Britannia International Hotel Canary Wharf Accessibility Review 

A photograph of the front of Britannia International Hotel. The ramp is situated to the left of shot behind a sign that reads 'The International London'
Taken from Tripadvisor. Image Description: A photograph of the front of Britannia International Hotel. The ramp is situated to the left of shot behind a sign that reads 'The International London'

Back with the accessibility reviews again. But this time a hotel review, specifically the Britannia International Hotel in Canary Wharf, London. This is where I stayed in March 2022 before CW134 at Indigo at The O2 and UFC London at The O2. 

(Disclaimer: I’m aware “accessibility” means different things to different people, as I said before, these are MY views on my experience of accessibility at this venue as an electric wheelchair user, I obviously can’t speak for other experiences but feel free to add your experiences in the comments!) 


The initial booking was made with, and I booked a standard room and made my request for an accessible room in the booking notes. The hotel then emailed me through the booking to say that they’d received my request and were able to book me in the accessible room I’d requested.


Travel wise, I got the train from Birmingham New Street to London Euston as I usually do. Then the bus from Euston to Waterloo. Then the Jubilee line from Waterloo to Canary Wharf. From there it was just a short walk to the hotel. Many forms of transport but frankly it all went quite smoothly. 


Once I got into the hotel, things started pretty well as I was given a PEEP (Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan) form to fill out when I checked in. This is essentially a form for me to set out how I will evacuate in case of a fire as a disabled person, and isn’t something I usually receive at a hotel, so it was a pleasant surprise. Once I got to the room, my initial thought was that it was a little tight on space and difficult to manoeuvre around. For example, there was a double bed, but I could only get on the bed from one side. This is because where the bed was positioned meant there wasn’t enough space to position my chair down the other side to transfer. 

It was a similar story of pluses and minuses in the accessible bathroom. Initially I was pleasantly surprised again as there seemed to be both a bath AND a wet room shower with seat in the bathroom. I find this is rare as it is usually a bath OR wet room shower bathroom and, if a hotel has both options available, you have to select which one you want. So, I think this was some step in the right direction as choice and options in accessibility are key. However, having both options did make space a little tight as I was unable to get my wheelchair fully in the bathroom and close the door without doing a 60-point turn or parking right up against the toilet. Which as you might imagine, made transferring onto said toilet difficult. 

Overall, whilst there were some pleasant accessibility surprises I wasn’t expecting from this hotel, the lack of space meant I couldn’t properly access the pleasant surprises that did exist. 

I hope this review is helpful if you’re trying to find an accessible hotel in the Canary Wharf Area. 

Stay Invincible! 

Em (Invincible Woman On Wheels)

Travelling from London Waterloo to Kingston Upon Thames As a Wheelchair User? Here’s How I Did It  

Blue text on a white background. Text reads 'Travelling from London Waterloo to Kingston as a Wheelchair User? Here's How I Did It
Image Description: Blue text on a white background. Text reads 'Travelling from London Waterloo to Kingston as a Wheelchair User? Here's How I Did It

Back with another travel post this time. My experiences of travelling from London Waterloo to Kingston with Southwestern Railway. A couple of caveats to this blog post: 1. This will be an outbound only journey as I was only heading from Waterloo to Kingston for a gig at Kingston Pryzm, and then found an alternative route back into London afterwards. 2. In case you were wondering why this post doesn’t include me getting TO London, I already blogged on my experiences getting from Birmingham New Street to London Euston, so I didn’t think it was necessary to write about that again. Now onto the post. 


Ticket Buying & Getting on at London Waterloo 

The ticket buying and assistance booking process was the usual. I booked the tickets through Trainline and assistance through the Passenger Assistance app. It was when I turned up to the station that things got a little more unusual. When I got to Waterloo, I made myself known to the staff at the assistance point and they asked if I wanted to get an earlier train as I was quite early for my booked train. I said no to that as that meant I would arrive in Kingston waaaaay too early for my hotel check in. With that sorted I headed to grab breakfast and coffee and came back later around when my train was due in. It transpired that my train was running a little bit late. The staff member then made quite an annoyed comment to the effect of ‘THIS is why I said to get an earlier train’. This annoyed me for several reasons, partly just because it made me feel like an annoyance and a burden for wanting to get that specific train (when people generally want to get specific trains for whatever reason. But also, because A) I run to my schedule and decide what train I get for ME not what’s easiest for others and B) my train was nowhere nearby when I turned up and was offered an earlier train so the offer and my train running late can’t have been connected. 

When the train arrived, and the staff member put the ramp down, I was somewhat sceptical as it seemed a little off to me. Then I apparently slipped on the ramp somewhat (I didn’t feel like I slipped but the staff member seemed to believe so and commented that it was because I ‘hadn’t approached the ramp properly’. Believe me, I had approached properly, I’m a near full time wheelchair user who uses multiple trains a month. I know how to properly approach a ramp and would NEVER approach in a dangerous way that was going to lead to me slipping. 

Frankly the entire assistance situation felt like a ‘blame the disabled person for the issues’ exercise. 

On Train 

The actual trip itself was quite short so there was not too much to report. I positioned myself in the wheelchair space and the guard came to double check where Iwas getting off the train. I did mention my nerves about getting off the train as I am used to being left waiting and assistance not turning up with the ramp. The guard was very nice and reassured me that I would definitely be helped off at Kingston. 

Disembarking & Leaving at Kingston Upon Thames 

Thankfully, station staff at Kingston were there with the ramp when my train arrived, and the guard was able to assist me off the train (counterbalancing my chair to allay my fears about the steep ramp). Station staff then pointed me to the lift, and I was able to quickly go on my way. 

I hope this insight into wheelchair accessible travel between London Waterloo and Kingston was helpful! 

Stay Invincible! 

Em (Invincible Woman On Wheels) 

Cage Warriors CW132 York Hall Accessibility 

Emma smiles broadly at the camera. She has messy hair and is wearing glasses and a burgundy hoodie. She is holding up a beer bottle
Image Description: Emma smiles broadly at the camera. She has messy hair and is wearing glasses and a burgundy hoodie. She is holding up a beer bottle

Yet more clearing the backlog of accessibility reviews from the past year and a bit. This one from December 2021. My first trip back to Cage Warriors for CW132 at York Hall in London. 

