From the moment you park your car in one of the allocated accessible parking spaces or use the level access at Montague Place to enter the museum, you’ll discover that the brains behind planning the British Museum have created a triumph of accessibility. |
If you’re busy planning holidays for disabled friends or family visiting London, or if you are a wheelchair user yourself and are looking for a cultural excursion, the British Museum is the perfect place to visit.
Parking in London is famously difficult, even for Blue Badge holders, but the British Museum does away with the problem of driving around looking for a parking space by providing its own accessible parking.
The spaces are within the museum’s grounds and offer easy wheelchair access to the museum building. But bear in mind, parking must be booked in advance, so don’t just turn up on the day of your visit and expect them to have a space for you.
All you need to do is call the museum, at least 24 hours before your visit, and give them your registration number, the make of your car and the model.
A Choice of Entrances
While many tourist attractions may provide wheelchair access at one entrance, the British Museum goes that little bit further with two (which is lucky as the building is large with entrances are on different London streets).
• Great Russell Street Entrance – This entrance lies at the south end of the museum. Self-operable lifts are located at both sides of the museum’s famous entrance steps • Montague Place Entrance – To the north of the museum is another entrance with level access, ideal for wheelchair users
Accessibility Within the Museum
Almost all of the galleries and rooms within the museum are accessible to wheelchair users so pick up a map of the museum in the Great Court to find out where the lifts are located.
There are also wheelchair-accessible toilets throughout the museum including: the Great Court, the Ford Centre for Young Visitors, the Clore Education Centre and off Gallery 66.
While the British Museum is free for all visitors, you will need to pay if you want to see any of the fascinating special exhibitions the museum offers. The programme of special exhibitions is extensive and a major exhibition may well be worth planning a visit. Disabled visitors are entitled to concessions for special exhibitions and, what’s more, you can take a carer or friend with you for free. All special exhibitions are wheelchair accessible.
What to See
From the architecture of the stunning Great Court, the largest covered square in Europe, to its more than 8 million exhibits, it would be hard to list even the highlights here but some things you may not want to miss include: the controversial Elgin Marbles, the Ancient Egyptian mummies, and artefacts from Ancient Greece and Rome.
The British Museum is a great place for anyone to explore on their holidays; for disabled visitors, however, it offers something more, it offers the wonderful opportunity to explore its cultural treasures freely and independently.
Philip Scott is the owner and founder of Can be Done, a fully licensed UK tour operator specialising in worldwide holidays for disabled individuals and groups. With over 31 years’ experience organising long and short breaks for disabled travellers, Philip has built a reputation for helping his clients select hotels and accommodation that offer high standards of accessibility, to ensure that those with special needs can experience truly relaxing and carefree holidays.
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