Many London hotels, museums, restaurants, and sightseeing attractions have wheelchair ramps, less so in rural England. Persons with disabilities are often granted special discounts -- called "concessions" in Britain -- at attractions and, in some cases, nightclubs. Free information and advice is available from Holiday Care Service, The Hawkins Suite, Enham Place, Andover SP11 6JS (tel. 0845/124-9971; fax 0845/124-9972; www.holidaycare.org.uk).
Many bookstores in London carry Access in London (www.accessinlondon.org), a publication listing facilities for persons with disabilities, among other things. The transport system, cinemas, and theaters are still pretty much off-limits, but Transport for London publishes a leaflet called Access to the Underground, which gives details of elevators and ramps at individual Underground stations; call tel. 020/7222-1234 or visit www.tfl.gov.uk. And London Black Cab (tel. 0845/108-3000; www.londonblackcab.com) vehicles are perfectly suited for those in wheelchairs; the roomy interiors have plenty of room for maneuvering.
London's most visible organization for information about access to theaters, cinemas, galleries, museums, and restaurants is Artsline, 54 Chalton St., London NW1 1HS (tel. 020/7388-2227; fax 020/7383-2653; www.artsline.org.uk). It offers free information about wheelchair access, theaters with hearing aids, tourist attractions, and cinemas. Artsline mails information to North America, but it's more helpful to contact Artsline once you arrive in London; the line is staffed Monday to Friday 9:30am to 5:30pm.
Many travel agencies offer customized tours and itineraries for travelers with disabilities. Flying Wheels Travel (tel. 507/451-5005; www.flyingwheelstravel.com) offers escorted tours and cruises that emphasize sports and private tours in minivans with lifts. Access-Able Travel Source (www.access-able.com) offers extensive access information and advice for traveling around the world with disabilities. Accessible Journeys (tel. 800/846-4537 or 610/521-0339; www.disabilitytravel.com) caters specifically to slow walkers and wheelchair travelers and their families and friends.
Organizations that offer assistance to travelers with disabilities include MossRehab (tel. 215/663-6000; www.mossresourcenet.org/travel.htm), which provides a library of accessible-travel resources online; the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB; tel. 800/232-5463 or 212/502-7600; www.afb.org), a referral resource for the blind or visually impaired that includes information on traveling with Seeing Eye dogs; and SATH (Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality; tel. 212/447-7284; www.sath.org), which offers a wealth of travel resources for all types of disabilities and informed recommendations on destinations, access guides, travel agents, tour operators, vehicle rentals, and companion services. Air Ambulance Card (tel. 877/424-7633; www.airambulancecard.com) allows you to preselect top-notch hospitals in case of an emergency.
The "Accessible Travel" link at Mobility-Advisor.com (www.mobility-advisor.com) offers a variety of travel resources to persons with disabilities.
Check out the quarterly magazine Emerging Horizons (www.emerginghorizons.com), published by SATH.
Information for travelers with disabilities going to Wales is available from Disability Wales, Bridge House, Caerphilly Business Park, Van Road, Caerphilly CF83 3GW (tel. 029/2088-7325; www.disabilitywales.org). The staff can tell you about facilities suitable in touring, accommodations, restaurants, cafes, pubs, public restrooms, attractions, and other phases of hospitality to make a trip pleasurable.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.