(Disclaimer: I’m aware “accessibility” means different things to different people, as I said before, these are MY views on my experience of accessibility at this venue as an electric wheelchair user, I obviously can’t speak for other experiences but feel free to add your experiences in the comments!) 

Ticket Buying 

Event tickets were purchased by emailing Eventim through their customer service form. They then called me back (using the number I had left on the form) so I could book my access seating. The train tickets to London were booked through Trainline as usual. 


I Initially took my usual train from Birmingham New Street to London Euston. I then took the Tube (I believe it was the Jubilee Line, exiting at Canary Wharf), and switched to the DLR to head to Pudding Mill Lane where my hotel was. From my hotel I had to take a couple buses to York Hall, but I’ll discuss those a bit more in the venue section of the post. 


Ah the hotel, here’s the interesting part of this blog post. I wanted to make a booking at Snoozebox Olympic Park. Partly because it was close ish to the venue and partly because it seemed like a cool place to stay. After a phone conversation they let me know that they did have accessible rooms and to just book a standard room online and add into the notes about my need for an accessible room, so that’s what I did. Seems simple, right? Oh, so very wrong, this is where things go decidedly south. About 3 days before I was booked to stay, I realised I hadn’t heard anything and sent an enquiry across. It was then that I learned there was some issue (nothing was specified) with ALL the accessible rooms and that there had been a ‘staff consensus’ (without consulting me, the disabled person) to decide I wouldn’t be able to use a standard room. Essentially, with 3 days’ notice, I was a solo female disabled traveller left without a hotel room in the capital. Needless to say, I panicked and took to all the social media to see if any friends had somewhere to stay or knew of hotels nearby with last minute availability. This minor social media ‘campaign’ reached the attention of the hotel management, and I then received a call to say the issue with the accessible rooms had been sorted as a matter of priority and I would be able to stay as originally booked. I think this shows the importance of advocating for yourself and your access requirements, because if I didn’t in this situation I think I may well have been sleeping on the streets that night.

Upon arrival at the hotel, I noticed the rooms were in cabins (the easiest way to describe them) separate from the main hotel lobby. Whilst this was a cool place to stay and did have an accessible bathroom with roll in shower, there was a little ramp to enter the accessible room which was quite steep and made it difficult to get in and out of. This meant that I didn’t feel safe entering or exiting my room without assistance in case my wheelchair tipped up. 

Experience & Seating 

In terms of the venue, I took one bus about halfway to the venue before getting off that and taking a short walk to switch buses in order to get to the bus stop closest to the venue. From there I rolled up to the standard entrance to the venue, which had a significant flight of steps. From here, staff took me round to a separate side entrance. This also had steps but there was a stairlift (honestly quite an old looking one) which took me up the stairs and I was able to go from there to my seat. To say I’d actually had to go upstairs to get to it, my seat was actually on the ground floor level of the the venue. Accessible seating entailed simply removing a seat from the back row of this ground floor seating in order for me to park my chair in. Whilst I like this approach to access seating as it means I get to be part of the crowd, it does have one major issue as my view is almost completely blocked if those in from of me stand, such as at an exciting finish to a fight. Once the fights were over, I found a member of staff who was able to open a gate and help me down in the stair lift so I could head home. 

Stay Invincible! 

Em (Invincible Woman On Wheels) 

Cage Warriors 138 Colchester Charter Hall Accessibility Review 

A selfie of Alex and I before the start of the show! With a crowd of seats behind us!
Image Description: A selfie of Alex and I before the start of the show! With a crowd of seats behind us!

After a quiet 2022, I am back. Warning: These first few posts of the year will likely be out of order and just clearing the backlog of 2022 reviews, because ya gal saw A LOT of venues and shows across this fine country in 2022. This post is also a collaboration with my friend Alex at The VI Critic. Be sure to click the link to check out his content including HIS side of this access review from the viewpoint of someone with a visual impairment. So, here’s my take on the accessibility of Colchester Charter Hall from Cage Warriors 138 back in May 2022. 

(Disclaimer: I’m aware “accessibility” means different things to different people, as I said before, these are MY views on my experience of accessibility at this venue as an electric wheelchair user, I obviously can’t speak for other experiences but feel free to add your experiences in the comments!) 

Ticket Buying 

The ticket buying experience for this one was a bit of a mission. I initially went straight to Eventim as I know they usually handle Cage Warriors access seating. They advised me to speak to the venue. Having spoken to the venue, they said tickets were nothing to do with them. I was then able to speak with the events manager who was able to open up access seating after some kind of site/team meeting (this was AFTER tickets originally went on sale as far as I remember). THEN it was back to Eventim to book the newly available access seating, and only then were Alex and I able to get the tickets we needed. 


The journey to Colchester was a 2 parter (or 3 if you include the tube). First was a trip from Birmingham New Street to London Euston with Avanti. Once I’d made it TO London it was time to make it ACROSS London to Liverpool Street for the train out to Colchester. This is where things got a little tricky. I headed to Euston Square to catch what I thought would be a simple single train to Liverpool Street, however, it transpired that Euston Square was only accessible from one direction (westbound I believe). Which meant I had to make a more convoluted trip to actually make it to Liverpool Street. This also had the knock-on effect of meaning I missed the initial train to Colchester that I was meant to catch. Luckily, I was just able to catch the next Greater Anglia train. These Greater Anglia trains on the Colchester route are actually one of the first that I’ve seen in the UK with full step free access to the train via a ramp IN the train which extends out. However, I found that at Colchester, even with the ramp extension, there was still a slight gap and drop when I disembarked the train which still made me somewhat nervous to disembark alone. 


