Many people have asked me about taking their Brompton folding bicycle to different London locations. One of the great things about owning a Brompton is that you can take it with you anywhere. In doing so the chances of your beloved means of transport being half inched are much lower. So where can and can't you take your folding friend?
On Oxford Street, Selfridges seems to sell just about everything and are happy for you to carry your Brompton in store. Not sure that I'd fancy doing that in the run up to Christmas but at least your won't be refused entry.
In Knightsbridge Harrods offers a left luggage service. The charge is £3 and the left luggage service is located on the Ground Floor at Door 2a, which can be found to the rear of Harrods on Basil Street.
As far a museums are concerned they are generally Brompton friendly:
Brompton bikes aren't allowed in the cloakrooms but there is a bicycle rack just inside the main gates on your right.
Imperial War Museum
Will almost certainly accept your Brompton (as long as it is folded) in their cloakroom.
Will accept a folded Brompton in their cloakroom.
Natural History / Science Museum
They have two choices. You can use the bicycle racks outside the main entrance via Cromwell Road. They are located just beside the Security hut.
Alternatively (although pricey) you can pay £6 to leave it in their cloakroom (Natural History Museum).
National Gallery / Portrait Gallery
Unable to accommodate Brompton bikes in their cloakroom but there are three sets of City of Westminster bicycle racks, situated in Jubilee Walk, by the Orange Street Education Centre and opposite the National Gallery in St. Martins Place (next to the church of St. Martin in the Fields.
An alternative would be to use the left luggage storage lockers in Charring Cross Station. They are open from Monday to Sunday 07:00 - 23:00. The charge is £8.50 per item for the 1st 24 hours then £5.00 per item for every 24 hours thereafter. It is a great (but pricey) facility and you can find these lockers at the following stations: Euston; Kings Cross; Liverpool Street; Paddington; St Pancras; Victoria and Waterloo. You can find details of the company in the link below.
Victoria and Albert Museum
Will not accept folding bikes in their cloakroom but as it is so close to the Natural History Museum you could use the bicycle racks I have described above.
There really are too many theatres in London to comment fully on this. I would say that going to the theatre perhaps once or twice a year at different locations for the last couple of years I have not been refused my Brompton being deposited in the cloakroom (and once in the theatre security office).
With regards restaurants I have generally found that as long as you are polite and are prepared to fold and leave the bike under your table or in a location the restaurant suggests, I have yet to be refused.
Cinemas are usually a no no but to be honest I have't taken a Brompton yet to find out. Perhaps someone who has could leave a comment.
Generally I have to say that the vast majority of places I have visited on my Brompton are quite happy to accommodate. I perhaps shouldn't say this but some of the places they say they do not allow folding bikes in their cloakrooms, do. (Or at least this has been my experience).
Being polite and friendly is the key. I wouldn't however want you to give the impression that you could turn up and expect your Brompton to be accepted. My advice is, if in doubt phone the establishment in question or email them in advance and ask.
Owning a Brompton is so much better than a full sized bike! Just imagine trying to take a Specialized inside the Tate Modern! The Brompton is perhaps the ultimate personal transport that really can be taken almost anywhere.