Accessibility information

Find out more about accessibility at the museum.


The approach to the main front entrance from Claremont Road is tarmac, paving and resin bonded gravel on paths. Currently, you can access the front entrance doorways in two ways:

  • The accessible ramp on the left side of the building, which has two accessible routes: one from Claremont Road and one at the front left corner of the museum. These routes provide level access to the front entrance with power assisted doors. Here you will also find the Reception Desk and shop area.
  • A stepped route up the front stairs to the power assisted doors.
  • NB - the external platform lift on the right side of the entrance is out of service until September 2022 due to the scaffolding which has been erected for repointing works. This lift normally provides level access through power assisted doors to the entrance of the museum.

The Reception Desk for the museum can be found at the main (front) entrance.

Blue Badge parking

If you have a Blue Badge, there are currently two accessible parking bays at the front right corner of the museum you can use (NB - an additional two bays are out of service until September 2022 due to ongoing building works). If these are occupied please ask at the Reception Desk or call (0191) 208 6765 and we will try to find you a space in the private staff car park.

You can also drop off at the front entrance plaza at the bottom of the main external stairs, or at the lay-by on Claremont Road. 

There is no other public parking at the museum. 

The nearest public car parking is approximately 300m away on Claremont Road. Go past the museum towards Exhibition Park (north), over the roundabout and you'll find parking on the right. There are also numerous parking spaces in the city centre car parks.

Getting around

Inside the museum you'll find lifts and stairs providing access to all floors. All lifts have voice announcers and Braille indicators. The museum is spread out across the ground floor and first floor. You'll find the Great North Museum: Hancock Library on the 2nd floor in the rear part of the building. This also has lift access.

All floors have level access. Stairs have raised tactile indicators on the underside of the handrails. Stairs also have contrasting nosings.

Large print orientations maps for the museum are available on request at the Reception Desk. You can also request these in advance of your visit.

Accessible toilets

You'll find accessible toilets on the ground, first and second floors of the museum. The accessible toilet at the rear of the museum on the ground floor has a shower with a seat and an adult changing table.


You can find bench seating at the main entrance and within a number of galleries around the museum (Living Planet, Ancient Greeks, Fossil Stories, Ice Age to Iron Age, Ancient Egypt, Mouse House). 

Café seating has a combination of chairs with and without arms. 

There are some external benches in the gardens and spaces for people who use wheelchairs. 

You can also request a portable folding seat to carry with you during your visit.

Borrowing a wheelchair

One wheelchair is available for you to use. Please ask at the Reception Desk.

Public telephone

You can use the shop telephone on request for emergencies or to book accessible taxis.

Gallery plans

You can get standard and large print plans from the Reception Desk.

Pre-visit information

You can click here to download a copy of our visual story to help orientate yourself round the building before visiting.

Additional pre-visit information is coming soon. If you require anything in advance of your visit please call us on (0191) 208 6765 or email

Assistance dogs

Your assistance dogs and guide dogs are welcome. The Reception Desk can provide a bowl of water. 

Family pets are not allowed inside the museum.

Induction loops

Induction points are fitted throughout the museum. You'll find them at the Reception Desk, cafes and interactive points in the galleries.


You'll find a number of audio points in the museum. Video which has spoken narrative is subtitled and has accompanying BSL. Audio points in the Hadrian’s Wall gallery have text versions on the panels. 

If you use a wheelchair, all interactives are accessible for you.

Guided tours

Depending on availability, we may be able to offer guided tours of the museum. 

Please email to discuss your needs.

Fire alarms

The fire alarms have voice evacuation sounders and visual flashing lights. 

Both lifts are designated as fire evacuation lifts and staff will assist you in the event of an emergency. In the event that the lift is out of action, there are evac chairs available. 

If you can't exit the building, you should wait at the fire refuge points at the top of each stairwell (in the four corners of the museum) to await evacuation. 

If you will need assistance to exit the building in the event of a fire alarm, please tell a member of staff.

Times to visit

If you would prefer to have a quieter experience of the museum, we recommend that you avoid the peak times for school visits, which are between 10am and 2.30pm on weekdays during term time. 

We also hold relaxed, autism-friendly openings on dates during school holidays. These are advertised on our What's On page as they become available.

Support materials for your visit

To prepare for your visit, you may like to use our visual stories.

We encourage visitors to bring any support items with them which they may find useful (for example ear defenders) but we also have a stock of items for accessibility support which can be borrowed from our front desk:

  • Ear Defenders (adult and child sizes)
  • Magnifying Sheets
  • Torches
  • Coloured overlay reading rulers
  • Wheelchair lap trays
  • Sensory bags (please note these may also be booked out in advance by schools so please contact the museum in advance if you would like to use one to support your visit).

If you have any other access needs which may require particular support, please do contact the museum before your visit and we will do our best to help!  Please call us on (0191) 208 5121 or email to discuss your needs.