Top Art Galleries in Southampton, England

Southampton City Art Gallery | © Alex Liivet / Flickr
Southampton City Art Gallery | © Alex Liivet / Flickr
Photo of James Leeland
6 December 2017

Growing up around truly stunning pieces of art, it is no surprise that an influx of inspired young locals was on the cards. This, in turn, created a need for an expansion in art courses provided across the universities. With greater opportunities now on offer, it was only a matter of time before Southampton became home to some of the finest up-and-coming artists, not only in the UK but the world. Whether you’re a local, or visitor, we highly recommend taking time out to view the works of the inspired university students, and renowned artists from all over the globe, at the galleries & venues listed below…

Southampton City Art Gallery

Art Gallery, Museum
Map View
William Ratcliffe_016
William Ratcliffe_016 | © Leonid Li /Flickr
The gallery opened in 1939, and has since become an internationally renowned gallery run by Southampton City Council. Southampton City Art Gallery is home to one of the best publicly owned collections outside of London – 5,300 internationally recognised, high-quality pieces of art including paintings, sculptures, drawings and even photography and film. As well as the permanent collections, the gallery provides a massive variety of exhibitions and activities throughout the calendar year, including displays that change regularly to ensure new experiences. You really can’t visit this museum just once!

The John Hansard Gallery

Map View
Named after an honorary graduate and benefactor of Southampton University, learning is at the heart of everything the John Hansard Gallery does, and has been since it opened in 1979. Based at the University of Southampton, this is one of the finest places to view some superb contemporary and visual works, by both young, up-and-coming talents and major international artists. You can explore beautiful exhibitions showcasing the diversity of art, from solo pieces to historical surveys, paintings, sculptures and photography. Currently in the process of a relocation to the Town Centre, the proposed 75,000 square feet of gallery space is going to allow more people to question the way they look at the world, through contemporary art.

Solent Showcase

Art Gallery, Building, University
Map View
With the expansion of the arts courses at Solent University, there was a much greater need for an area to display the examples of contemporary art pieced together by the students/artists who study there. Located in the Sir James Matthews building on Guildhall Square, the Solent Showcase is a gallery and exhibition space within the university, featuring contemporary and visual pieces that encourage its viewers to engage, participate and discuss. The showcase has put on an exciting year’s worth of varied exhibitions, including Art Forms in Nature, an exhibition which presents Wundergarten der Natur, an original portfolio of 40 photogravures from 1932, and Street Jam Live, a celebration of street art, showcasing the best in local graffiti artists, hip-hop, dance and live music. We are excited to find out what 2018 brings!

Art House Gallery & Café

A much smaller venue that’s home to some wonderful work from the people of Southampton is the Art House Gallery & Café. Opened in 2008, this community-run, not-for-profit, organic and quirky gallery is a home for like-minded folk, clubs and groups to discuss and share their views on all types of artwork. In addition to boasting some glorious local pieces, it also features an equally glorious, organic, award-winning café. Make sure you pop in and check out the crafts, prints, books and original art that are on display here by talented Southampton locals.

The Art House Gallery & Café, 178 Above Bar Street, Southampton, SO147DW


William Ratcliffe_017 | © Leonid Li / Flickr.

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