This review of the wheelchair accessibility of the British Museum is from Summer 2023.
The British Museum is a must-see for any duration of a stay in London. It houses some of the world’s greatest treasures—the Rosetta Stone, Elgin Marbles/Parthenon Sculptures, Egyptian mummies, Easter Island head (moai), Assyrian reliefs, precious jewels, books of wonder, etc. Thankfully, it is also very wheelchair accessible and friendly.
Booking Wheelchair Accessible tickets
You need to book a free ticket with a timed entry from the British Museum’s website—the tickets do sell out, so I suggest booking at least a day or two in advance. My experience was the timed entry didn’t matter—the museum just wants a way to limit total access for crowds, and to encourage people to go at different times. I didn’t see people checking (and certainly not denying) for the time of entry on anyone’s tickets.
Wheelchair Accessible Entrances
There are two accessible entrances. The first is the iconic main entrance, which has massive crowds taking photos. It is accessed via a glass elevator on the left side of the stairs. The second entrance is in the back, which has a small shed for security and minimal lines—I scooted through with no wait whatsoever.
Wheelchair Accessibility of Exhibits
The main atrium is a showstopper. Truly breathtaking, and a fun place to recharge or plan your route. There are wheelchair accessible bathrooms in the middle section, as well as an elevator that takes you up to the café. The main atrium serves as the center of the museum, and you can either walk the hallways/galleries that surround it, or cut through the main atrium to access the other side faster.
All of the exhibits are wheelchair accessible. The Rosetta Stone is always very busy, but I’ve been able to get right up to it just by waiting and pushing forward as people move away. There will be people who cut in front or block your view from the wheelchair, but civility is not all lost—most people will move/help you move forward.
The Parthenon Sculptures/Elgin Marbles are up a small flight of stairs, but there is a lift to get up the stairs. I tried to use it on my own, and could not get it to stop at the top floor—it kept going all the way up and then going down just a little…which means the safety lock would not disengage. I asked for assistance, and a very friendly staff member was happy to assist. He was knowledgeable about the lift, and knew how to time it so the lock disengaged. He then went about other duties, but was generally aware of me so he could assist without my having to ask again. It was a very professional way of being available, but not pressuring me to hurry up with viewing one of the main features
The other floors were all easily accessible via elevators, which were in multiple locations and generally operational. Some of the exhibits were more crowded than others, but all were doable…with enough patience.
The wheelchair accessibility of the British Museum is very good, and a fun exploration. The museum is huge, but the maps show the highlights at each floor. I was able to see all of the highlights (plus many others) in a few hours, but could spend days just exploring the halls.