The visit today was to look at accessibilty and check out the statement on their website ”We aim to provide a friendly, accessible environment for all our visitors and the widest possible access to our buildings, exhibitions and collections”.
There is free disabled parking provided outside the main entrance (near the Railway museum). It is possible to drop disabled visitors off at the door. There are wheelchairs and mobility scooters for hire and advance booking of these is recommended.
Assistance dogs are allowed in the museum.
A large print map is available at reception on arrival, but they do not have any information in braille. There is no special provision for hard of hearing.
There is level access into Station Hall from reception and there are ramps up onto the platforms. However there is a slight step up into carriages and loco footplates. Ramps are not provided to access these. By their very design, the gap onto the footplate is narrow.
Access to the Great Hall involves going under Leeman Road and there are two sets of stairs. There is small lift for each. Depending on the size of the wheelchair, may only take one at a time. There can be waits at busy times, especially as it is also used by families with prams. The lift has been out of action on a couple of visits we have made in the past. Pushchairs can be bumped up and down the steps but not wheelchairs. The advice is to find a member of staff and ask them to contact security who will accompany the wheelchair user and take them round the steps.
Inside the Great Hall there are permanent ramps giving access to the Japanese Bullet Train and the Chinese loco. When we visited there were steps up to the cab of Aerolite and Duchess of Montrose and her coach. There was no disabled access onto these.
Information boards are placed at eye level for wheelchair users.
There is a lift to Search Engine on the first floor, which is the library and archive centre.
The Works on the first floor, has a viewing area to look down on the workshops. There is no lift by the stairs next to the cafe. It is necessary to walk through the warehouse with the museum collection to the lift at the far end.
There is level access to the grounds outside the museum. The miniature railway does have some larger coaches designated for adults only, which are easier to get in and out of.
There are disabled toilets in all the main areas. The cafes in Station Hall and Great Hall are both accessible and sell snacks and hot drinks. There are also plenty of benches around to sit and eat your own food.
The shop is near reception and is fully accessible, although it may feel cramped if very busy.
Entry is free. There is usually plenty of room for negotiating wheelchairs, School holidays when there are special children’s activities provided are best avoided as the museum does get very busy.
There is a map of the museum here, showing location of lifts and disabled toilets.
The museum is very popular with families and there are always a lot of pushchairs around. When we visited today there were also several wheelchair users, who seemed happy with the facilities.