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Public washroom accessibility

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Toronto, Canada
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108 posts
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Public washroom accessibility

I have stomach issues (especially when eating new foods) and can go from perfectly fine to emergency in about a minute. This has me quite anxious for my trip to London next month.

I'm hoping TA can help me here. How accessible are public restrooms in London? Do store owners allow you to use their restroom (after purchasing something)? Any tips will be greatly appreciated!

London, United...
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1. Re: Public washroom accessibility

There are some public toilets in London, but they are few and far between. The most reliable I've found are Starbucks. They normaly don't even make you buy anything

Many shops do not have any customer toilets, though large department stores will have them.

All restaurants that have seating are meant to have public toilets, but I have found that some fast food outlets do not, even where they have seating. Pubs always have customer toilets (drinking pints and lack of toilets would be a bad combination). If a pub is busy enough, no one will notice that you are not a customer there.

Note that British people do not tend to refer to "wash rooms" or "rest rooms". A "bathroom" in Britain is a room with a bath tub/shower, and understandably most public conveniences do not have this feature, so asking for a "bathroom" is likely to cause confusion as well. Ask for "the toilet" or, if this makes you uncomfortable "the loo".

Crathie
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801 posts
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2. Re: Public washroom accessibility

This site might be of help

ianvisits.co.uk/blog/…

Apparently London has over 800 public toilets within the M25! :-)

Cambridge, United...
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3. Re: Public washroom accessibility

I'd actually say aim for cafe's or fast food outlets. Just be warned some major department store toilets c an be up on the 3rd or fourth floor, and some may lock their facilities to ensure only customers have access. Due to disability side of things, I've not had any issues, in fact there has been times when it's been no problem diving even into a Wetherspoons and giving them 20p in a charity pot. I do see your problem though, but be aware in London, some public toilets can eb 20p or more, the ones in the shopping arcade on Oxrford Street were 20p a few years back. Not sure, whether you'd qualify for a radar key, which may help get you into some disabled toilets in an emergency, it's just one of those questions I can't be sure how easy due to abuse problems these days it would be to get one of these keys apart from the radar website which sells the keys and then normally wants proof of disablioty.

London, United...
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4. Re: Public washroom accessibility

They are there if you know where to look. Most museums and galleries are free, and all will have toilets . There are loos in Covent Garden ( below the church , but have sadly introduced a charge) and in Trafalgar Square.

Here is a tube map with details of toilets run by London Underground. tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/toilets-map.pdf

London
Destination Expert
for London
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21,012 posts
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5. Re: Public washroom accessibility

All the main sites (museums, galleries etc) have toilets. Cafes (Costa/Pret/Nero etc) pubs and restaurants, department stores, stations, and even some tube stations and public locations - Westminster, Canary Wharf, Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square, St Paul's have free have public conveniences. Some of these may have a charge - 40p - or so if they have an attendant but most are free. There are also coin operated 'automatic' loos at various locations, although personally I think you need to be quite brave to use them. I'm sure someone's done an app, but in the meanwhile:

ianvisits.co.uk/blog/…

Bingley, United...
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for Edinburgh
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31,663 posts
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6. Re: Public washroom accessibility

Museums, galleries and shopping centres will have toilets as will any supermarket with a cafe.

York, United Kingdom
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7. Re: Public washroom accessibility

All pubs have loos. If it's busy, no-one will notice if you use them without buying a drink. I will sometimes dash in, use the loo and then buy a drink, if I think I've been conspicuous. Sandwich/coffee places like Pret, Costa all have loos. Again, if it's busy, I've been known to pop in without making a purchase (I do purchase masses of coffees and sandwiches from these two places, so I feel they owe me the odd loo break!). All big hotels have very nice loos off their lobbies. I find that's a very useful type of location to find the loo in an unfamiliar city (I remember being rather desperate once in Buenos Aires and nipping into a posh looking hotel).

London
Destination Expert
for London
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8. Re: Public washroom accessibility

Note - I have no idea how accurate this map is!

http://greatbritishpublictoiletmap.rca.ac.uk/

Southampton
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9. Re: Public washroom accessibility

I know someone who has bowel problems and they have a small card describing their condition which they can use in shops and the like to explain to the staff why they need emergency facilities. Do you have anything like that?

I can imagine public transport being an issue. There are no loos on the tube for example. Overground trains do have toilets but they are often out of order.

If it is an emergency just walk into the nearest pub or cafe (McDonalds usually has facilities). If anyone questions you, just buy a drink there if you don't want to explain.

southwales
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732 posts
26 reviews
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10. Re: Public washroom accessibility

There is also this site for free London Public toilets:

…about.com/od/…freetoilets.htm