From the iconic sculptures of Henry Moore to the Baroque masterpieces at Dulwich Picture Gallery, the UK is full of exciting art attractions for mobility scooter users.
Take a step back in time or a leap into the future at historic and contemporary galleries, or embrace nature on a sculpture trail. Here, we list some of our favourite accessible days out for art enthusiasts.
York Art Gallery, Yorkshire
Surrounded by historic architecture in the city centre, York Art Gallery is well worth a visit. Its impressive collection spans more than 600 years and includes 17th century Dutch masterpieces as well as modern works by the likes of David Hockney. The gallery is also home to the most extensive collection of British Studio Ceramics.
Although there is no parking, due to its location, the gallery itself is completely accessible. After heading to York’s famous Exhibition Square, the building can be accessed via two ramps on either side of the gallery’s main entrance. Lifts allow easy access throughout the gallery and where there are not power-assisted doors, friendly members of staff are at hand to help.
Lee Clark of York Museums Trust said: “The 2015 redevelopment of the gallery has ensured two new lifts offer complete access to the entire gallery, as well as accessible facilities such as a bookable manual wheelchair, subtitles on all audio visual interpretation, sound posts throughout the gallery and labels printed in font size 20pt.”
Grizedale Forest Sculpture Trail, Lake District
In the heart of the Lake District, the dense woodland of Grizedale Forest hides one of the UK’s most unique art attractions. Amongst the trees, a series of 40 sculptures can be found, created by various artists over the years. While some are permanent features, others are temporary, with new and exciting sculptures appearing every year.
The best way to explore Grizedale Forest’s sculptures is via its nature trails. For wheelchair and mobility scooter users, the best choice is The Ridding Wood Trail. Stretching for a mile with a tarmac surface, the route passes sculptures and takes around 45 minutes to complete. For shorter routes to take a peek at the sculptures, ask the friendly staff at the Visitor Centre. Pack a picnic or enjoy a bite to eat at the café.
Dulwich Picture Gallery, London
Dulwich Picture Gallery is the world’s first purpose-built public art gallery. It was founded in 1811 when Sir Francis Bourgeois bequeathed his collection of paintings so that the public could enjoy them. This cultural hub offers a permanent collection of spectacular Baroque masterpieces and is completely accessible for wheelchair and mobility scooter users.
Dulwich Picture Gallery said: “The gallery aims to make access to its buildings, paintings and gardens enjoyable and welcoming to the widest possible public. There a range of facilities to help visitors see the collection, visit our exhibitions, use the café, Linbury Room and Sackler Centre.”
The gallery offers visitors two wheelchairs and three self-propelled wheelchairs, benches throughout the gallery and gardens for visitors to use, step-free access to all public areas, a lift between the ground floor and first floor, disabled toilets and parking.
Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle
Founded in 1901 by Alexander Laing, a Newcastle businessman, Laing Art Gallery has grown to become an internationally significant hub for art. British oil paintings, watercolours, ceramics, silver and glassware can all be admired here, as well as regularly changing exhibitions of historic, modern and contemporary art.
The gallery is located one minute from Newcastle’s Princess Square, on New Bridge Street. If you are driving, there are two disabled parking bays beside the gallery. There is level access to the gallery and a lift inside from the shop. If your particular model of motorised wheelchair or mobility scooter is too large for the lift, there is an alternative lift which can be used with the help of gallery staff.
Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, London
In a beautiful Georgian building, the Estorick Collection is famous for its Futurist works, figurative art and sculptures. The gallery, which opened in 1998, holds regular exhibitions to educate visitors about Italian art and culture. Expect to see dreamy, surrealist work by Giorgio de Chirico and unique figure studies by Amedeo Modigliani.
Most of this beautiful gallery is accessible. Access to the main entrance and the first two galleries is level, but to reach galleries three and four, there is an alternative external entrance for mobility scooter users. Be sure to ask the shop and they’ll guide you to the entrance. Although access to the final two galleries and the library is limited, the majority of the Estorick Collection is accessible.
Tate St. Ives, Cornwall
While exploring the delights of this pretty Cornish resort, be sure to stop by its iconic gallery. Tate St. Ives is instantly recognisable. Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, it’s tough to find a more beautiful location for a gallery. The gallery showcases work from artists with links to the area including watercolours, sculptures and ceramics.
As well as the spectacular gallery, visitors can explore the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden within the grounds. There are disabled parking bays near the gallery and there is a drop off point in front of the building. Inside Tate St. Ives, there is access to all floors via a lift and there are disabled facilities. Enjoy a delicious lunch with a stunning sea view at the café.
The Hepworth, Wakefield
The Hepworth is considered to be one of the finest contemporary art museums in Europe. Combining work from Wakefield’s art collection and exhibitions by contemporary artists, the museum is truly unique and free to explore. The museum also showcases a spectacular collection of work by Barbara Hepworth, who was born in Wakefield, and artist Henry Moore.
With a café, shop, learning studios and a full events programme, it’s easy to spend an afternoon at The Hepworth. The museum is completely accessible to wheelchair and mobility scooter users, with ramp access to all areas. There are lifts throughout the museum as well as designated parking spaces.
Henry Moore Studios & Gardens
Take a journey through the works of iconic artist and sculptor Henry Moore. The collection of around 15,000 works including sculptures, drawings, tapestries and prints can be found at Henry Moore Studios and Gardens, outside London. In a beautiful, rural setting, the estate’s grassland and gravel pathways are mostly accessible to wheelchair and mobility scooter users, however it’s advised visitors check in advance in the event of poor weather. The gallery offers mobility scooters to borrow when exploring the grounds and inside the gallery.
Across the UK, museums, galleries and gardens are working to make their buildings fully accessible for everyone. For more recommendations and reviews check out Euan’s Guide.