The end of 2015 brought to us wonderful opportunity to travel in England, as Jasmina has started her Masters in Kingston. While visiting her, we managed to travel at different places and see more of England.
Old, historical, authentic and in the same time modern and beautiful. A country in which you will meet so many different nationalities, cultures and yet you will recognize a string that connects everything in one wonderful harmony.
For the biggest part during my visit we were staying at Jasmina's apartment in Kingston and from there traveled to see nearby places.
However, to go on a seaside, particularly Brighton or to the old town of Canterbury, we found hotel accommodation:
BEST WESTERN Princes Marine Hotel in Brighton, Hove
Although listed as wheelchair accessible hotel, this hotel is not good choice for a wheelchair users, especially if you travel without able bodied companion. We got big room with wide bathroom and bathtub, but the details like button to call elevator, to switch on the light on or access to the bed, heavy door, were not convenient for wheelchair users. So, this might be an option for someone who is able to stand up, but if you are wheelchair bound and with no companion, it might not work for you. The hotel staff was incredibly helpful and polite.
Falstaff Hotel, Canterbury
Wonderful hotel, with very warm atmosphere and great wheelchair access. The room was very wide, with bathroom with bathtub and necessary handrails. The hotel has wonderful location, which is very close to the center of the town and to the Cathedral which you would probably love to visit if you are in Canterbury.
All the buses have wheelchair access. Very rare is happening that ramp would not open, and if happen, the driver would apology for it. It was our experience that sometimes we were able both of us to enter in the same bus, but some drivers were insisting on having just one wheelchair at a time.
The trains are wheelchair accessible, but not all train stations have wheelchair access. However, the assistance service in England is organized in such a way, that you may, but you do not need to arrange the assistance in advance. It happened to us to arrive at the station just few minutes before the train comes and assistant would wait us at the platform. Its a simple ramp, that they connect between the platform and train which makes it possible to enter with a wheelchair. The same person who assist you to enter in the train will announce the station where you will go off the train, someone to assist you there. We were impressed by the way they were organized with the train assistance, especially because it is not required to book assistance in advance and they worked flawless.
The underground lines are partially accessible. And the gap between the platform and the train is too big for the front wheels. So, when you enter the train it would be best to go at the first car of the train, so the driver can see you in case you have stuck (as I did :-))
Most of the cabs in London area are wheelchair accessible. There is space to enter with only one wheelchair at a time.
For someone who is coming from Balkan, where toilets for wheelchair users is still very rare to find, it was wonderful to be at place where wheelchair accessible toilets are available at many, many spots. Almost every train station, train itself (see the picture on the right), malls, many restaurants, pubs, even some fast food restaurants do have disability toilets.
Most of the toilets you will find locked with something called, Radar Key. If you have Radar key with yourself, you would be able to open yourself, if not then you need to call some of the staff who works there to open it for you.