For this particular trip I stayed at the Premier Inn Cowdray Avenue in Colchester. I found this to be a bit of an odd one as it’s one of the few hotels I’ve stayed in which didn’t have a lift to the upper floor at all. But I was able to secure a room on the ground floor. The other odd point here was that I was given an actual physical key to open the door rather than a key card. Whilst I find this more difficult as someone with fine motor control issues, Alex mentioned that a physical key might have plus points over a key card for those with a visual impairment, which is one way I myself didn’t think of in which our access needs could differ. One plus point for this hotel compared to others was the plethora of plug points. This is something I often have an issue with as someone who travels with a lot of tech AND a wheelchair that needs charging. There are rarely enough plugs in the right places to charge everything I need, but that wasn’t a problem at this hotel. I would also like to point out that the staff were very helpful in making sure I had everything I need to be comfortable during my stay. The only issue I had here was the bathroom as this had a sliding door which was very heavy and got stuck on the carpet. 

Experience & Seating 

The first thing I noticed en route to the venue was the poor-quality pavement between my hotel and said venue. Obviously not the venue’s fault but something to bear in mind, I guess. Once we got to the venue there was somewhat of a queue to get in and a full security check. Then we had our tickets checked and headed into our seats. We were in Row C of Block 2. Whilst this was technically at the back of floor seating, it was a pretty fantastic view for Alex’s first CW event. We were right next to walkout (which means you can spot us on broadcast if you watch back) and Alex even had a gumshield land in his lap! The only issue was it being a little bit of an awkward angle to look at the big screens (something I like to do to see the intricacies of submission attempts that I can’t quite see properly looking at the cage). It was a brilliant event and Alex even asked if he could come to the London event in July (held at Indigo at the O2 which I have already previously reviewed) as soon as we left the event! Being in the back row of the floor also meant leaving the event was quite easy and there wasn’t too much of a crowd to work through. 

Travel Home 

When it came time to travel home, the travel back into London was a little different than the journey OUT of London. I followed the signs from my hotel to the train station to find that the signs had sent me to the wrong side of the station for wheelchair access to the platform. Thankfully, the staff walked me back out and around the station in the rain so I could access the correct platform. I then hopped on the train to Liverpool Street. From there I had to take the Metropolitan line all the way to Aldgate, stay on that train and wait for it to reverse back so I could get off at Euston Square (see my earlier note about Euston Square only being accessible in one direction). From there it was a quick walk to Euston where I caught the train back to Birmingham. 

I hope this accessibility review of trains, a Premier Inn and Colchester Charter Hall was informative. Be sure to check out Alex’s side of the collaboration and keep an eye on my Cage Warriors blog posts for more of my reviews having spent 2022 following the promotion all over the place.  

Stay Invincible! 

Em (Invincible Woman On Wheels) 

Camden Electric Ballroom Wheelchair Accessibility Review

A view from the front wheelchair access platform at Camden Electric Ballroom, London. The stage (illuminated by blue lights) is visible with a drum kit and amplifiers on it. The words "Holding Absence" are just about visible on a backdrop behind the drum kit.
Image Description: A view from the front wheelchair access platform at Camden Electric Ballroom, London. The stage (illuminated by blue lights) is visible with a drum kit and amplifiers on it. The words "Holding Absence" are just about visible on a backdrop behind the drum kit.

Finally back with another venue access review. This time Holding Absence at Camden Electric Ballroom back in November. You’ll remember that my last blog post was a review of O2 Institute 2 in Birmingham (also for Holding Absence), and in that post I said that wasn’t my last show. Well here (extremely belatedly) the access review for my Holding Absence tour round 2!

(Disclaimer: I’m aware “accessibility” means different things to different people, as I said before, these are MY views on my experience of accessibility at this venue as an electric wheelchair user, I obviously can’t speak for others experiences but feel free to add your experiences in the comments!)

Ticket Buying

The ticket buying process for this one was a little different than usual. Some lovely soul on Solo Armada (an online group for solo gig goers that I’m part of) posted that they were giving away a general admission ticket to the show. I enquired as to whether there would be any way to convert it to an accessible ticket so I could go. This ANGEL refunded their original ticket and purchased an access one instead just so I could go! So, with ticket sorted, I had just 2 days to book travel and a hotel.


Travel was also pretty simple. I traveled with West Midlands Trains on the way there and Avanti on the return and both trains were a direct trip from Birmingham New Street to London Euston. I booked tickets through Trainline and then the assistance through the relatively new Passenger Assistance app. I turned up to New Street around 20 minutes before my train as suggested and was then escorted to the train by staff. Once I arrived in London it was about a 15 minute walk to my hotel.

Experience & Seating

I SAY hotel, it was technically a hostel. Specifically Generator London hostel near Euston. I try not to use hostels but with the last minute nature of the trip I was low on accessible option. So I rang around a few places and Generator said I could just book a room the standard way and then send them a message to get the booking moved to an accessible dorm, so that’s what I did. When I arrived I noticed that I’d have to go down a cobbled street to get to the entrance, which is always fun for the wheelchair user spine. I then had to wheel all the way around the car park section to the entrance as there was no drop kerb to allow me to cut across to the entrance side of the pavement. Once I made it to the entrance section, I was greeted by a large staircase, LUCKILY I saw a sign for an accessible entrance which I followed around and then pressed the intercom to be buzzed in.

Once inside, I was greeted by a stairlift to take me down a few steps, the old and slow kind of stairlift that I see in my nightmares. The nightmares were accurate, because I was told the stairlift was being dodgy, only to board it and find it out was faulty and wouldn’t actually work!

Faulty stairlift escaped, staff took me on a short walk around to the “alternative” accessible entrance. This was behind a gate which meant I’d have to be buzzed in every time I entered, I then wheeled through another car park/delivery point and then through some double doors into the laundry storage room, before going along a corridor and up in the lift to check in. This made me wonder why the “alternative” accessible entrance wasn’t just the outright accessible entrance. I know some people feel a bit odd about entering via car parks and everything, but this entrance was way more accessible than the dodgy stairlift one.

December 2022 Update: Since my last visit, the hostel has stopped using the dodgy stairlift and now accessible entrance/exit from that door solely relies on the sloped path that always ran underneath the stairlift. HOWEVER, I would still recommend using the alternative accessible entrance through the back gate, as this new sloped path can still be a little overly steep on the descent, at least for my liking.

