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Top six art galleries outside London

Nicolette Loizou / 10 September 2015

You don’t have to visit London to view some life-enhancing art. Outside of the capital are some amazing places to enjoy. Here we pick six of the best.

Inside the Scottish National Gallery
Inside the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh

Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh

Found in the heart of Edinburgh is this must-see gallery that hosts fine art from the early Renaissance to the end of the 19th century. 

Wander around this neoclassical building to discover some eye-openers ranging from Delacroix to van Gogh. The most comprehensive part of the collection covers the history of Scottish painting with major names such as Ramsay, Raeburn, Wilkie and McTaggart represented.

You can even do a life drawing class if you fancy creating your own masterpiece.

Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

Here you will find yourself greeted by two titans of art before you even enter the walls. Two slightly bruised marble sculptures of Raphael and Michelangelo whisper of the treasures that lie inside.

From paintings by Hockney and Freud, to examples of Liverpool’s 19th and 20th century dressmaking trade and clothing retail history making up the well-stocked fashion collection, there’s lots to admire.

There’s also a well-represented sculpture collection with examples from the master of the genre, Rodin.

Ashmolean Gallery, University of Oxford

In this great city of learning you can find the world’s first university museum built in 1678–1683.  The museum reopened in 2009 after a major redevelopment and is now a top destination featuring the world's largest collection of Raphael drawings, the most important collection of pre-Dynastic Egyptian material in Europe, the finest Anglo-Saxon collections outside the British Museum and the foremost collection of modern Chinese art in the Western world.

The Gallery is open late on a Friday for art thrills after dark and there is an extensive coin collection if you’re a fan.

Tate St Ives

Amongst the dazzling light of St Ives lies this three-storey building, designed by architects Evans and Shalev, on the site of an old gas works and overlooking Porthmeor Beach.

Feel the magic that closely associated locally based artists Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth spun by taking a walking tour or visiting the sculpture garden. If you’d prefer to just settle down, then watch something from one of their film selections.

Turner Contemporary, Margate

Awe-inspiring, dynamic and modernist – and that’s just the David Chipperfield designed building that houses a rolling programme of innovative art displays.

Recent exhibitions have included local girl Tracey Emin, Jeremy Deller and Grayson Perry. A view of the orange-tinged sunsets which inspired Margate-lover Turner himself ensure that you will leave feeling refreshed by both art and landscape.

Jerwood Gallery, Hastings

Another seaside standby is this RIBA endorsed, sustainably designed gallery which sits next to the fishing beach in the historic old town. Specialising in modern art from the 20th and 21st century, there are thought-provoking pieces from LS Lowry, Walter Sickert and Augustus John.  


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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