Is there anything more frustrating than suddenly finding yourself with the urge to pee but having nowhere to go? When you’re out and about, especially in an unfamiliar location, you can’t always be sure where the nearest public toilet is. I’ve often spent far too much time scouting out the area in search of a restroom and by the time I reach one, I’m ready to burst.
But wouldn’t life be so much easier if you could just hit a button and discover the nearest public toilet? Fortunately, we live in a digital era where this is entirely possible. By installing one of many smartphone apps, you can quickly find local conveniences and not have to cross your legs and hope for the best.
Finding A Clean Public Toilet
I’m pretty sure that I’m not alone in the disgust I feel when walking into a bad public toilet. We’ve all been there; you enter and the smell hits you before anything else. Once you’ve gotten over that, you notice toilet paper strewn across the floor, yet there’s a lack of it hanging where it should be, toilets left unflushed, questionable substances on the seats and sinks and many other abhorrent situations.
This certainly isn’t an environment that most of us would want to relieve ourselves in but sadly, there are some pretty sorry situations across the UK.
So, before I get into talking about the many apps and websites that point you in the direction of the nearest toilet, I wanted to touch on one I found that actually reviews toilets. You find it at ToiletInspector and it’s incredibly detailed.
The website allows you to search a particular toilet and it’ll bring up tonnes of information on the cleanliness, smell, how well stocked with toilet paper and soap it is and even the condition of the hand dryers. It’ll certainly stop you from entering somewhere that feels more like a sewer than a toilet.
What’s more, they rate toilets based on best and worst features and there are plenty of photos that will shock you because of the state of some public conveniences. If you have a strong stomach, you can see what I’m talking about here. But be warned, it’s not pretty!
Finding The Nearest Public Toilet
Now that we’ve got a way of discovering the most sanitary public toilets, let’s take a look at some of the ways you can locate the nearest facility.
Locating Toilets Around The UK
If you’re on native soil then there are several ways you can find public toilets near your location. One of the most reliable is a website called The Great British Toilet Map. It’s really easy to use and has information on as many as 11,000 public toilets to date.
All you need to do is type the address into your browser and enter your current location. It will then give you several options; I searched my local town and was given a drop down of specific locations so the map could be more precise. Once you select your location, the map will display pins to all the local toilets and you simply choose which one you’ll head to.
Having the map is also super handy if you’re in an unfamiliar location so you won’t find yourself having to ask strangers on the street for directions.
Nearest Public Toilet in London
If you’re in the capital, especially if you’re not familiar with the city, it can feel overwhelming. While London is one of the most bustling cities in the world, it can often feel like there are no toilets anywhere to be seen. I’ve often found myself coasting around trying to find a facility and often end up in a tube station.
In fact, Transport London reports that the most commonly asked question to their on the ground staff is where can I find a local toilet? So as a result of this, they came up with their own website dedicated to helping people in London find somewhere to relieve themselves.
The Transport For London website breaks down local toilets by borough so just simply click on the borough you’re currently in and it’ll take you to the local website with information on all public conveniences. It not only tells you where they are but also whether they are open and if you can expect to pay a fee.
If you have a disability and require an accessible toilet then there is also a dedicated website for the London area for this.
If you really want to get clued up on what public toilets are around the London area then you might even be as bold as to head off on the Loo Tour of London. Who needs a tour of the Tower of London or a trip on the London Eye when you could spend your afternoon discovering local places to pee!
Finding A Public Toilet Abroad
In the UK, we are often somewhere that we are familiar with. Whether that’s your local town or a place you have visited before so vaguely know your way around. However, the moment we step onto foreign soil, finding a toilet can be much more difficult. In some places, there may be a language barrier so even the simple task of asking a stranger could be a challenge.
But never fear! There are lots of toilet apps and websites that allow you to find the nearest convenience without any hassle.
One of the most popular is the Flush app. This is available on Android and Apple iOS and there are currently as many as 190,000 toilet locations across the globe. You don’t even need to be connected to the internet to find the nearest toilet.
There is another popular app called The Toilet Finder App which has as many as 150,000 locations on it’s database at the time of writing.
