Accessing Our Building

An image of the RWA building from the outside with the new lift structure

The new lift is capable of carrying 4 wheelchair users and their companions

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The lift is capable of carrying 4 wheelchair users and their companions

Every floor of the gallery can be accessed via the lift. On the ground floor the lift is located to the left in the cafe

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Image of Changing Places Facility with heigh adjustable basin, hoist and table

The Changing Places facility can be found on the lower ground floor

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The Family Activity Space is a large rim with different creative activities for the whole family

The free Family Activity Space is available for all to use and filled with books, art materials and activities

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The welcome desk is positioned to the right as you enter the building, there are two screens displaying ticket prices, whats on and a British Sign Language introduction to the RWA

Our front of house team are at the Welcome Desk and are available to provide any further information about access

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An image of clear plastic sensory bags filled with sensory activities like fidget toys, noise cancelling headphones and hand puppets

A sensory bag can be requested at the Welcome Desk for the duration of your visit

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Accessing Our Building 

We aim to make all visitors welcome in our building and committed to providing full and equal access for everyone.

We understand that access needs are broad and diverse and can include physical, sensory, emotional, intellectual and financial needs.

Access Guide

Our Access Guide (PDF) containing information and photos of the RWA building can be downloaded in advance or viewed during your visit.

Welcome Area

As you enter the building, you will find the Welcome Desk to your right. Here, staff and volunteers will be happy to assist you. There is a BSL welcome video at the Welcome Desk. At the desk, there are also lockers to leave any bags or coats. The lockers are a pound each and need a coin to use. You can also pick up a sensory bag to borrow for your visit.


We have a fully accessible lift, capable of taking four wheelchairs, available for your use.  The lift gives access from the ground floor to the lower ground floor and the first floor galleries. The artwork on the cladding is by Peter Randall-Page RA RWA (B. 1954) Espaliered Tree, 2022 Enamel, commissioned with funding from the Art Fund as part of the RWA Light & Inspiration project, 2021-22. 

We also have a small lift designed for accommodating a single wheelchair, providing accessibility from the corridor to the lower ground floor as an alternative to using the staircase with six steps.

Accessible Toilets

Accessible toilets are located on the ground floor and lower ground floor, as well as a full Changing Places facility and baby-change facility on the lower ground floor.

Changing Places Facility

A fully equipped Changing Places toilet facility is located on the lower ground floor, including changing table, hoist and wet room.

Family Activity Space

The Family Activity Space is a vibrant, interactive family friendly area full of creative activities, aimed at all children, including those with additional needs. This space is free to enter.

Happy Packs

RWA Happy Packs are sensory bags are for you to borrow for the duration of your visit. SEN+D children and adults or anyone who would like a pack to make their visit more comfortable are welcome to take one. Please make sure to return your Happy Pack at the end of your visit.

The Happy Packs are see-through shoulder bags that contain: a puppet (horse, unicorn, ram or peacock) - all animals you can find at the RWA, PECS communication symbols and Velcro board, ear defenders, coloured Perspex lenses, sensory toy, pop fidget toy, plastic mirror and view finder

Quiet Room

The Youngwood Room is a calm, quiet environment should you need time out during your visit. In the room there are beanbags, comfy chairs and audio for white noise or music if required. There is a dark tent and weighted blanket to aid calming and soothing. 

The room serves more than one purpose and therefore is a bookable space, however, we know that for some people booking in advance is not possible. You are welcome to turn up for your gallery visit and ask at the Welcome Desk if the Youngwood Room happens to be free. If it is, you can book it there and then. The room is always available to be used as a Quiet Space on Fridays and Saturdays from 10am to 12.30pm without booking.*

To book the Youngwood Room for 1 or 2 hours, please contact with QUIET ROOM in the subject line stating your requested visit date and time.*

*Please note: This space will not be available to use from 12 - 31 August.

British Sign Language (BSL) Welcome

Getting Around

The listed building is fully wheelchair accessible, with level access to the Shop and Cafe on the ground floor, and lift access to all Galleries and to our accessible Changing Places Facility on the lower floor. A manually operated wheelchair is also available to borrow during your visit. 

There is bench seating in each of the galleries, and folding stools are available to borrow. 

Buggy and Mobility Scooter Parking

There is a designated area to leave buggies within the Cafe and padlocks are available at the Welcome Desk (deposit required). Mobility scooters may book to use the accessible parking space as detailed below in the Getting Here information.

Guide Dogs and Assistance Dogs

The RWA welcomes guide and assistance dogs, but we regret that we cannot allow other dogs into the building. 

Accessible Tours

Accessible tours are available including;

  • BSL Tours
  • Described Tours
  • Dementia-friendly Tours
  • Bring Your Baby buggy tours

Please visit our What's On section for upcoming Accessible Tours.

We're Here to Help

The RWA staff and volunteer team are available to assist you during your visit. Please call the Welcome Desk on0117 973 5129 for any specific requirements or accessibility questions. For more information you can view and download our Access Guide. You can also download a copy of our Access statement available at the bottom of this page.

Getting Here

Accessible Parking

There is one accessible parking space at the RWA. This can be booked in advance of your visit by calling 0117 973 5129 or emailing and is subject to availability.

Minibus drop-offs

Groups who need to get as close as possible to the entrance may be dropped off on the forecourt, but please note this should be by prior appointment by contacting our Visitor Experience Manager on 0117 973 5129. Minibuses can then park using the limited on-street parking nearby (pay and display). Please note tickets are required for the exhibition.


Your Visit

Times, prices, directions and more

Tickets and Art Passes

Find out more about our tickets and memberships

Getting Here

Detailed information on transport and parking

What's On

Experience art exhibitions, events, art classes and family workshops at Bristol's first art gallery and across the city