Visitors with disabilities are very welcome. We are in a Grade I listed, 19th-century building, so access to the museum isn't always straightforward.

When planning your visit, it might be useful to know the following:

  • Everything in the Museum is on open display, and we ask visitors not to touch anything
  • There is historic furniture throughout the Museum – please don’t sit on the chairs. Please ask our friendly staff if you need to sit down
  • The Museum has some uneven flooring, with grilles in some places, through which you can see the floor below
  • The walls are covered with objects, some of which are extremely fragile
  • Some areas are dark and narrow

Please get in touch before your visit and we’ll do everything we can to make sure you have a positive experience.

If you need any further information on accessibility, please contact us on 020 7405 2107, or email admin@soane.org.uk.

Physically disabled visitors TOP

We ask that you contact us ahead of your visit by calling 020 7405 2107, so we can make sure we have staff on hand to help.

We have an internal and an external platform lift for step-free access to all floors. A member of staff will accompany any visitors wishing to use the lifts. 

Inside, standard wheelchairs are usually too big for our narrow corridors and doorways, so visitors with wheelchairs larger than 41cm wide, 84cm deep and a height of 82cm, will be asked to transfer to our own specially manufactured narrow wheelchairs.

If you use crutches or a walking stick, you’ll be able to go everywhere inside, but our spaces are too narrow for walking frames. If you’d like to borrow one of our custom wheelchairs, please ask.

 

Blind and partially-sighted visitors TOP

If you’d like an audio or touch tour of the museum, please book this in advance and we’ll make sure it’s ready for your arrival.

Ask us if you’d like to borrow large-print copies of exhibition labels and panels. We can also offer a large-print or braille version of our short guide to the museum.

We advise visiting during the day, because we use very little artificial light. We can sometimes offer torches or additional overhead lighting though, so please ask us.

We’ve developed our guide dog policy with advice from the Guide Dogs Association. If you use an assistance dog, we recommend leaving them with us in a designated safe space (where they’ll have plenty of water) during your visit.

To bring your dog with you into the Museum, you have to be accompanied by a member of staff, both for your dog’s safety and your own. So please let us know by calling  020 7405 2107 that you’ll be visiting so we can make sure someone is available.

Deaf and hard of hearing visitors TOP

We offer induction loops at the front desk and in our shop.

We can also set up induction loops for seated lectures, talks and events – please let us know when you book.

Visitors with learning disabilities TOP

Please download our easy read information guide, below, developed by members of The Camden Advocacy Project.

We have printed copies to borrow in the Museum as well.

Online Accessibility TOP

Sir John Soane's Museum is committed to complying not only with the principles of the Equality Act 2010 but also with its own policy of making web-based information, services and resources accessible to all its intended audiences, regardless of disability and in accordance with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) guidelines. We have endeavoured to conform to all the presented guidelines in W3C’s level AA wherever possible - across both the Museum and the Museum’s Collection Online.

The content for the website and Collection Online has been designed to provide consistent and simple navigation, ease of reading and understanding. Readability is given using light backgrounds with dark body copy. Furthermore, it's possible to increase (or even decrease) the size of all the text on the pages of most websites. You can do this by using the font size controls integrated in your web browser. Web browsers all do this differently, but in general you should look at the options in the browser's 'View' menu, failing which, consult your browser's Help documentation. Here are some specific instructions for some of the more popular browsers:

  • Chrome (Mac and PC). Go to the 'Preferences' menu and either click the 'Zoom In' or 'Zoom Out' menu items, or alternatively you can use the CTRL key with the plus or minus to increase or decrease the size
  • Firefox (Mac and PC). Go to the 'View' menu and either click the 'Increase Text Size' or 'Decrease Text Size' menu items, or alternatively you can use the CTRL key with the plus or minus to increase or decrease the size
  • Internet Explorer 9/10/11/ Edge (PC). Go to the 'View' menu, 'Text Size', and select your desired setting. The default is medium. Alternatively, if you have a mouse with a wheel you can hold the CTRL key on your keyboard whilst scrolling up or down with the wheel to alter the text size. Please note: we are no longer actively supporting Internet Explorer 6/7/8. To upgrade please download the latest version from Microsoft. In Edge, click the More Actions button (top right of the browser). You can either scroll down to the 'Zoom' function and use the '+' or '-' options OR click Settings at the very bottom and scroll down to the Reading section. Here you will find two drop-down menus; one for the theme dubbed ‘Reading View Style’ and the other for the text size dubbed 'Reading view font size’. From the reading view style, you can choose from one of four styles; default, light, medium, and dark. The styles refer to the background colour for the page and the contrasting text colour. The Reading view font size lets you choose from one of four text sizes; small, medium, large, and extra large.
  • Opera (Mac and PC). Use the 'Zoom' function in the bottom right hand corner of the browser
  • Safari (Mac). Go the 'View' menu and use the 'Make Text Bigger' and 'Make Text Smaller' menu items. Alternatively you can use the option key with + or - to increase or decrease the text size. Please note: we are no longer actively supporting Safari (for PC)

An integral part of the content design of our Website and Online Collection is the extensive use of high-quality images. For users with text-only browsers, images will always contain descriptive text known as alt-tags. Images can be understood by text browsers and assistive technologies such as screen readers. If an image is used for simply decorative purposes, the text attribute for the image is left empty in line with accepted best practice.

For further information on more specialist equipment and software for the blind, please visit the products section of the RNIB website.

For more information on improving access to the arts for deaf and disabled people, please visit the SHAPE website.

The AbilityNet website has information, fact sheets and step-by-step guides on approaches and technology to help with keyboard and mouse difficulties.