All checked in, I was shown down to my room (a standard dorm room with me in a low bunk but in the basement level below the check in level which meant no lift to contend with). The accessible bathroom was also pointed out to me and was just a few doors down from my room.

December 2022 Update: I’m glad I WAS also in the basement for my latest visit (10th December 2022) as the lift broke on my last day. Just as I was about to head up to reception to return my room key. Luckily, I was still in the basement and was able to hand my key to a staff member and just leave via the exits located on that level. I hate to think what the other solution would have been if I was on another level. It seemed like there was just that one lift so I reckon I would have just been stranded if I was on a different level. Which obviously isn’t the best solution and certainly doesn’t seem great in terms of fire safety.

However, when I’d dropped my bags in the room and went to use the bathroom, I discovered that the toilet wasn’t in the accessible bathroom/shower room that had been pointed out to me (the pipe work was there, the toilet just…wasn’t) It took 3 staff members to figure out that the toilet had been moved to a separate, poorly signposted segment. And to add to the issue, I got into the toilet to find there was no soap dispenser in the holder (great news in the current COVID situation). Luckily, thanks to being ambulatory and using bed frames as a mobility aid, I was able to access the sink in the dorm room, something staff didn’t think would be accessible to me. So, bags dropped off, I headed for the venue.

It was about a 30-minute walk from hostel to venue (I did attempt to catch a bus, but the driver just ignored me because…London, and I wasn’t about to hang about in the rain and wait on that happening again, so 30-minute roll it was). I probably sound a bit blasé about being ignored by the bus driver, because obviously it’s a shit thing have happen. But frankly, as a wheelchair user, being ignored by bus drivers happens so often in London that my reaction just becomes: “oh this again? Right, onto plan B”. Plan B being a 30-minute wheel in the rain.

When I arrived at the venue, I pulled up to the side of the main entrance doors and made myself known to staff. After a little while, they came to check our COVID passes and tickets and then a staff member led us on a fairly significant walk to the accessible back entrance. Once there it was through a large gate, across a little car park, up a ramp and into the venue. Since I’d entered the venue straight onto a platform with stairs down to the main standing area, I assumed we were just dropping off some other attendees who were heading down to the standing area and then we’d out again to somewhere else for my seat.

Nope, turns out this platform with stairs down and the only exit being out of the venue WAS my seat. No independent access to merch or bar but I DID get a personal dance floor, silver linings to everything eh. Seriously though, this lack of independent access to anything felt really quite isolating (obviously security could get me water or whatever)

December 2022 Update: Turns out that HURRAH there is access to an accessible toilet during gigs at Electric Ballroom. But getting to it is a bit of a faff and not something I would do unless absolutely 1000% necessary. I had to exit the platform I was on, leave the venue, go back through the big gates I’d come in and back along the street to a more hidden third entrance down an alleyway. This seemed like it led into the opposite side of the venue, and then there was a fairly basic accessible toilet off to one side. Whilst it’s nice to know there is a toilet I can use for future knowledge; I have a couple issues with this. 1. The fact I had to essentially leave the show entirely in order to just essentially go to the other side of the room seems quite excessive and long (and also meant missing out on part of the show). At the same time, I am aware that there might be issues in terms of space and venue layout that make paving a way TO the accessible toilet difficult. The second issue is that I don’t want to hype this up too much because I don’t want to seem like I’m showering praise and giving too many gold stars to venues for having a place where I, a paying attendee, can piss. Because being able to go somewhere, especially somewhere you’ll be for an extended period like a gig, should be a basic expected thing, not hailed as some ultra-accessibility marvel.

The isolating platform situation meant I was even more grateful when fellow attendees from Solo Armada decided to pop up between bands and say hello, but even that was somewhat soured. I must preface this by explaining that there was a member of security basically stood with me on the platform all night, which didn’t feel entirely necessary (I’m pretty physically incapable of causing trouble at a gig and a tiny human, and also sassy and gobby enough to talk anyone who’s giving ME trouble into shutting up and leaving me alone, but maybe there is some security rule I don’t understand). Anyway, my friends came up to say hello and security almost immediately said “you’re not supposed to be up here”. This itself felt a little unnecessary as we weren’t doing anything other than chatting and my friends would have headed back to the main floor before the next band anyway. Needless to say (and sadly) this interaction with security meant my friends immediately headed back to the main floor to avoid getting themselves in any trouble. Once the gig was finished, I had to wait for the security (who by this point, annoyingly enough, had left my personal platform) to help me with the exit doors because trying to open both doors of a double fire door and drive a wheelchair requires about 6 hands, and I am a human, not an octopus. Venue exited. I made my way back through the big gate and out onto the street to begin the 30 minute walk back to the hostel.

Before I leave you, just a quick word on the actual show, and on Holding Absence in particular. There are few bands/artists where I would consider doing multiple dates on a tour. Even fewer that I’d organise a trip to London on 2 days notice to see. But the energy at their gigs is something else. This was only my second time seeing them live (the first being the other access review I mentioned) but I could live off the energy of gigs like that forever. Gigs like that fuel my soul. Go see them live I beg you, you’ll probably see me there. Should I just do the whole tour next time? I think I’ll do the whole tour next time.

I hope this access review of Generator London and Camden Electric Ballroom was insightful.

Stay Invincible!
Em (Invincible Woman On Wheels)

Camden Electric Ballroom Accessibility Comparisons – Collaboration with Artie Carden

The accessibility reviews are BACK! well sort of. Today I’m collaborating with Artie Carden (check out their Instagram and Youtube too!) to compare our experiences with accessibility at the Electric Ballroom in Camden at 2 different types of event, comparing my experience at a club night to their experience at a concert.

The first thing to say is that Artie and I have different disabilities which means we have different access needs. Those different access needs will of course make our experiences somewhat different, alongside attending different events.

