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SPRI logoScott Polar Research Institute

Department of Geography, University of Cambridge


Accessibility at the Polar Museum

Accessibility at the Polar Museum

We will be happy to help make your visit as enjoyable as we can.

If you have any accessibility requirements, please let us know before your visit. We can offer one to one guiding but this will need to be booked in advance.

Opening hours

The Museum is open from 10.00am-4.00pm, Tuesday to Saturday, and is also open on Good Friday, Easter Monday and all bank holidays. The Museum is closed on Sundays and Mondays (except bank holidays) and between Christmas and New Year. Admission is free and all are welcome.

Getting here

The Museum is located on Lensfield Road, close to the centre of Cambridge, and occupies the ground floor of the Scott Polar Research Institute.

Free accessible parking is available for visitors with disabilities in the Scott Polar Research Institute’s car park, via an entrance barrier. Please contact us to book this space in advance.

Alternatively roadside parking outside the museum is also free for blue badge holders.

Buses Citi 1, 3, 7, 13 and 132 and the Babraham Road Park and Ride bus all stop in Station Road, just around the corner from Lensfield Road.

The Museum is roughly a 10 minute walk from the railway station. Please be aware that the pavement is along a busy main road which is heavily used by cars, buses and cyclists and can be very noisy. There are several Pelican Crossings located along the way which can become crowded.

Once on Lensfield Road, there is a pair of black gates which welcome you into a small sculpture garden in front of the building. To the left is a bronze sculpture of a nude man and to the right a bronze sculpture of a husky. A few metres forward from the gates, directly in front of the main entrance, is a stone platform, stepped on three sides with three steps, leading to the wooden entrance doors. Each set of steps has a pair of chrome handrails.

Alternatively, there is step-free access via a ramp from the Institute car park to the right of the building. To reach this entrance, turn right inside the gates, and follow the paved path through the sculpture garden and around to the left, along the right side of the building. The Ramp is tucked in beside a life-size replica of the James Caird, Shackleton’s lifeboat.

Inside the museum entrance

When you enter via the main entrance you will step into a bright hall will a slate paved floor. Take the right-hand glass door ahead of you. This will open automatically as you approach and will slide from right to left. The reception desk is through this door, to your right. Please let our volunteers know if you require any further access support during your visit.

Please be aware that most of the collection is very fragile so is behind glass. However we have torches and magnifying sheets to assist with viewing. We also have a couple of replica artefacts which can be handled, a booklet of tactile drawings which come from photographs taken on the Shackleton Expeditions to the Antarctic, tactile drawings of the James Caird and a tactile plan of the museum layout. Please ask at the reception desk if you would like to use any of these resources during your visit.

The Museum has one fully-accessible toilet.

Before your visit

You may wish to listen to this short audio description which gives you more information about the museum and the layout of the building during your visit.

There is no wifi currently available to visitors, however copies of this audio file will also be available from the museum reception desk operated through an audio handset.

Here are 10 audio descriptions of objects from our Shackleton collection, most of which are currently on display. If you would like to be directed to a specific object during your visit please ask at reception and our volunteers will be happy to guide you to it. Again, these will also be available from the museum reception desk operated through an audio handset.

You can also find here detailed films of artefacts from the Shackleton collections which are all subtitled and which provide further information about the objects.

We welcome feedback on the access resources available and especially if there is anything we can do to make your visit more enjoyable.