Background Little research exists comparing the social networks of people with intellectual disability (ID) from South Asian and White backgrounds. This UK study reports on the barriers that South Asian people with intellectual disability face in relation to social inclusion compared to their White counterparts. Materials and methods A mixed‐methods research design was adopted to explore the social lives of 27 men (15 White; 12 South Asian) and 20 women (10 White; 10 South Asian with intellectual disability). Descriptive and parametric tests were used to analyse the quantitative data. Results The average network size of the whole group was 32 members. South Asian participants had more family members whilst White participants had more service users and staff in their networks; 96% network members from White intellectual disability group were also of White background, whilst the South Asian group had mixed ethnic network members. Conclusions Social networks of individuals with intellectual disability in this study were found to be larger overall in comparison with previous studies, whilst network structure differed between the White and South Asian population. These differences have implications relating to future service planning and appropriateness of available facilities.