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Stock photo of art gallery, London, for Art Fund campaign

Meet the new you for 2019: artfully inclined and altogether calmer

Win over the New Year before it’s really started with the National Art Pass

By Time Out in association with Art Fund

Let’s face it. You’re probably not going to stick to those New Year’s resolutions of hitting the gym seven times a week, learning Norwegian and mastering the saxophone. Here’s one resolution you’ll want to stick to: see more art.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? The good news is that it absolutely can be with a National Art Pass from Art Fund, the national fundraising charity for art.

With the National Art Pass, you’ll have art on tap – and you’ll soon be hooked. As a bonus, you’ll also save a ton of cash, as the pass gives you free entry to over 240 museums, galleries and historic houses across the UK, plus a hefty 50 percent off entry to major exhibitions, including those at some of London’s most well-known venues.

All that artfulness comes for only £70 for individual membership, or if you fancy kicking-off 2019 with a dose of goodwill, you can add a Plus One for just £38, meaning that a pal or loved one gets the same benefits when they’re with you.

Speaking of benefits, did you know that visiting galleries and museums regularly can actually impact positively on your wellbeing? Well, it can, as a study published by Art Fund demonstrates.

The charity’s ‘Calm and collected’ report found that 63 percent of people visited a gallery or museum specifically to de-stress, and that people who regularly visited reported a greater sense of satisfaction. What’s more, 51 percent said they wanted to visit more often. If you’re one of those people, getting yourself a National Art Pass could be your ticket to a calmer 2019.

If you’re now thinking something along the lines of: ‘Yeah, I’d like to see more art, but I just can’t find the time’, you’re not alone. Lots of people assume that visiting an exhibition is time-consuming, when it really doesn’t have to be. In fact, here are four ways you can build art into your daily life

Visit in your lunch break

Reclaim that precious lunch break and do something worthwhile with it – pop in to a nearby gallery or museum and lose yourself in something beautiful or bizarre for a while. You’ll get back to the office feeling delightfully tranquil.

Visit after work

Ease the horror of commuting by spending time at an exhibition when the working day is done. It’s the perfect way to decompress after a stressful day and you’ll also dodge rush hour.

Plan a visit around another activity

Heading out to lunch/the gym/the cinema/the pub? Why not slot in an hour or so before or after whatever you’re doing to see some art? It may sound like a big lifestyle change – but it’s really not. You’ll wonder why you never did this before.

Take a chance

Take a gamble by visiting somewhere nearer and new. Doesn’t matter if you don’t know what’s on, just go and have a look. You might find something you love.

So, the next question has to be: where can you visit with the National Art Pass? Glad you asked, because there’s a formidable selection across the UK. Here are five of the many highlights in London.

Horniman Museum
Horniman Museum
David Tett

Horniman Museum and Gardens (free exhibitions and aquarium)

Tucked away in south-east London, this much-loved gem is one of London’s finest smaller museums. You’ll find an array of wonders from the natural world to gawp at, including fantastic beasts and birds, plus an incredible gallery filled with musical instruments from around the world.

Whitechapel Gallery
Whitechapel Gallery
Michelle Grant / Time Out

Whitechapel Gallery (50 percent off exhibitions)

This small but perfectly formed venue is delightfully difficult to categorise. Over the years it’s showcased work from icons like Frida Kahlo and Mark Rothko, but you’re just as likely to stumble across multimedia installations or exhibitions from groups like New York’s Guerrilla Girls collective.

Tate Modern
Tate Modern

Tate Modern (50 percent off exhibitions)

Still one of the city’s most iconic galleries, Tate Modern is, quite simply, a giant of contemporary art, both in London and across the globe. Soak up timeless works across a range of mediums from masters like Andy Warhol, Louise Bourgeois, Henri Matisse and Anni Albers, to exhibitions from innovative new artists.

The Postal Museum Mail Rail
The Postal Museum Mail Rail
Photograph: The Postal Museum Mail Rail

The Postal Museum (free exhibitions – excludes Mail Rail)

One of London’s newer museums is also one of its most unique, proving that post is actually very cool. Discover the fascinating story behind hundreds of years of UK postal history, and – most importantly – ride the Mail Rail, a train that takes you through subterranean tunnels that were used to distribute post across London.

@ Pio3/Shutterstock

V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum) (50 percent off exhibitions)

Long regarded as a world leader when it comes to showcasing art and design, this behemoth of a museum hones in on everything from jewellery to fashion across the ages to videogames to ceramics, and much more.

And remember that with the National Art Pass, you’re not just getting free and reduced-rate access to amazing exhibitions. You’ve also given yourself a new way of exploring your city and boosting your cultural know-how.

So, banish the January blues in style with a National Art Pass, setting yourself up for a 2019 crammed full of art. It could be the best New Year’s resolution you’ll ever make – and keep.

Get yourself off to an artful start right now at


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