Now, in terms of those differing disabilities, those of you who know me personally or have been following for a while will know I’m Em, I’m a wheelchair user with cerebral palsy and this means for events I usually need a wheelchair accessible venue with a wheelchair accessible spot for me alongside a carer/assistant ticket. In terms of their disability, In Artie’s own words:  

“I have Crohn’s disease, hyper mobility syndrome and Takayasu’s arteritis. I am able to walk and stand but not for long periods of time, and occasionally use a walking stick (I normally will use one for concerts). I need to know if a venue has loads of steps, as I can walk up and down them but not  many of them so lifts or ramps are better for me. I have been to a few gigs without a carer/assistant but I think I would prefer to go with someone after my few experiences. I would need a chair with a back, at least, and an easily accessible bathroom. My Takayasu’s has also led to limited mobility in my dominant arm which can make it hard to walk with a stick and carry something (drink or ticket etc). Access to water is also really important for me in case I feel like taking pain medication is necessary.”

In terms of the ticket buying and collection experience, for the club night you could either prebook a space on the guest list via social media or pay on entry on the night. There was no specific accessible ticket. In terms of the gig, it was a case of sending a form of evidence of disability (such as receipt of disability benefit ) and then the venue stated they would sort an accessible seat and Artie would not have to queue. All seems fine right? nope, there was then a problem collecting ticket from the box office as the staff were not aware that accessible tickets were for box office collection and were therefore, how to put this “less than helpful” and quite dismissive and tried to insinuate that accessible tickets couldn’t be picked up at the box office.

On arrival at the club night, I made myself known to security and was then led to a separate entrance to get in, that meant going over the famous Camden cobbles which my back did NOT appreciate. Artie’s experience at the gig was somewhat similar in terms of the risk of injury because, unlike most venues which let those in accessible seating areas in first to get situated before the rush of the general standing and seated ticket holders, Electric Ballroom just let everyone in at once which of course risks injuring people, especially disabled patrons and those with extra needs who may be more prone to injuries.

In terms of my overall experience at the club night, I had to stay on one level of the club as there was no lift to the upper level. This was kind of an issue since there were different types of music playing on each level and the kind of music I like was on the level I couldn’t reach. The night out becomes somewhat pointless if you can’t do what you want to do or listen to the songs you enjoy most.

Artie’s experience at the concert was even more inaccessible as the “accessible seating” was upstairs (bear in mind my “no lift” comment from earlier) the concept of seating upstairs is a very inaccessible version of accessible seating, at least check the access needs of your patrons so you can provide them with an actual accessible experience! The toilets were also inaccessible as they were down more stairs, which is quite the issue because those of you who’ve tried singing along to an entire concert without at least water to keep you hydrated will know it’s pretty near impossible (and also not the best idea in general). There were also no backs to the “accessible” seating which caused Artie an injury. Yet another instance of “actually ask the access needs of your patrons so you can provide an accessible experience that doesn’t, you know, actually injure them!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this collaboration and it provides some insight into how our experiences at different types of events within the same venue can present both similar and different issues.

Stay Invincible!

Emma and Artie

London Underground Accessibility Interview: Transcript and Further Thoughts

A little while back, I did an interview with Colette Little from Colfessions about the accessibility of the TFL underground system in London! In today’s post I thought I’d run you through what we discussed, what I said then, and anything else I’d add, with what I know now.

In what ways do you think London transport needs to become more accessible?

What I said then:

The major problem is step free-ness, particularly with the tube, because 23%, around a quarter is step free, and that’s just not good enough. They advertise that as well – like that’s not something to advertise. If you think that’s good enough, that’s not. I think the other major issue is communication, because a lot of the times where I have issues with the tube, is that someone has put me on the train, and then not told whoever they’re supposed to tell, and there’s no one to get me off the train at the other end. Or the train terminates, and they don’t know I’m on it. Basically, they’re supposed to tell the line controller, who’s supposed to know, and they’re supposed to tell the station that I’m getting off. And either the station that I’m getting off at doesn’t get told so if I need a ramp to get off the train at the other end I don’t get it, or if the train terminates, and they haven’t told the line controller, if they know I’m on the train they’re supposed to stop it so I can get off and they can terminate it properly, and a few times they’ve stopped it at a station that isn’t accessible so I can’t get off, so I’ve been sat there at the door screaming or someone to get me off. Obviously in my manual chair, which is the other chair I use, I can’t get off the train myself I can’t wheel myself or anything, and in this, trying to get off a gap that’s say 4/5 inches, this would break (My electric chair that I’m currently sat in.) So, I would be sat at the door screaming and screaming and screaming for someone to get me off the train and it would take a good 10/15 minutes for them to figure it out, figure out that I’m on the train, and sort it out. Obviously in terms of my mental-ness it’s terrifying – the fact I go on the tube every single time and think will I be able to get off the train, will I be able to use the lift, will the lift work, will I have to go some weird way around to get to a lift that works. You always constantly think about that and you can’t just get on a train and think ‘its fine’. Unless I’m going to Kings Cross which is a station which I regularly use so I can roll on and off, and mentally, it’s draining frankly.

What’s changed:

I don’t think that much has changed since that interview, in regard to this question. I know there’s been a raft of new lifts put in and stations redesigned, so that quarter of stations wheelchair accessible figure is likely to be much higher, but the TFL website still says a quarter so I can’t be sure on the new figure (Update: There are now 90 step free tube stations, which means 51% of the TFL network is step free). Those constant questions I mentioned about whether I’d be able to use lifts (or if they’d work) still exist, but I have to answer them less frequently now as I no longer live in London so only have to tackle the tube infrequently when I visit from Birmingham now.

Do you have any positive or negative specific instances, like stories, that you can tell me about?

