Art day-trips from London
We round up the best arty excursions within easy reach of the capital
© 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!
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.
- Bourne Rd, DA5 1PQ
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.
- Perry Green, Much Hadham, SG10 6EE
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.
- 17-18 The Parade, CT9 1EY
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.
- Lewis Gardens, High St, CO1 1JH
Made up of seven exhibition rooms and housing a collection of 20th and 21st century art, the Jerwood Gallery is one of the UK’s major collections of Modern British Art. Overlooking the fishing beach in the Old Town of Hastings, the permanent collection at Jerwood includes paintings and prints by Lawrence Stephen Lowry, Sir Stanley Spencer and Augustus John. The Foreshore Gallery, situated on the ground floor, is the home of regularly changing temporary exhibitions showcasing some of the best modern and contemporary British visual arts.
- Rock-a-Nore Rd, Hastings, TN34 3DW
Reflected even in its architecture; a combination of a Grade I listed townhouse dating back to 1712 and a contemporary wing added in 2006, Pallant House Gallery creates a perfect contrast between Modern British Art and its central location in the old historic city of Chichester. Pallant House is home to some of the best works of Modern British Art housing both temporary and permanent exhibitions ranging from Post-Impressionist works by Walter Sickert, to Surrealist pieces by John Armstrong and Eileen Agar, to Peter Blake’s Pop Art. In addition to the permanent collection and exhibitions, Pallant House offers a varied programme of workshops, talks and events.
- 9 North Pallant, PO19 1TJ
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.
- Devonshire Park, College Rd, BN21 4JJ
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.
- Marina, TN40 1DP
Map of the art day-trip destinations
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