the past 200 years. They have full wheelchair access, with lifts to every floor and accessible toilets on the ground floor. Adult tickets cost £16 and concessions cost £13.50, which gives you a ticket for the whole year, although I think that going once a year is probably enough. The great thing is children and young people under 18 go free.

London Zoo is another great place to spend the day. My brother was lucky enough to be a zookeeper for the day and got to spend time with the lions! The accessibility is really good and there are plenty of different displays to keep everybody entertained. I can’t give my opinion on the bug display, I’m afraid, as I didn’t have enough time to go in – nothing to do with the fact that I can’t stand spiders!

I have had a National Trust membership in the past and I think it is a great way to save money. They have lots of different places that you can visit and you can check their disability access policy before you visit. It’s always a good idea to check the website of the place you are visiting before going on a day out. It’s much easier to make a phone call than make a journey all the way there before finding out that somewhere doesn’t provide the level of accessibility that you need.

The Museum of London is just that – a museum about the history of London from Roman times to now. It’s been around since I was a kid, although until last week I hadn’t visited it since 1987. It’s a very accessible place with a lot of lifts and accessible loos too. It had films about episodes in London’s history like the plague and the Great Fire of London, for example. I thought it was an interesting place but perhaps more suitable for children over the age of 10 who can pay a bit more attention to things.

Finally, it’s worth remembering that food prices in all of these places can be quite expensive. I know many people with a learning disability are on low incomes and so this can make a day out very expensive. So it’s a good idea to try and find out what extra costs there are once you get to venues so you don’t get any surprises, because they don’t always have this on their websites.

It is important that everybody has the opportunity to go on days out and I hope that everybody has a really great half-term week and a happy Halloween!