Art day-trips from London

We round up the best arty excursions within easy reach of the capital

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Hall Place and Gardens

Hall Place and Gardens © Bexley Heritage Trust

As much as we love London for its museums and galleries, sometimes a day out is what's called for, which is why we've selected our favourite art-filled trips out of town. All eight excursions listed below, including Turner Contemporary in Margate, Pallant House Gallery in Chichester and The Henry Moore Foundation in Perry Green, are within an hour and a half of the capital by train, so pick your destination then get planning!

Get outta town!

Bexley: Hall Place and Gardens

Originally built in 1537 this Grade I listed Tudor building offers a wealth of activities for its visitors from open air theatre and concerts, to wildlife events and craft fairs. Restored to its former glory, Hall Place provides an insight to a time passed through its original features and interactive games designed to bring to life the history of the building. Boasting 65 hectares of gardens visitors can stroll amid rose beds, wander through the vast green houses or simply enjoy a drink at the Riverside Café.

  1. Bourne Rd, DA5 1PQ
More info
Inside the Bourne Maquette Studio, Perry Green

Inside the Bourne Maquette Studio, Perry Green © Jonty Wilde by permission of The Henry Moore Foundation

Perry Green: The Henry Moore Foundation

The home of Henry Moore for more than 40 years, Perry Green opens its doors to visitors annually between the months of April through October. Boasting a vast sculpture garden, Moore’s original studios and Hoglands; the family home which was publicly opened in 2007, Perry Green allows visitors to immerse themselves in the life and work of Henry Moore.

  1. Perry Green, Much Hadham, SG10 6EE
More info

Photo: Nick Gutteridge

Margate: Turner Contemporary

  • Free

Bold and dramatic, the Turner Contemporary art gallery designed by David Chipperfield opened in April 2011. Situated on the Margate harbour, the building stands in the same place as the famous ‘Cold Harbour’ guesthouse in which Turner stayed on his many visits to Margate. The views of the North Kent Coast and Thanet light that can be seen from the gallery are the same views which inspired much of Turner’s work. Whilst ensuring to always have at least one of Turner’s works on display at the gallery, the Turner Contemporary has no permanent collection and instead relies on loans from other galleries and its dynamic temporary exhibitions.

  1. 17-18 The Parade, CT9 1EY
More info

Photo: Richard Bryant, www.arcaidimages.com

Colchester: Firstsite

  • Free

Firstsite is a visual arts organisation founded in 1994 exhibiting both established and emerging artists. Based in Colchester, the crescent shaped building which appears to weave around the natural landscape, reflecting light on its shimmering copper-aluminium cladded exterior is the vision of the design competition winner Uruguayan architect Rafael Vinoly. Through its extensive programme of exhibitions, events, screenings and workshops, Firstsite aims to make contemporary art accessible to all.

  1. Lewis Gardens, High St, CO1 1JH
More info

Photo: Daniel Clements

Eastbourne: Towner

Towner is a contemporary art museum best known for its collection of modern British art including an extensive body of work by Eric Ravilions. The museum was born in the early 1920s when 22 paintings were bequeathed by John Chisholm Towner with the intention of forming a public art collection. Originally opening to the public in 1923, the Towner collection grew from 22 works to now around 4000. In 2009 the new Towner building was opened in order to accommodate the expansion and today the museum offers a rotating permanent collection as well as temporary exhibitions, free daily guided tours and is currently working on getting their entire collection available to view online.

  1. Devonshire Park, College Rd, BN21 4JJ
More info

© De La Warr Pavilion Photo:Bridget Smith

Bexhill-on-Sea: De La Warr Pavilion

Commissioned in 1935, the Grade I listed De La Warr Pavilion is the UK’s first Modernist building. Designed by Erich Mendelsohn and Serge Chermayeff, this bold concrete and steel structure reopened in 2007 after an £8 million restoration project. With no permanent collection, the De La Warr’s versatile exhibition space offers a dynamic programme of cultural events by exhibiting some of the most contemporary talent, art, and live performances.

  1. Marina, TN40 1DP
More info

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