Accessible days out for art lovers
12th March 2018
This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.
There are many people in the UK who love and appreciate their country’s creativity both past and present. From John Constable and William Turner defining artistic movements to Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin continuing to shock and stun the global art scene, Britain remains a vibrant and creative hub.
Those with limited mobility should have as much opportunity to be inspired by art both homegrown and from across the globe. Thankfully there are many venues that have been built or adapted with accessibility in mind. This means that those who use home stairlifts or require adapted bathrooms are still able to enjoy a day visiting their favourite artists. The UK is lucky enough to have many fantastic galleries and museums scattered across the country, so no matter where a person lives, fabulous art should be on their doorstep.
As the capital city, London has so much to offer but it is also full of historical buildings, British masters and some of the finest art collections in the world. The National Gallery is not to be sniffed at and with ever-changing exhibitions, it delights those who have never been before and members alike.
Enjoy Van Gogh’s sunflowers, Turner’s Fighting Temeraire and Stubb’s horse that dominates the room. There is an abundance of Italian masterpieces with works from Leonardo Da Vinci, Titian and Raphael. It is everything an art enthusiast could desire.
The National Gallery has four level entrances as well as wheelchairs available at three of these entrances (Getty Entrance, Sainsbury Wing and Pigott Education Centre). There is seating available throughout the gallery for those who tire easily and adapted toilets near all the entrances.
For those who have an eye for photography, The National Photography Gallery is also based in London is also thoroughly accessible. With lots of courses and talks about applying photography skills and how photography is significant in society, it is a great day out for art lovers and amateur photographers. The building is accessible with a level entrance, a lift to all floors and an adapted bathroom.
For those who find a trip to the capital daunting, there are lots of places to view incredible art across the country. The Victoria Art Gallery in the city of Bath is a perfect outing for those who want to see greats like Gainsborough along some local artists like William Scott, who was one of the most celebrated members of the Bath Academy of Art.
The gallery is accessible, with a level entrance on Bridge Street that has an automated door. There is an accessible toilet on the first floor and a lift with space for one wheelchair at a time that ensures that visitors would have access to the entire collection. For those still concerned by the accessibility, there is a downloadable guide that can be found here.
People living further north should consider a day out to York Art Gallery. This is a fantastic gallery for those who are not just interested in paintings, as it offers a huge number of pieces of decorative art. Following Yorkshire’s history of pottery and ceramics, the Yorkshire Art Gallery has a collection of not only the giants of European ceramics like Delft, Rockingham and Creamware but also a selection from further afield including China and Korea.
That is not to say that the gallery is lacking in traditional paintings, as it is famous for its extensive range of Western European art. With British paintings dating from Elizabethan times to 14th-century Italian altarpieces and 17th Century Dutch morality paintings, there is a lot on offer, especially for those interested in art history.
In regards to accessibility, the York Art Gallery has done its utmost to ensure everyone is able to enjoy its facilities. On entering, there are two ramps on either side of the gallery’s main entrance on Exhibition Square. This is coupled with a power-assisted door for complete ease. There are two accessible bathrooms, one on the first and one on the ground floor. A manual wheelchair is available and mobility scooters are welcomed. One thing to bear in mind is there is no parking on the premises, though there is a drop-off point.
Not all find the old masters enthralling, so for people who only truly feel their blood stirred by modern art, head to Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) in Glasgow. As the most-visited modern art gallery in Scotland, the GoMA continues to delight visitors. With lots of exhibitions available, Inner City is an exhibition that is open until 11th November 2018 and it explores questions about the modern city, hidden communities and cultural identity. Artists like Alberta Whittle and Mitch Miller make sure that visitors challenge their perceptions as local artists and those from further afield are melded into a cohesive installation.
The entrance to GoMA has a ramp and assisted doors and with wheelchairs available for hire. There is a spacious lift that offers access to all floors and an accessible toilet that according to Euan’s Guide users is a decent size. Though there is no parking due to its central location, good public transport that allows relatively easy access to the attraction.
The West Country has long been associated with the art community, especially since Turner’s 1811 armchair travel guide brought to the public’s attention the region’s hinterlands and fantastic light quality. As both of these appealed to the Romantic Movement (along with cheap rent), communities of poets and painters sprang up along the coast.
The Tate St Ives is a testament to the artistry that flows in Cornwall and it holds the national collection of British art from 1500 to the present day. With famous works like Sir John Everett Millais’ ‘Ophelia’ and John Singer Sargent’s ‘Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose’ set against the ‘Lobster Telephone’ by Salvador Dali, it is an eclectic mix that is sure to delight any visitor.
Accessible parking is available at Tate St Ives though it is advised to call ahead and reserve the space. There are also wheelchairs available at the entrance that you can ring in advance and reserve. The entrance to the gallery has a ramp suitable for wheelchairs and there is both a lift and an accessible bathroom within.