What’s more, the app will even provide you with helpful directions so you don’t get lost along the way.
What I really love about this app, however, is that you can add public toilets as you find them. This means that the database is constantly growing and you have the opportunity to help others who are in a tight spot and need some quick relief!
Another excellent global option is the Where Is Public Toilet App. This currently has the largest number of public conveniences on its database with a whopping 280,000! You can narrow your options down by choosing to view either worldwide locations or just those within your current continent.
What’s more, there are two ways to view the results; either as a list or on a map. If you choose the map option then you will also be able to get directions straight from the app getting you to the toilet as quickly as possible.
I also love how much information is included in this app. There is info about the opening hours, fees, whether there is parking nearby and so much more. This is definitely one of the more detailed apps and something I would recommend for frequent travellers.
When you pop over to the continent, finding a toilet doesn’t need to be tricky. In fact, there’s a website called FreePee that will point you in the direction of public toilets in a range of European countries. In Europe, there are currently more than 4000 toilets on the database but there is also the option for users to add their own finds so this is something that is constantly growing.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that all of the toilets listed on this website are free to use so you won’t need to worry about having any spare change.
That begs the question why do some public toilets charge a fee? I’ll admit it is really annoying when you finally find a toilet only to realise that you need a 50p or £1 coin. Especially for someone like me who never carries change. Yes, since COVID a lot of previously cash-only services have updated to card payments but that isn’t the case across the board, especially where public toilets are concerned.
But there is a good reason that some toilets want you to pay and that is so that the owners can better maintain the facility. It’s very rare that you will go into a paid toilet to find any sort of mess so if you want to avoid some of the horrors we looked at earlier, it might be worth sticking to those that charge a fee.
OUR TOP CAMPING PICK
The Thetford Porta Potti Qube has a pump flush and a waste collecting tank at the bottom that you can empty in a loo. A bulky one, but the same height as a regular toilet. Weighs 4kg. It's worth checking out the slightly smaller 345 too!
If you have nipped across the pond and find yourself ready to burst then there is a helpful website known as AmericanRestroom. It provides you with a plethora of information including restroom locations around the country as well as a list of handy apps that can point you in the right direction.
There is even a section of the website dedicated to restroom stories and anecdotes so you’ll have something to read while you’re doing what you need to do.
Travelling around North America can feel incredibly overwhelming since this country is so much bigger than the UK. Moreover, there can be hundreds of miles between civilizations so if you’re on the go and need to go then you have to be clued up on where you can stop.
This website provides you with a map of all the Interstate restrooms as well as an advanced search so you can really narrow things down. If you’re on the road in the States, there’s nothing I would recommend more than this!
For the adventurous travellers out there, Europe and America might have already been ticked off the bucket list and you may be ready to explore further afield. But regardless of how far your go, you’re always going to need to know where the nearest public toilets are. And there are apps and websites for this too!
The Aussie Government seems to have the art of finding a toilet down to a T. They have a detailed website called the National Public Toilet Map that tells you the location of conveniences all over the country. You can even add your favourites!
When you click on your chosen toilet, you’ll get information on the opening hours as well as what other facilities are available. There is even a link with each toilet to Google Maps so you can find your way there before your burst!
At present the National Public Toilet Map has around 19,000 toilets on its database and you can add more. There’s also a handy smartphone app for even greater convenience.
If you’ve dared to travel even further and find yourself in New Zealand then you won’t struggle to find a toilet here. If those super friendly Kiwi’s can’t point you in the right direction then there is a website called Pee Place that allows you to search all of the local toilets in NZ and you can filter by location so searching is super simple.
The website gives you basic details on the toilets and what they offer as well as an easy to follow map to get you there as quickly as possible.
When you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go but finding a public toilet isn’t always easy especially when you’re somewhere you’ve never been before. But the great news is that there are tons of apps and websites that tell you exactly where to find the nearest public toilet, what to expect from it and even how to get there.
If you’re unsure of the quality and condition of a toilet, there’s even a website that rates and reviews public restrooms so you don’t find yourself in the middle of a nightmare.