The West Yorkshire city of Wakefield has undergone a recent regeneration, with this stunning gallery at the heart of it all. Named after Barbara Hepworth, the iconic British sculptor who was born in Wakefield in 1903; the gallery brings together work from the city’s art collection, a rolling programme of exhibitions by contemporary artists, as well as some rarely seen works by Hepworth herself. Although it’s a relative newcomer to the English art gallery scene, it’s making serious waves and looks set to cement itself as one of the country’s finest modern art destinations.
The Hepworth Wakefield, Gallery Walk, Wakefield WF1 5AW, +44 (0) 1924 247360
Not your standard gallery, the Royal Academy of Arts (RA) is an independent institution, led by artists to promote and encourage not just the appreciation and understanding of art, but its practice. It is world-famous for hosting some exhibitions that get everyone talking, as well as drawing in huge numbers of art-lovers. So much so that they call themselves ‘the original home of the blockbuster’. As well as outstanding temporary exhibitions, the RA’s annual Summer Exhibition is a great way to discover the work of up and coming artists.
Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, Mayfair, London W1J 0BD, +44 (0) 20 7300 8090
Tearing up the rulebook when it comes to how we traditionally view art, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park endeavours to break down barriers by showing work from British and international artists in the open air. Set in hundreds of acres of West Yorkshire parkland, you’ll encounter sculpture by some of the leading artists of the 20th century, including Anthony Caro and Henry Moore, as you walk around the estate. Offering the unique chance to get up close and personal and touch these masterpieces, it’s a great way of getting kids interested in contemporary art.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, Wakefield WF4 4JX, +44 (0) 1924 832631
After a whopping £15 million development, the Whitworth is quickly becoming one of the premier galleries in the North of England. Making full use of its picturesque park setting, the gallery has a beautiful art garden and sculpture terrace, all waiting to be explored. Inside the gallery you can view the permanent collection of 55,000 artworks including pieces by William Blake, Rossetti, Picasso, and Van Gough, as well as an exciting programme of ever-changing exhibitions.
Whitworth, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M15 6ER, +44 (0) 161 275 7450
JMW Turner has long had a strong association with Margate. He was a regular visitor to the seaside town — claiming the landscape and the skies were “the loveliest in all Europe” and influencing a number of his works. Turner Contemporary, situated on the same site where Turner stayed when he visited the town, celebrates this artistic heritage with a fascinating rolling programme of temporary exhibitions and events. Despite only opening on 2011, the gallery has already made a name for itself as one of the UK’s leading modern art spaces.
Turner Contemporary, Margate, Kent CT9 1HG +44 (0) 1843 233 000