Friday, 24 December 2010

Festive Afternoon Tea - Lanesborough Hotel

Firstly, I just wanted to wish all readers a very Happy Christmas, wherever you are and whatever you are doing.

To celebrate the Christmas season, this blog is about a festive afternoon tea I enjoyed this week at the Lanesborough Hotel, London. The hotel is located on Hyde Park Corner and is a striking building.

If travelling by car, the doorman are happy to park your car for you at an hourly rate of £6 (pretty good, considering some London parking prices). The doorman are extremely helpful and friendly, including assisting with wheelchairs and scooters. The entrance is level access from the street into the foyer and you are greeted by delightful surroundings and helpful staff inside. At this time of year, fires have been lit and the hotel is decorated in a traditional Victorian style. The video below shows some of the ground floor, decorations and highlights from the tea.

There are accessible toilets, although I would recommend that if you are in a wheelchair, that there be someone to help you open the door as they are very large and heavy (in keeping with the style of the building). The room serving afternoon tea is located on the ground floor and is very spacious in order to accommodate wheelchairs and scooters. The reception and waiting staff are all very attentive, accommodating and friendly. As with most London hotels offering afternoon tea, I would recommend booking well in advance and letting the staff know of any individual requirements, they are very happy to help (including providing for different dietary requirements).

As I went to the Lanesborough for festive afternoon tea, the menu will differ slightly to what is provided all year round. I would however say that the food, choices and selection was one of the best I have experienced in London. The choice of tea is vast and you can choose to accompany it with Champagne. The pastries, cakes, scones and tarts are all magnificent, both in taste and appearance. During the festive afternoon tea there was a pianist playing in the corner, although you would need to check if this is something that happens everyday of the year. The dress code is smart casual and children are most definitely welcome.


As you can see, the hotel provides an excellent location for a special occasion in town or for the chance to catch up with friends and spend time with family.

Overall, I would definitely recommend The Lanesborough Hotel as somewhere to visit for afternoon tea. For more information, they can be contacted on: 020 7333 7254.

Thank you once again to all readers and I hope you all enjoy a fantastic Christmas and New Year. Up next: Phantom of the Opera and The Cavendish Hotel

Sunday, 19 December 2010

The Royal Academy and Access

Firstly, I just want to say a quick thank you to everyone who has been supporting this blog and Access London.

Today's post is on the Royal Academy of Arts and one of its current exhibitions - The Glasgow Boys.

The Academy is located in Burlington House, Piccadilly. It is open 10am-6pm everyday with late night opening on Fridays (until 10pm). The pavement outside on Piccadilly is particularly wide and accessible for wheelchairs and scooters. When entering the courtyard at Burlington House, there is a choice: either the smaller archway to the right that takes you onto the pavement that circles the courtyard (there is a lowered access onto the courtyard halfway round). Or, through the large main arch and across the cobbled courtyard, just watch out for the fountains that come up from the ground. Watch the video below to see more!

There is both ramped and staired access to the gallery. If using a wheelchair or scooter, head to the left and use the large door, rather than the revolving one. Inside the foyer, there is level access to the cloakroom, ticket desk, toilets and cafe. For the lift, head behind the main staircase where an operator works the glass lift to all floors. I recommend booking tickets in advance for paid exhibitions.

The Academy offers the following for those with disabilities: touch facilities, access guides, tour guides, large print lists, thermoforms, ability to bring in guide dogs and BSL and lipspeaking tours. The gallery also has 5 wheelchairs which are available to hire and 2 parking spaces (for badge holders) which can be booked in advance. For enquiries use: 020 7300 8028 or

The exhibition, Pioneering Painters: The Glasgow Boys 1880-1900 is on until the 23rd January 2011. The gallery describes the exhibition as: "the first major exhibition in London for over 40 years to celebrate the achievement of the Glasgow Boys, the loosely knit group of young painters who created a stir at both home and abroad in the final decades of the nineteenth century".

The exhibition is spread through 6 rooms and showcases pictures from almost a dozen artists. Although each quite distinct in their own style, they painted with a mixture of impressionist influences and realist touches in their landscapes and portraits. The paintings show landscapes and cultures as diverse as Scotland, mainland Europe, Northern Africa and Japan. The majority use bright colours and a combination of brush strokes. The exhibition showcases work from the Glasgow Boys as a group and also some of their later works when they split up to persue their own interests and specialisms. I would thoroughly recommend this exhibition which runs for another month. Afterwards, don't forget to check out what else the Academy has to offer.


