Checking the accessibility of an event or venue

It’s important to check the accessibility of an event you’re attending in advance so that you can be confident it caters for all your needs.

You can do this by:

  • checking the event website or researching online
  • contacting the venue or the event organiser
  • visiting the venue in person

Research before attending

Research the event or venue before booking. There are useful websites you can visit for information.

  • Euan’s Guide is a disabled access review site where disabled people, their family, friends and carers can find and share reviews on the accessibility of venues around the UK and beyond.
  • AccessAble provides detailed information about venues so that you can decide if they’re accessible to you. You can search for types of venues around the UK and filter them by accessibility symbols to help you find options that are suitable for your access needs.
  • Simply Emma is a blog with comprehensive reviews and advice on accessible travel. There are reviews on festivals, gigs, hotels and days out.
  • Accessible Screenings is a searchable listings database for accessible screenings in UK cinemas, including subtitled, audio described and autism friendly.
  • Official London Theatre provides details of accessible performances in West End theatres, including audio described, relaxed and socially distanced performances.
  • Scope’s online community is a good place to ask about a venue’s accessibility and find recommendations from other disabled people.

You may find it useful to use sites like Google Street View to see parking options and distances from public transport stops to the venue.

Mark and find wheelchair accessible places (Wheelmap)

Travel and public transport

Days out for disabled people and their families

Questions to ask about the venue

Before you contact somebody at the event or the venue to ask about access, have a list of questions ready to help you get the information you need. It’s also important to be clear about your requirements.

You might find it helpful to ask some of the following questions:

  • Can I travel to the venue using public transport?
  • Is there disabled parking and how many spaces are available? Can I book a space?
  • Is there wheelchair access to the building and to the event, like ramps and lifts?
  • Is there somewhere to borrow a wheelchair or other mobility aids?
  • Is there a quiet room?
  • Is there a designated wheelchair area at the event? If so, where is it located, how big is it and are spaces integrated with the audience?
  • Is the canteen or restaurant area accessible?
  • Will information be accessible? Will there be a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter, audio description or subtitles?
  • Are the toilets accessible? If so, what size are the toilets and what equipment is available?

Contact the venue or event organiser if you cannot find this information on their website.

Describe your needs in detail. For example, if you have a large wheelchair, give the dimensions.

Under the Equality Act 2010, venues and events must take reasonable steps to make sure that disabled people are not at a disadvantage. This might include making physical adjustments, like adding a ramp to an entrance or providing information in an accessible format.

Equality law: theatres and other entertainment venues (EHRC)

Asking for reasonable adjustments

Access to toilets

If you need to use an accessible toilet, a Radar Key can allow you to open accessible public toilets.

Radar Key (Disability Rights UK)

A Changing Places toilet is like an accessible toilet but is bigger and has other equipment. It will have:

  • a height-adjustable changing bench
  • a hoisting system
  • a peninsular toilet
  • enough space for the disabled person and 2 carers

Find a Changing Places Toilet (Changing Places)

You can use websites or apps to find your nearest toilet. These include:

accessaloo (app on iOS and Android)

Find a toilet (Toilet Maps)

Flush toilet finder (app on iOS and Android)

Access to events

You may need to attend an event for work or as part of a course you’re studying. Speak with the organiser ahead of the event to tell them what you need. You may want to find out:

  • how far you’ll need to walk and if the venue is accessible to you
  • if there’s a map or someone who can meet you at the entrance
  • if you’ll need to participate during the event
  • if there will be breaks or a quiet place where you can rest during the event

If a venue or event is inaccessible, ask them to make alternative arrangements for you. If they fail to do so, this could be discrimination.

Disability discrimination

A growing number of events are online. But there can still be issues with digital accessibility if you’re disabled.

Before signing up to a virtual event, it’s worth checking if it suits your needs. For example, you can ask if there will be subtitles, a BSL interpreter or audio descriptions.

Last reviewed by Scope on: 27/09/2023

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