Art day-trips from London

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

0

Comments

Add +

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 the 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!

  • Bexhill

    'Ivan Chermayeff: Cut and Paste'

    You may not know the name, but you will have seen Ivan Chermayeff’s work: the eightysomething, London-born designer has created some of the most famous logos ever, including the multicoloured NBC peacock and Mobil’s bright red ‘o’. Focusing on his scrap-paper collages (such as ‘Geisha’, pictured), this show reveals a more personal side to the brand-identity guru. It’s something of a family affair too: Chermayeff’s son, Sam, has designed the show and his late father, Serge, was one of the architects behind Bexhill’s iconic De La Warr Pavilion – a quintessentially curvy example of ice-cream-coloured 1930s modernism perched by the beach (great ice cream at the chippy over the road, by the way).

    De La Warr Pavilion, East Sussex TN40 1DP. www.dlwp.com. Train from Victoria one hour
    40 minutes.
    Until Sep 14. Free.

    Bexhill
  • Chichester

    'The Scottish Colourist: JD Fergusson'

    Head to Chichester and you’ll find yourself in Scotland by way of France a century ago. Born in Leith, near Edinburgh, in 1874, John Duncan Fergusson came of artistic age in Paris during the 1900s, as is searingly evident in his paintings of pneumatic nudes and proto-cubist landscapes, all of which owe a debt to Picasso, Matisse and Derain. Fergusson returned to Britain and lived in Glasgow but remained under the influence of Paris: his later work seems like wistful memories of more radiant times. With a fine permanent collection of British modern art, a restaurant that’s perfect for a posh lunch and ace art books for sale in the shop, Pallant House is the perfect place to lose a few leisurely hours. While in Chichester, check out paintings by Graham Sutherland and John Piper, and a stained-glass window by Marc Chagall in what is perhaps the most modernism-friendly cathedral in the country.

    Pallant House Gallery, 9 North Pallant, PO19 1TJ. www.pallant.org.uk. Train from Victoria one hour 32 minutes. d Oct 19. £8.50-£9.50; free-£6 concs.

    Chichester
  • Colchester

    Bruce Mclean

    This feisty Scottish artist was an early advocate of conceptual art in 1960s Britain. A student of Sir Anthony Caro at St Martin’s, McLean is known for challenging the conventions of sculpture, often taking his work out on to the streets away from the confines of the studio or gallery. Covering his five-decade career, this exhibition presents documentation of early performance works alongside recent paintings and a monumental public commission. Also you’ll get to experience the prowess of Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly, who designed Firstsite and recently devised the masterplan for the Battersea Power Station redevelopment.


    Firstsite, Essex, CO1 1JH. www. firstsite.uk.net. Rail from Liverpool St (50 mins). Until Sep 21

    Colchester
  • Eastbourne

    'Designing the Everyday'

    The concrete-and-glass, Rick Mather-designed Towner is an unabashedly contemporary presence in sleepy Eastbourne, but its programme is usually split between the present and the gran-pleasing past. Revisiting an exhibition held at Harrods in the 1930s, ‘Designing the Everyday’ looks at the meeting of fine art and the dinner table in the form of cutlery, crockery and linen designed by Paul Nash, Graham Sutherland and Laura Knight. Objects from the original show are supplemented with creations from the period by the likes of Edward Bawden and Eric Ravilious, drawn from Towner’s fine collection. Bringing the theme up to date are arty homewares by Angie Lewin, Mark Hearld and St Jude’s (pictured). Also look out for local talent in the East Sussex Open and Simon Roberts’s photographs of all the remaining pleasure piers in the country, including Eastbourne’s before its recent blaze.

    Towner, Devonshire Park, College Rd, BN21 4JJ. www.townereastbourne.org.uk. Train from Victoria one hour 25 minutes. Until Aug 31 (East Sussex Open until Sep 14). Free.

    Eastbourne
  • Hastings

    'Quentin Blake: Artists on the Beach'

    The dark exterior of the Jerwood Gallery echoes the famous tall fishermen’s net huts of Hastings. So it’s apt that Jerwood has launched its drawing festival with ‘Artists on the Beach’, a display by Kent-born illustrator Quentin Blake. Responding to works by Walter Sickert and LS Lowry, Blake finds inspiration in the permanent collection, reimagining the lives of the artists played out by the East Sussex seaside. This mini-showcase coincides with ‘Drawn Together’, an exhibition featuring selectors of the acclaimed Jerwood Drawing Prize. Works by Michael Craig-Martin and Rachel Whiteread illustrate the importance of drawing to their work. The overall effect will stimulate the doodler in all of us.

    Jerwood Gallery, East Sussex, TN34 3DW. www.jerwoodgallery.org. Train from Charing Cross/Victoria/St Pancras International one hour 30 minutes. Until Oct 15. £8, £3.50-£5.50 concs.