What I said then:

The longest and most detailed story I can give you is we were coming home from a trip to Birmingham on the train. Got home to Euston, we were like ‘yeah we’ll get on at Euston Square and then Euston Square goes straight back to Uxbridge. Metropolitan line, the easiest trip you could make.’ No. We got the Euston Square and the lift was out, and my friend was with me, and I had to get my friend to go down the stairs to find someone to get them to call me a taxi because the policy that they put out is that if the lift is broken, or it’s not accessible somehow, TfL policy is that they’ll whether call you a taxi to take you home, or to the nearest accessible station – whichever is closest really. So, I was told they were calling me a taxi to Kings Cross, and I know it’s like a 10-minute walk, but we’ve walked all the way from Euston Square and if they owe me a taxi, they owe me a taxi. And the guy was like “that’s not the policy” so I had to screenshot the policy from the website and show it to him, and he was like “I’m going to get my manager because you’re lying.” And I was like “I’m showing you the website but okay.” So, his manager came up and was like “why have you dragged me here, she obviously is right, you know the rules, phone her a taxi.” We sat there and waited like half an hour for this taxi, and at that moment I was waiting on principle. Got in the taxi, we were told it has been paid for by TfL, so they prepaid it so we could just get out and wander off. Got to Kings Cross, got out the taxi, went to wander off, and he was like “no you need to pay me.” I was like “No, TfL have paid you, we’ve been told TfL have paid you” and he literally held us to ransom basically and wouldn’t let us leave until we had paid for the taxi and I was like “fine, just have your money.” Got to Kings Cross, and the Piccadilly line was broken from Kings Cross to we couldn’t use it and they’d already closed the Metropolitan line because it was a Wednesday and they close it at a certain time from Wembley onwards. So, then they had to put me on a Piccadilly line that went somewhere else. Stuck me on the Piccadilly line, so my friend had to change her plans and go to a different station to where she was going to go to because obviously a different lines, and then I was like “it’s fine, I’m getting a friend to pick me up from Uxbridge station anyway, so you can get off where you need to get off and I’ll just sit on the train that goes to Uxbridge and I can sit on a train by myself fine.” And this is when they terminated it at a station which I couldn’t get off at. So, I was by myself in my manual chair and there was no one else in the carriage and everyone just got off and I was there screaming for them to get off the train. And I had to keep texting and calling the friend who was picking me up and just say “this is how it is, this is how it is”, to the point where the guy at Uxbridge station was calling the line operator yelling at him about this whole situation, and ended up letting my friend through when I got to Uxbridge, letting her go on the platform without a pass or a ticket or anything because they knew I’d be in bits about this whole situation. It took, I think, four hours to get back from Euston with all that faff. It’s mad. There were very many different things, if one thing had happened it would be fine but there were about ten different things that went wrong. It was an interesting evening.

What’s changed:

Not much has changed here either, this is probably still the worst access experience I’ve had on TFL. However, what has changed is that I’ve FINALLY written that Euston/Euston Square ordeal up as its own blog post!

By 2024, TfL aim for 38% of underground stations to be step free. Do you think this is enough stations, and is it soon enough?

What I said then:

I think it’s sooner than I expected it to be. It’s still not enough stations, we’re always aiming for 100%, but it’s movement and that’s good. I’m trying to be as positive as I can here. I think there’s movement in the right direction, and it’s at a speed quicker than I thought it would be, and there’s definitely stations in the past four years or so that I can access that I couldn’t when I moved to London. There is movement, and it’s at a decent pace, but it’s not quick enough. I’m still glad that there is movement and they are working towards something, but they could just be like “no that’s it, 27% is enough.” It’s fast, it will never be fast enough frankly until it’s 100% step free, but there is movement and I’m appreciative of that.

What’s changed:

I think I was way more delicate with this answer than what I was probably actually thinking. While I’m appreciative of the fact that accessibility and redesigning stations isn’t instant. There’s no way the redesign is happening fast enough or at enough stations. NO. WAY. AT. ALL. I’d also be interested to see if that 38% figure and timeline is still going to be hit. Given that the website still says a quarter and we’re in 2020, I’m not holding out hope for the timeline to still happen. Update: There are now 90 step free tube stations, which by my calculations is 33% of the 272 overall Tube stations. So who knows, maybe we WILL hit that 38% goal by 2024!

How do you find out that a station has newly become step free, or there’s been a new lift installed?

What I said then:

Basically, I follow al the TFL lines on twitter because that’s the easiest way to find out if the lifts are broken. They tend to announce on there “the new plan is this” and they’ll announce a whole press release of this station by this year, this station by this year, or it just happens that I check the TfL journey planner and it gives me a new route which gives me a new station that I wouldn’t normally use. And I’m like “oh – they have step free access.” Also, the TfL access for all group I follow them quite a lot, so they seem to announce new places first because they have connections with TfL so it’s mostly social media.

What’s changed:

I see and know less about the new lifts and step free access at tube stations because I don’t live there anymore so I’m way less likely to just randomly wander into a newly step free station these days, my routes tend to focus on places I’ve already previously been. One way I find out about new station access that I forget to mention was Geoff Marshall’s YouTube channel, that was specifically how I found about the Bond Street lifts and new entrance, back when those were new.

Finally, with the definition of accessibility encompassing blind people, deaf people, people with autism, people with dementia etc., do you think a 100% accessible London is foreseeable in the future?

What I said then:

No, I don’t think so. I think it’s going to be 100% accessible in terms of step free, I think that’s a possibility, but I think in terms of accessible in terms of all disability I don’t think that’s going to happen, just because I think that for people with autism and stuff like that it’s a lot about crowds, and obviously with it being London, in particular the central stations, it’s always going to be busy. So that’s going to have to be the way that it works. I’m not saying they have to put up with that, but I think that’s a fact that you can’t really get away from, the fact that particularly central London – I’ve been through Westminster in rush hour, and it’s too busy. I don’t think you can ever get away from that and I’m not sure how they would work to make that accessible. I think step free accessibility, 100%, it’s a possibility. I’m not going to say it’s going to happen because you know – TfL. But I don’t think full accessibility for everyone it going to happen. I would like to see it happen, but I don’t know.

What’s changed:

I think this is the answer I wanted to change most since the interview. I feel like maybe it could be read like I was creating a pedestal for step free access and saying, “step free access has to happen and well nothing else is possible” and if that IS how it comes across, I want to make it clear that’s totally NOT what I meant. I just meant more in the fact of access for all is obviously the goal but, having watched TFL make an absolute farce of improving step free access, I’m not holding my breath on them being able to achieve access for all without making a mess of it.

I hope this is an insight into my views of accessibility on the London underground as a wheelchair user, thanks to Colette for interviewing me. If you want to read more of her blog you can check out the link I put right at the start of this post.

Stay Invincible!

