The best art galleries in the UK for a picture-perfect day out

Hey art enthusiasts! 🖼️

Take the family for an educational day out, while away the afternoon on a perfect date or go solo and explore thought-provoking masterpieces. When it comes to art, there are no rules, and a visit to one of the best art galleries in the UK is always a great cultural experience.

From 13th-century masterpieces to contemporary modern art, Britain’s galleries house some of the most important artworks in the world.

National Gallery & National Portrait Gallery – London

Interior of The National Gallery in LondonStanding opposite each other in central London are two of the country’s most important national art institutions. The National Gallery on Trafalgar Square houses a collection of more than 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900. Telling the story of European art one masterpiece at a time, it features a series of permanent displays and changing exhibitions. Running until January 2025, Van Gogh: Poets and Lovers is a highlight that brings together the artist’s best-loved paintings from across the globe.

Over at the National Portrait Gallery, you’ll find kings and queens, politicians and poets, artists and writers, philosophers and film stars. The gallery also features the world’s greatest collection of paintings, photographs and drawings of historically important and famous British people by notable artists.

Stay nearby

Ashmolean Museum – Oxford

Ashmolean Museum, OxfordThe University of Oxford’s Museum of Art and Archaeology houses world-famous collections, from Egyptian mummies to contemporary art. Together, the objects tell human stories across cultures and time. Exhibitions running throughout 2024 include Kabuki Legends – colourful prints depicting a traditional form of dance-drama by Japanese artist Takahashi Hiromitsu.

Simple Pleasures, meanwhile, explores sensory pleasure through the work of contemporary Chinese artist Li Jin. And Ashmolean NOW, by Pio Abad, sees the Turner Prize-nominated artist displaying new work inspired by the museum’s permanent collection. Exploring colonial history and cultural loss, Abad’s works are exhibited alongside some of the museum’s ‘diasporic’ objects.

Stay nearby

MOMA Wales – Machynlleth

MOMO Wales art galleryNestled in the foothills of Snowdonia, the vibrant market town of Machynlleth is an unlikely home to world-class art. With seven galleries and a concert venue within a converted chapel, the Museum of Modern Art showcases the best of contemporary Welsh culture. Concentrating largely on artists living and working in Wales in the 20th and 21st centuries, the gallery’s evolving collection contains over 400 works.

Alongside this, revolving exhibitions mean no two visits are ever the same. A programme of events goes beyond art to present classical music, history talks, creative workshops and more. Each August it hosts the Gŵyl Machynlleth Festival – a weeklong celebration of international music, culture and heritage.

Stay nearby

Gallery of Modern Art – Glasgow

GoMA Glasgow is a world-class gallery containing contemporary painting, sculpture, installation, video and digital art. With four galleries, a library and a gallery shop, it features permanent and changing displays from its collection and loans. Running throughout Summer 2024, Enzo Camacho and Ami Lien’s Offerings for Escalante explores sugar plantations on the Filipino island of Negros. It features an hour-long experimental documentary, a 16mm film animation, drawings on handmade paper, and a light-based installation.

An ongoing programme of activities at the gallery also includes a Saturday art club and Mini Museum Explorers on the third Sunday of the month.

Stay nearby

Tate Liverpool – Liverpool

While its famous home of Liverpool docks is redeveloped, Tate Liverpool is displaying its collections from the neighbouring RIBA North. Visitors can currently explore two small galleries and a family area. Family activities are hosted alongside talks, tours and creative workshops. New for Summer 2024, Brickworks is a small display showcasing the transformative power of bricks in art.

Featuring sculpture, photography and works on paper from the Tate Collection, it runs alongside Harun Farocki’s In Comparison. Farocki was a pioneering filmmaker and theorist who explored themes of capitalism and technology. By showcasing the different traditions and methods of brick production across the world, this film explores different cultures through their literal building blocks.

Stay nearby