    Hastings
  • Margate

    'Mondrian and Colour'

    Seventy years after his death, Piet Mondrian is being celebrated up and down the country this summer. In ‘Mondrian and His Studios’ (until October 5) Tate Liverpool concentrates on the development of the Dutch artist’s grids. Closer to home, Turner Contemporary’s ‘Mondrian and Colour’ takes a chromatically focused look at his entire output – from early studies of dunes, flower fields, churches and windmills (such as ‘Oostzijdse Mill with Extended Blue, Yellow and Purple Sky', 1907-1908, pictured) to a surprising late self-portrait made long after he was thought to have given up figuration for good. This revelatory show is more than enough reason to visit Margate, but you’ll also find an installation by scholarly pot man Edmund du Waal, plus a giant cloud sculpture and light work by American artist Spencer Finch which are inspired by the Kent coast and its most famous painter, Turner himself.

    Turner Contemporary, Rendezvous, CT9 1HG. www.turnercontemporary.org. High-speed train from St Pancras International one hour 28 minutes. Until Sep 21. Free.

    Margate
  • Perry Green

    'Body & Void: Echoes of Moore in Contemporary Art'

    When Henry Moore escaped London during WWII, he headed north, renting half a farmhouse in the Hertfordshire hamlet of Perry Green. He liked the place so much that over the subsequent decades he pretty much bought the entire village. Today, it’s a well-manicured mecca for Moore devotees, complete with a studio left as if Henry had just downed tools for a tea break and extensive grounds in which to admire his mammoth sculptures (as well as the sheep that frolic among them). No contemporary art show held here is going to take the mick out of the maestro, but ‘Body & Void’ is full of refreshingly irreverent but generally affectionate responses to Moore that have been made over the years, from Joseph Beuys’s twisted rubber band in a box that resembles one of Moore’s famous reclining figures (‘Sculpture by Henry Moore by Beuys’, 1961) to Keith Coventry’s motorised slab of meaty bronze (‘Kebab Machine I’, 1998) and Paul McDevitt's gorgeous pencil drawing of a Moore-esque sculpture silhouetted against a firework speckled sky (pictured). Time your visit to coincide with the shuttle bus unless you fancy a pricey taxi ride from the station.

    The Henry Moore Foundation, SG10 6EE. www.henry-moore.org/pg. Train from Liverpool St to Bishop’s Stortford 41 minutes then free shuttle bus. Until Oct 26. £11.30-£16, £5.90-£13 concs.

    Perry Green
  • Folkestone (from Aug 30)

    'Folkestone Triennial: Lookout'

    Since 2008, the Folkestone Triennial that has rejuvenated the Kent coastline into an art destination. Now in its third edition, the triennial returns with 'Lookout', an exhibition of ambitious commissions which are sited outside in various locations around the town. Forget the gallery, here the streets are where the art is at. The derelict harbour railway station will be illuminated by Tim Etchells’ neon work, the late Ian Hamilton Finlay emblazons the lighthouse with a previously unrealised work, Krijn de Koning has infiltrated a Victorian grotto to create a labyrinthine installation and Gabriel Lester’s bamboo structure (pictured) gives visitors a fresh perspective of this flourishing seaside town.

    Folkestone Triennial, Kent, CT20 1BN. www.folkestonetriennial.org.uk. High speed rail from St Pancras International (57 mins). Aug 30 to Nov 2.

    Folkestone (from Aug 30)

Bexhill

'Ivan Chermayeff: Cut and Paste'

You may not know the name, but you will have seen Ivan Chermayeff’s work: the eightysomething, London-born designer has created some of the most famous logos ever, including the multicoloured NBC peacock and Mobil’s bright red ‘o’. Focusing on his scrap-paper collages (such as ‘Geisha’, pictured), this show reveals a more personal side to the brand-identity guru. It’s something of a family affair too: Chermayeff’s son, Sam, has designed the show and his late father, Serge, was one of the architects behind Bexhill’s iconic De La Warr Pavilion – a quintessentially curvy example of ice-cream-coloured 1930s modernism perched by the beach (great ice cream at the chippy over the road, by the way).

De La Warr Pavilion, East Sussex TN40 1DP. www.dlwp.com. Train from Victoria one hour
40 minutes.
Until Sep 14. Free.


Get outta town: art day-trips venues

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

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

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

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

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

Map of the art day-trip destinations

Top art features

London art exhibitions calendar

A handy calendar of the must-see art shows coming to town this year

Art interviews

We talk to the biggest names and emerging talent in the art world

Latest art reviews

Find out what our critics make of London's new exhibitions

Top 10 art exhibitions

Our critics' pick of the must-see art exhibitions in town this season


Users say

0 comments

Top art features

London art exhibitions calendar

A handy calendar of the must-see art shows coming to town this year

Art interviews

We talk to the biggest names and emerging talent in the art world

Latest art reviews

Find out what our critics make of London's new exhibitions

Top 10 art exhibitions

Our critics' pick of the must-see art exhibitions in town this season

Art interviews

Elina Brotherus

The Finnish artist talks '12 Ans Après'

Wangechi Mutu

The New York-based artist talks about her richly collaged works and how porn isn't her cup of tea

Dexter Dalwood

The painter talks about ‘drug spaces’, sharing titles with Taylor Swift and the timeless allure of the Thames

Allen Jones

The pop artist talks about working with Kate Moss and how everyone’s got an opinion on sex