Em (Invincible Woman On Wheels)

How NOT to Travel From Euston to Uxbridge as a Wheelchair User

Those of you who’ve been with me for a while will remember my post about my first train trip up to Birmingham for Cage Warriors 98. Now what I didn’t tell you is what happened AFTER we got off the train, between Euston and Uxbridge. Well here’s that story, strap in and prepare because it’s a whole roller coaster ride!

On Train

It all started while we were still on the train back to Euston. I saw on the Metropolitan line twitter that the Euston Square tube station (the station I intended to use to get home) lift was broken. That was fine, as I’d just roll on to Kings Cross, which wasn’t that much further. I then saw on a different twitter account that the Euston Square lift was fixed so I reverted back to the Euston Square plan as I originally wanted to. On arrival at Euston, after my incredibly sarcastic answer to “do you need a ramp?” (I mentioned that in the other post but it’s the sassiest I’ve ever been so I shall forever mention it), we made our way out of Euston. In hindsight, we should have probably waited for clear concrete confirmation that the Euston Square lift was working before heading off, but they say hindsight’s 20/20.

At Euston Square

On arrival at Euston Square, we found out that the lift was actually still broken. So, with that knowledge, I told the staff I needed a taxi to the next accessible station as is the rule in these situations. I was then told this was not protocol, something that I continued to be told even after I’d shown the staff member a screenshot from the TFL website, and so that staff member disappeared to locate their manager, convinced I still wasn’t telling the truth. Granted, at this point, I probably should have just walked on to Kings Cross about 10 minutes away but I was quite annoyed about being told I was incorrect and essentially lying about being entitled to a taxi to the next accessible station, so I decided to stand my ground. Eventually, the manager returned and said yes I was entitled to a taxi (I knew THAT) and we waited like an hour for said taxi.

In taxi and at Kings Cross

Before I hopped in the taxi, I confirmed that TFL were paying for it, and this was confirmed for me, because the taxi company had a contract with TFL for these kind of trips from an inaccessible station to an accessible one. However, when we got to Kings Cross, the driver requested payment from us, despite already being paid by TFL as far as we knew, and wouldn’t let us move away until we gave him money. So I had to pay £10 I knew I didn’t owe him personally, to be able to go get the train.

At Kings Cross – Metropolitan and Piccadilly line

Once we were actually inside Kings Cross, we first tried to use the Metropolitan line, but that was out of service between Kings Cross and Uxbridge, so we had to use the Piccadilly line for the same route. This meant my friends phone died and she wouldn’t be able to tap out on exit despite having tapped in on her phone.

On Piccadilly line

When we finally get on the Piccadilly line, I was aware my friend and I were exiting at 2 different destinations, However, that was fine, even though I was in my manual wheelchair, because I knew I was going straight to my destination on a single train and had someone to meet me there. EXCEPT, it didn’t happen like that, the train terminated early at an inaccessible station, even though TFL are not supposed to terminate trains early at inaccessible stations when they KNOW they have a wheelchair user onboard! Luckily, I was able to contact my friend Nikki who was waiting for me at Uxbridge so she could let them know and have them coordinate the situation with the station I was at on my behalf (shout out Uxbridge station for always being super helpful with access in my 4 years living there, and particularly in this situation). I was then then taken off the terminated train and put back on a different train going all the way to Uxbridge, and EVENTUALLY made it back to Uxbridge about 4 HOURS after I left Euston

Hopefully, this gives some insight into what is probably the worst inaccessibility debacle of my time in London

Stay Invincible!

Em (Invincible Woman On Wheels)

Cage Warriors 111 (Train Travel from Birmingham New Street to London Euston as a Wheelchair User, and Indigo At The O2 Wheelchair Accessibility Review)

An absolutely mammoth train travel/access review post for you today. Birmingham New Street to London Euston and back with West Midlands Trains and Virgin Trains (which now no longer exists) and an access review of Indigo At The O2 for Cage Warriors 111.

(Disclaimer: I’m aware “accessibility” means different things to different people, as I said before, these are MY views on my experience of accessibility at this venue as an electric wheelchair user, I obviously can’t speak for others experiences but feel free to add your experiences in the comments!)

Train & Tube Outbound


Tickets were booked through Trainline as usual and I booked the train assistance through Cross Country Trains. I did it this way, despite Cross Country not being one of the companies I travelled with, because both West Midlands Trains and Virgin trains insisted on having my wheelchair dimensions before booking the ramp and this was not something I’d ever previously been asked for before on any journey with any train company so it wasn’t information I was willing to suddenly have to give.

Birmingham New Street to Euston to Uxbridge

I arrived at the New Street assistance reception 20 minutes before the train and was taken to the platform and put on the train with a ramp by assistance. There are no wheelchair space reservations allowed on West Midlands Trains (operator for this leg of the journey) but luckily there was a free wheelchair space for me to occupy. The catch was that it was next to the toilet, which is interesting when the toilet door slams every 10 minutes and you have a ridiculous startle reflex like mine. When it came time to get off the train, I had a short wait for assistance before the ramp turned up, then it was time to head for the Tube. Specifically, I headed for Euston Square. I made my way through a gate line and to the platform to find there were no staff anywhere to call ahead to Uxbridge and confirm I could disembark. The only staff member I could see was stood at a gate line which was up some stairs, which meant I had to sit at the bottom of said stairs and shout for assistance (it’s a good job I’ve learned to yell loudly over the years). However, the staff member did inform that the wheelchair access at Euston Square was only in one direction so in order to make the return journey for my train home I’d have to go on to Kings Cross on the Metropolitan line and then come back on myself, oh if only the return journey was that simple!

Indigo At The O2 Access Review


Initially, I phoned Indigo At The O2 for a wheelchair space ticket and carer ticket for Cage Warriors 111 and was told there were none left, with no mention of possible single wheelchair space tickets being available. Of course, as is standard in 2020, I headed to Twitter to express my disappointment at not being able to secure a ticket. I was particularly disappointed as there was a specific fighter (shout out Paddy Pimblett) who I was desperate to see fight live (and still am). That tweet kind of exploded and gained reaction in a way I never expected with many people trying to help me out (shout out, Paddy, Molly McCann and MMA Twitter for helping me secure an answer and a ticket from the venue). Through this reaction, I was put in touch with the venue who were able to tell me there was a single wheelchair space (no carer) ticket left for what I believe was the venue’s only access platform. Forget Cinderella shall go to the ball, Em shall go to the fights!


