This page contains ideas for interesting and accessible places to visit, and also a brief selection of useful resources which call attention to disability accessible museums, galleries and events available in London.
London is a provider of many services, from various dentists and medical specialists to great sights to see. All of the suggested museums and galleries below feature sufficient disability access in terms of mobility, providing appropriate toilets, and welcoming assistance dogs.
We shall emphasise the other most prominent features and advantages of each.
Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum houses an extraordinary collection of animal artefacts including fossils, skeletons, and life-size models of creatures of all kinds, including dinosaurs and the blue whale.
In addition they feature fun and educational displays on the human body and the history of the entire earth.
The museum has incorporated a full Access Guide on their site, containing a local area map to highlight accessible travel options, and abundant information on facilities inside the museum itself.
The museum employs some staff members who offer signed interpretation for exhibits or tours. It also utilises Portable Induction Loop technology for the hard of hearing.
All exhibitions excluding the Earth Lab are accessible by elevator, and wheelchairs are also obtainable on loan. Large-print maps are available for visually impaired persons, and as with all these venues a disabled person’s helper is permitted free admission to charged exhibitions.
For exciting British art from 1500 to the present day and modern international art visit the Tate Britain and Tate Modern, comprising classical works from antiquity and innovative new work from fields like painting and sculpture, as well as installation pieces.
Though the Tate group warns that provisions do vary between sites, they attempt to supply tours and events for visually impaired visitors, hearing impaired visitors, and for people with learning disabilities.
Interactivity and stimulation are core principles at the Science Museum. This can be especially worthwhile for people with learning disabilities, with a wide variety of interactive features and touchable objects.
The website encourages people to plan their journeys through the museum with their ‘themed trails,’ offering different rewarding routes across the exhibitions. Family events are often scheduled with British Sign Language interpreters, details of which can be found online.
A small number of wheelchairs are available for hire, and only a minor number of exhibitions are inaccessible for mobility impaired people. Braille guides assist blind visitors in certain exhibitions and audio commentary is employed in a number of the galleries.
Victoria & Albert (V&A) South Kensington is a remarkable museum of art and design, its collections spanning 3000 years and filled with culturally diverse pieces of jewellery, sculpture, painting, glass, ceramics and much more.
Their website advises on the best routes for wheelchair entry, and gives phone numbers in order to book ahead and request assistance for any number of disabilities. These include dyslexia, other learning disabilities, and an escort service. Some of these services do require advanced notice.
Resources: Access London Theatre
The Access London Theatre branch of the Official London Theatre Guide supplies thorough information on accessibility to London venues and complete listings of performances catering for disability audiences, such as signed or captioned shows. The information they provide online can also be accessed in formats catering for the visually impaired and people with learning disabilities.
MAGIC – Museums and Galleries in the Capital
The MAGIC group encompasses sixteen London galleries and museums, including the National Portrait Gallery, the London Transport Museum, and the National Maritime Museum. They provide a calendar of special events for hearing impaired visitors to all the member locations, including descriptions of events and detailed information on travel.