UK National Galleries and Museums

The National Gallery – London

Housed in London’s picturesque Trafalgar Square, The National Gallery is an astonishing collection full of world famous paintings from artists including Leonardo da Vinci, Paul Cézanne and Vincent van Gogh. Creative workshops are set up for children and families, and there is live music at the gallery every Friday. Disabled visitors receive discounts on exhibition tickets. Talks are scheduled for interpretation by British Sign Language staff, and there are events for visitors with visual impairments. The gallery can provide sensory materials for visitors and students with learning difficulties.

National Portrait Gallery – London

Next door, the faces of significant and renowned British men and women are collected in the National Portrait Gallery. Paintings sit alongside caricatures and sculptures, and there are likenesses of royal figures such as Queen Victoria, modern icons including Ian McKellen, and the most recognised portrait of William Shakespeare. The gallery utilises an extensive array of features to assist disabled access. Tactile images, sign language, guided tours, neck loops for people with hearing impairments, full wheelchair access and sound guides are all encompassed. In addition the gallery hosts monthly workshops and events to aid blind and partially sighted people with visualising portraits.

National Museum Cardiff

Archaeology, geology and art all take centre stage in Wales’ National Museum Cardiff, with exciting historical exhibits delving into the country’s Neanderthal past 250,000 years ago, and even the Evolution of Wales story starting 3.5 billion years in the past with the Big Bang. The diverse art collection spans over 500 years and includes local and international silver, ceramics, sculpture and painting. Their website details the audio material and touch features available for visually impaired visitors, plus Induction Loops, full wheelchair access and disabled parking.

National Museums Scotland

Comprised of five public museums, National Museums Scotland is the definitive guide to Scotland’s diverse history. The National Museum of Scotland is home to a large collection of stunning, bizarre and remarkable objects while also telling the story of Scotland. The National War Museum tackles 400 years of military history, incorporating true life accounts and real war equipment. You can find an endless variety of exhibits with something for everybody at these and the other three sites: the National Museum of Costume, the National Museum of Rural Life, and the National Museum of Flight.

The museums differ slightly in their specific disabled access but are all fully accessible for mobility impaired visitors and details of each venue can be found on the website. The National Museum of Scotland supplies a phone number to book a Personal Access Guide free of charge. Each museum’s location can be found on the website or by phoning the venue directly.

National Galleries of Scotland

The National Galleries of Scotland are similarly far-reaching, with over 65,000 works in their permanent collection. On top of providing their own National Portrait Gallery they have a renowned international collection at The National Gallery Complex, and also cater for contemporary tastes with The Gallery of Modern Art. Access to individual galleries is itemised at length on the website, and generally the features are very good. Travel information is also accessible with ease.