London, the United Kingdom’s capital. The largest city in the UK covering 607 square miles and home to 8.63 million people and seeped in attractions and great things to see – there is never a dull moment. With its bustling city streets London is the home of many of the UK’s major attractions such as Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, the O2 Dome, London Eye, Nelson’s Column, the London Underground, Tower Bridge, The Natural History Museum, St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Palace of Westminster to name but a few.
Here are some recommendations for you to do if you are visiting London with a child who is visually impaired to ensure you have a fun, inclusive and accessible visit:
Imperial War Museum London, tells the stories of people’s experiences of modern war from WW1 to conflicts today. Open from 10am – 6pm, admission into the museum is free. Guide and assistance dogs welcome in the museum, large print guides and ebooks can be offered for certain exhibits, audio descriptive headsets and descriptive tours when booked in advance.
“My daughters who are visually impaired like the imperial war museum – audio description headphones were provided and they didn’t mind them touching things as long as they were careful.”
The Science Museum London, striving to be the best place in the world for people to enjoy science, the Science Museum’s world-class collection forms an enduring record of scientific, technological and medical achievements from across the globe. The Science Museum is part of the Science Museum Group, a family of museums that also includes The Railway Museum, Museum of Science and Industry and National Media Museum. Admission is free (some additional costs for certain exhibits), please check the website for opening times as they can vary. The Science Museum has a number of interactive galleries where visitors are encouraged to interact with the exhibits through vision, sound and cognitive ability. Most of these areas are staffed by ‘Explainers’ – their professional science communicators who provide personal guidance, explanations and demonstrations on gallery.
“The Science Museum is great as they have always allocated someone to come round with us and show my son the interactive displays.”
The London Transport Museum or LT Museum based in Covent Garden, London, seeks to conserve and explain the transport heritage of Britain’s capital city. Large print Highlights Tours are available on request from the ticket desk and the information desk on the first floor. Magnifiers are also available on request. Assistance dogs are welcome, and water bowls are available on request, from the ticket desk. Described Tour for Blind and Partially Sighted Visitors. Booking is essential for these occasional events as tickets will not be available on the day. To find out about the next event please see their Events Calendar or contact their bookings team on +44 (0)20 7565 7298.
“The London Transport museum in Covent Garden is popular with my visually impaired son. We have clambered under a few ropes there but they were okay with this as long as we were careful.”
The British Museum – Large Egyptian Sculptures. Large-scale sculpture was an important feature of the great temples and tombs of ancient Egypt and was believed to be imbued with powerful spiritual qualities. Sculptures on display in Room 4 include stylised depictions of kings, deities and symbolic objects ranging from the time of the Old Kingdom to the middle of the Roman Period. There are also architectural pieces from temples and tombs. Admission to the gallery is free. Audio description and accessible guide available on request.
“I did the self guided touch tour in the large Egyptian sculpture gallery with my 9 year old son at the British Museum. You pick up up badges, so staff know you have permission to touch the exhibits, and a large print or braille guide to the 9 objects. My son liked the giant fist and scarab.”
The Tower of London – There are so many things here to see and do. The Crown Jewels, White Tower, Yeoman Warders, The ravens, Armoury in Action, Tower torture, Coins and Kings, Royal Beasts,The Fusilier Museum, Tower Green and Scaffold Site, Line of Kings, Fortress, Medieval Palace and Wall Walk. It will take a while to get around it all, click here for a helpful guide which considers the amount of time you may have to look around. There is a tour offered especially for blind and partially sighted visitors. The new tour guides you round the Tower visiting some of the key areas including Traitors’ Gate and the Bloody Tower. It gives you the chance to try on a helmet and handle chain mail as well as hear about the defence of the Tower. It also provides an opportunity to learn more about the prisoners who were held in this great fortress whilst exploring the graffiti they left in the Beauchamp Tower.
“I telephoned the Tower of London and explained that we were coming with two VI children etc. They were absolutely amazing. Gave us greatly discounted tickets, met us at the gate so we didn’t have to queue. Let us go behind the barriers in the Jewel House and gave us a touch guide book of what all the Crown Jewels looked like and then we had a guided tour of other areas on show. Could even sit on the canons! Amazing treatment. Phone first though, they have a dedicated disability team.”
Kidzania – Have your kids ever dreamt of becoming a pilot, a firefighter, or the next award-winning singer? Watch the excitement on their faces as they choose which activities they wish to try out of more than 60 real life role-play activities in the bank, on stage or fighting crime on the streets as a police officer! Each role-play experience is crafted to teach kids essential life skills including financial literacy, team work and independence. Service animals (Registered guide dogs, hearing dogs and medical alert dogs) are welcome around KidZania, however due to health and safety reasons, there are selected activities where they will not be permitted. Designed to empower kids, KidZania gives them the confidence to challenge themselves and inspire them to explore the world of opportunities. KidZania is a real life role play experience for 4-14 year olds, blending learning and reality with entertainment.
“Kidzania is fab too. Very interactive, ideal for a visually impaired child.”
- Chessington World of Adventures Resort
- Coca-Cola London Eye
- The London Dungeon
- LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort
- Madame Tussauds London
- SEA LIFE London Aquarium
- SEA LIFE Brighton
- THORPE PARK
- Dreamworks Tours Shrek’s Adventure! London
If you visit any of the above Merlin attractions and contact them in advance you can request disabled entrance fees and fast track queuing. This varies from attraction to attraction so please be sure to contact them in advance.
The Natural History Museum in London is a museum of natural history that exhibits a vast range of specimens from various segments of natural history. It is one of three major museums on Exhibition Road in South Kensington, the others being the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum. The Natural History Museum’s main frontage, however, is on Cromwell Road. There are audio descriptive guides available for Images of Nature, the Human Evolution gallery, and the Volcanoes and Earthquakes gallery. Tactile and Braille books and large-print gallery guides are also available at the entrance to many of the Museum’s galleries. If you need any other assistance during your visit to the Museum our staff will be happy to help you.
The Natural History Museum has a room called the investigate room which has lots of actual artefacts that you can handle. You need to book a slot which she could do by calling the museum in advance but also by going there on the day. As numbers are controlled in the room it is nice and calm, the rest of the museum is pretty busy…science museum has some nice accessible things and many Penny mangles much loved by my 10 year old son!
Hyde Park is one of the largest parks in London and one of its Royal Parks. The park is the largest of four that form a chain from the entrance of Kensington Palace through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, via Hyde Park Corner and Green Park past the main entrance to Buckingham Palace and on through Saint James’s Park to Horse Guards Parade in Whitehall. The park is divided by the Serpentine and the Long Water.
For a break from the bustle the parks especially Hyde Park are great spaces to walk and let off steam.
Corams Fields is a unique seven acre playground and park for children and young people living in or visiting London and includes a children’s playground, sand pits, a duck pond, a pets corner, café and nursery. The park is open all year round from 9am until dusk and is free and open to children and young people under 16. No adult can enter Coram’s Fields without a child and our friendly on-site staff ensure that everyone can enjoy their visit. Entrance to the park is free and all activities provided by the Youth Centre, Children’s Centre and Sports Programme are free of charge.
Corams Fields is a good park for a run around and has play equipment for different ages, it’s round the back of Great Ormand street hospital. It’s for families only they have someone on the gate and have a few animals too