If you’re looking for an excuse to escape the city, a great gallery is an excellent reason to head off for a mini-adventure. Plus, I don’t care what Banksy says, who doesn’t love a gift shop?
Fortunately, a lot of great art galleries are in spots that are worth visiting anyway, which means you really can make a day of it. While we’re all familiar with the excellent art on show in London, it is so important to step out of the bubble and explore the art the rest of the UK has to offer.
Here’s our guide to the best arty days out:
Sitting next to the fishing beach in Hastings’ Old Town, the location of the Jerwood infiltrates the gallery itself, as long, narrow windows offer stunning sea views amongst the art on the walls. The space is home to modern and contemporary British art which sits well in this quintessentially British seaside town of fisherman cottages, arcades and fish and chip shops. When making a day of it, trendy Old Town provides chi-chi shopping and eating.
Margate’s revamp since the arrival of the Turner Contemporary shows no sign of slowing, especially thanks to DreamLand, the retro, sea-front venue offering food, live music, rollerblading and more. Boutique shops and restaurants have popped up, with even the Libertines announcing plans for a hotel in the town at one point. The striking modern white and square gallery gives a graphic like quality against the backdrop of the rustic harbour.
Barbara Hepworth’s beautiful sculptures sit nestled in her former garden, among the rose bushes, her studio and her house, where she lived and she worked from 1949 until her death in 1975. A few minutes from the sea and hidden away behind narrow streets of Cornish cottages, this is a treasure trove to roam and explore. And whilst you’re there, you might as well pop over to the Tate St Ives. More glorious sea views.
With no entry fee and no walls, Yorkshire Sculpture Park is a dog-friendly haven to appreciate beautiful art in the great outdoors. Wander freely whilst using an app to understand the 80 or so art pieces or installations in the grounds. Look out for works by Henry Moore and Joan Miro.
Sitting on the southbank of the Tyne, in an old flour mill, BALTIC is the UK’s largest dedicated space to contemporary art. Whilst there, make the trip to see Anthony Gormley's spectacular Angel of the North or explore the Roman remains’ of Hadrian's wall.
Housed In the old converted Albert dock on Liverpool’s waterfront, with a cafe designed by Peter Blake, vast structures holds artworks from 1500 to the present. A vibrant buzzing city, and a must for any a Beatle fan (take a tour to the see where the fab four grew up), wander up to Liverpool Cathedral to take a look at the 20 ft neon pink Tracey Emin that reads “I felt you, and then I knew you loved me”. Other artists with work in the cathedral include Elisabeth Frink, Craigie Aitchison, Christopher Le Brun and Adrian Wiszniewski. Top tip: drive out to Crosby beach to see dozens of Anthony Gormley figures line the beach, gradually disappearing as the tide comes in, under the waves. Incredibly powerful stuff.
Main image credit: Barbara Hepworth studio, Loop Images via Getty Images