For more information on the Royal Academy and to book tickets to see the Glasgow Boys and other exhibitions, go to:

COMING SOON: Her Majesty's Theatre and Phantom of the Opera

Monday, 6 December 2010

The British Museum and Access - part 2

If you have been following this blog, you will already know that I am a fan of The British Museum's Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead exhibition that is currently showing. If you missed my review of the exhibition you can find it below this latest post, just scroll down. If you did read it, then here are the Q & A session with The British Museum's Access and Equality Manager and my sneak peek video from the exhibition that I promised.

Access London's Q & A

Who are you and what is your role at The British Museum?

My name is Jane Samuels and I am the Access and Equality Manager at The British Museum.

Can you briefly explain how the museum is accessible to those with mobility problems and other disabilities?

We offer many services for our disabled visitors, including: BSL talks, audio descriptions, handling sessions, Egyptian touch tour, handling desks, inclusive exhibition design, tactile/Braille books, large print information and free wheelchair loan to our visitors. All of these services are free to our disabled visitors. For more information on the services we provide, please see the museum's Access page (link can be found at the bottom of this post).

Do you have a special offer/exhibition on that is accessible to disabled visitors?

Yes, our Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead exhibition is accessible to disabled visitors.

Do you have any concessions for disabled visitors and/or their carers?

Yes, there are concessions for all paid exhibitions and 1 carer per disabled visitor can enter for free. (Please note that many of the museum's permanent collections can be entered for free for everyone)

Can you sum up in 5-10 words the 'British Museum Experience'?

'A museum of the world, for the world'

Access London would like to say a special thank you to Jane Samuels for taking the time to answer our questions and also, thank you to all the staff at The British Museum for being so helpful and friendly.

Below is a short, sneak peek video of what you can expect at the exhibition, which runs until 6th March 2011.


COMING SOON: Reviews of The Royal Academy and The Cavendish Hotel.

Thank you to all our followers. If you aren't already following, then please sign up now for more reviews, interviews and videos to come.

You can find more information about The British Museum's access at:

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

The British Museum and Access - part 1

I am going to begin Access London's journey with information and a review of a current exhibition on at The British Museum: Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead (Journey Through the Afterlife).

The museum itself is located on Great Russell Street in London and is open daily from 10am to 5.30pm. The museum is fully accessible to wheelchair users. It can be accessed by its main entrance on Great Russell Street where there are 2 self operable lifts on either side of the stepped entrance (with the option to call for assistance) or else there is a level access entrance located on Montague Place. Once inside, the majority of the exhibitions and galleries are fully wheelchair accessible - there is also the option to borrow one of the wheelchairs that is owned by the museum. Assistance dogs are welcome inside the museum and there are fully accessible disabled toliets and the gallery's cafes can also be accessed easily. There is a limited amount of disbaled parking spaces (blue badge holders) availbled on the museum forecourt - these need to be booked in advance by phoning +44 (0)20 7323 8299.

For further details of the museum's facilties for disabled visitors, see the link at the bottom of this post.

I visited the museum and Book of the Dead exhibition two weeks ago and had a fabulous time. The museum describes the exhibition as: "Follow the ancient Egyptian's journey from death to the afterlife in this once-in-a-lifetime exhibition focussing on the Book of the Dead." It really does feel like a journey. The exhbition is housed in the old reading room in the centre of the museum and can be accessed using wheelchair lifts, operated by really helpful and friendly staff.

Once inside you follow the journey the ancient Egyptian's believed they would take to the afterlife - their preparations, death, their journey and their ultimate goal. Along the way there are numerous examples of the Book of the Dead, coffins, masks, offerings and plenty of oppulence and gold that you would expect to find surrounding the wealthier of the ancient Egyptians.

In order to preserve some of the artifacts, some rooms are quite dark when reading the explaining text on the walls, but all of the artifacts themselves can be clearly seen. I would definitely recommend this exhibition (which runs until March 2011) and a general visit to the museum itself which houses large permanent collections (including Eqygptian).

Although entrance to the museum itself (and its permanent collections) is free, there is a charge for its limited exhibitions. I would recommend booking ahead via the museum's online booking system that offers concessions to disbaled visitors and also offers a free carer's admission. When booking, you choose your desired time slot - this is a really popular exhibition and I would recommend going as early in the day as possible as it can get quite busy. As long as you take your time, it should be no problem navigating round in a wheelchair (or if like me, in a mobility scooter).

If you love history and want to see something different, this is definitely an exhibition for you!

The museums access page can be found at

Later this week Access London will feature a Q&A session with the museum's Disability and Equality Manager and also some video footage. Make sure you subscribe and follow to keep up to date with what's going on.