Amazing art collection within an old but accessible building
This review is especially helpful for those who have or use the following: Powerchair
The Courtauld gallery is a hidden treasure situated at the front entrance to Somerset House on The Strand. The building is beautiful and old and I was pleasantly surprised by how accessible it was to a wheelchair user. I am not a great art lover but the collection is large and varied with paintings from 15th to 20th Century by many of the great masters - see website. It costs only £8.50 (including carer) for the day, has a small cafe serving a limited but reasonably priced menu, a shop (which I did not visit) and an accessible toilet. There is one blue badge parking bay at Somerset house which can be booked in advance (see website). All the staff at the entrance, security and cafe were welcoming and very helpful.
Transport & Parking
There is one blue badge parking space at Somerset House. Call in advance to book. I went by train to Waterloo and it is only a 12/15 minute wheel/walk over Waterloo bridge to The Strand entrance to the gallery.
There are steps into the gallery but I emailed in advance and I was advised how to access the gallery. On arrival at Somerset House the Courtauld Gallery is at the entrance on the right under the archway. There is normally a member of the security team to greet you and if not you can telephone 020 7848 2531. You are then taken around the corner to a separate door with ramped access (see photo). Once inside there are steps to the ground floor but a platform stair lift is used to take you to the ground floor (see photo) where there is a lift to all floors except the mezzanine which can only be accessed by a separate ramp (I did not have time to visit). The staff were exceptionally friendly and helpful.
There is a large accessible clean toilet on the lower ground floor near to the cafe. Toilet, sink and towel dispenser were easy to reach and there was plenty of room to turn around.
The member of the security staff who opened the doors and operated the platform stair lift was very friendly and helpful. The administrative staff who emailed me and greeted me on arrival was also helpful and kind and at the end of our visit made sure to ask us whether we had enjoyed our visit. The cafe staff were also very friendly and really thoughtful. The staff really made the day.
Anything else you wish to tell us?
A great day out at an amazingly quiet gallery in a beautiful old building with wonderful architecture and ceilings. The cafe was very small and a little cramped but on a sunny day there is a lovely courtyard terrace (not accessible) which will hopefully be used and allow more space inside. I will definitely return to see more pictures and enjoy the excellent and friendly service.