Travel was pretty similar to all my other trips to the O2 complex. I took the Metropolitan line from Uxbridge to Wembley Park with no ramp used, although they do have ramps. I could have used Finchley Road but they refused as it would be “easier” to use Wembley Park (easier on them I assume). I then went from Wembley Park to North Greenwich on the Jubilee line and was met off the tube and guided out of North Greenwich station. On the way back into the station post event, I was bumped and barged repeatedly whilst queuing to enter the station and on my way through the station. I then HAD to get on the busiest tube out of North Greenwich to make sure I didn’t miss the last Metropolitan line train out of Wembley Park towards Uxbridge. This meant I had to sit in the middle of the train not in the designated wheelchair space (because people were stood there). THAT meant I had to just lock my arm straight to hold onto the central pole and steady my chair in case it slid around. My arm was also repeatedly leant on to the point I thought my joints might dislocate. Thankfully I made the last Metropolitan line from Wembley to Uxbridge and then had a short wait for the ramp at Uxbridge.

Experience & Seating

On arrival at the venue, I went through a ticket check and was then led to my seat on the platform. In terms of view, I had probably one of the best views of fighter walkout that I’ve ever had, with fighter walkout being immediately to my left, I was, however, a little further back than I have been for other shows in terms of view into the cage. There was also only the one small platform which meant it was quite packed and full. I did hear an assistance staff member say the platform was “not meant for so many big wheelchairs” which baffled me completely because wheelchair dimensions had never been mentioned when I bought my ticket an, let’s face it, if access is only accessible for those with certain sizes or types of mobility aids, it’s not REALLY access. The good thing about this platform was it was right next to an accessible toilet which meant toilet trips didn’t involve trekking across the venue.

*July 2022 Update: This recent visit in July 2022 was a significantly less accessible experience in terms of the view. This was because the big screen next to the accessible platform was COVERED BY A CURTAIN (screen still actually showing the fights, we just couldn’t see because curtain). See below for what I mean. This meant that I had no view of a portion of the fights as the platform wasn’t positioned for a clear view of the whole cage and the big screen (which I would have used when I couldn’t see a section of the cage) was covered by this curtain. Whilst this was an annoyance for me, I was particularly thinking of those attendees who might be low vision (like my friend Alex) or short sighted and so have trouble seeing the cage from this distance. Having the screen NOT covered by this curtain would have meant they could use the view from the screen to better understand what was going on in the cage, leading to a more accessible and more overly enjoyable experience.

View from the accessibility platform. A curtain covering a large portion of the big screen which is to the left of the access platform.

Photo Credit: Alex Ramzan. Image Description: View from the accessibility platform. A curtain covering a large portion of the big screen which is to the left of the access platform.

Tube, Bus & Train Return

For the beginning of my return journey back to Birmingham, there were maintenance works on Metropolitan line between Wembley Park and Aldgate. That meant that my journey back to Euston was as follows: Metropolitan line from Uxbridge to Wembley Park, then the Jubilee line from there to Bond Street, THEN the Central from there to Tottenham Court Road and finally a bus to Euston station. I made myself known at the Euston assistance desk and was then told to make my own way to the platform. I waited there and was then met by assistance staff who used a ramp to put me on the train. As per my usual gripes with Virgin Trains, there was a tight corridor and door to navigate to make it to my seat, but there was more space in the wheelchair space than I expected given how insistent they were about knowing my wheelchair dimensions prior to my attempted assistance booking. Once I arrived back at New Street, I was taken off the train pretty immediately and was able to wheel away out of the station and back to university accommodation.

I hope this shows my adventures as a wheelchair user for a weekend in the capital for the fights. Thanks as always to Cage Warriors for putting on a brilliant show and I can’t wait to be back in March for CW113

Stay Invincible!

Em (Invincible Woman On Wheels)

Travelling from Birmingham New Street to London Euston as a Wheelchair User? Here’s How I Did It

Another train travel blog! This time Birmingham New Street to London Euston (with West Midlands Railway) for an interview!


Ticket Buying & Getting On at Birmingham New Street

Tickets were booked through Red Spotted Hanky which meant I had to physically print them at the station. On the day of travel, I arrived at the Birmingham New Street assistance desk 20 minutes before departure, having prebooked my assistance, and was put straight on the train when it arrived with no hassle.

On Train

On the train, the wheelchair space gave me a large amount of space and was situated directly opposite the accessible toilet. Speaking of toilets, wheelchair – toilet transfers on moving trains are bloody difficult with just one grab rail!

Disembarking & Leaving at London Euston

On arrival at Euston, there was a delay with getting the assistance for me to disembark. I must say thank you to the fellow passenger who found and unlocked/ moved the ramp and attempted to put it down for me himself, I appreciate that you understood I had places to be and couldn’t wait forever for assistance and I’m sorry you were yelled at. It was also quite difficult to find and get out to the buses from the station to continue my journey.


Getting On at London Euston

On arrive back at the station, I had to get all the way across the main area of the station from the entrance to the assistance area. That’s quite a long and difficult way through people when it’s busy, e.g. Friday afternoon (can ANYONE guess when I travelled?!) . I must thank the assistance staff at Euston for working to put me on an earlier train than my assistance was booked on.

On Train

It was VERY busy on the train. I managed to getting into the wheelchair space but the train then very quickly became standing room only with people crowded into every space on the train.

Disembarking & Leaving at Birmingham New Street

When it came to disembarking, working out how to move safely to the doors of the busy train from the wheelchair space was a worry. However, I’d like to say thank you to my fellow passengers for helping me get through to the doors and to staff at Birmingham New Street staff for being there at the train door on our arrival and not making me wait for assistance.

I hope this post gives insight into travelling between Birmingham and London as a wheelchair user!

Stay Invincible!

Em (Invincible Woman On Wheels)