London is a big city. And, given the limited accessibility on the tube in Central London, wheelchair users often rely on rolling the sidewalks. As with most major cities, there are imperfections in sidewalk construction and maintenance which are spread randomly throughout, but the wheelchair accessibility of London sidewalks is generally good to excellent.
What does sidewalk accessibility in London look like? All of the accessible features you would expect to find in a major world city are present, including curb cuts/curb ramps, crosswalk signals and more.
Most intersections are wheelchair accessible, with a curb ramp and marked crosswalk. Remember to look right when crossing London streets, due to the fact that oncoming traffic runs in the opposite direction from what many are used to.
Many crosswalks have a visual and audio signal that will let you know when it is safe to cross the street. Simply depress the button on the signal box and wait for the crossing alert.
The rollability of the city is also improved by the lack of cobblestones. Whereas other European cities are littered with cobblestone streets and sidewalks, that is not so in London. The majority of sidewalks are smooth and composed of cement, pavement, or smooth paving stones.
As always, sidewalks in major pedestrian areas at the city center can be expected to be more accessible than what you’ll find in primarily residential areas. Since this is a travel guide written for tourists, I have not made an effort to review each of London’s residential communities in creating this guide. So, to London locals, if you’re disappointed with the accessibility of sidewalks in your own neighborhood, I hear you.