Want to while away a few hours in one of Yorkshire’s art galleries? Here’s where to go…
Yorkshire has some of the best and most unusual art galleries in the country, so there’s no better place to get a culture injection than here. Inside their hallowed halls, you can see awe-inspiring exhibitions that range from Renaissance oil paintings to world-famous abstract sculptures – and because it’s all on your doorstep, there’s no reason why you can’t do them all.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Yorkshire Sculpture Park is one of the best open-air art galleries in the UK, never mind Yorkshire. Set amidst 500-acres of countryside, it has 80 outdoor sculptures alongside a series of indoor exhibitions. They have contemporary works by the likes of Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore and Andy Goldsworthy, as well as loads of rotating exhibitions. You can take a different route around the park every time, taking in the artwork from a new angle – and as the seasons change, you can see it against a fresh backdrop of colours.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, WF4 4LG. Entry is free.
Cartwright Hall is one of Bradford’s cultural gems. Built in 1904 and set in the stately surrounds of Lister Park, this Grade II listed building is one of the most impressive art galleries in Yorkshire. Inside, they have a large collection of 19th and 20th century British art, ranging from pop art pieces by Andy Warhol to post-Impressionist works by Walter Sickert. But the main attraction is the David Hockney Gallery, which spans the Yorkshire artist’s works over the past 50 years.
Cartwright Hall, Lister Park, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD9 4NS. Entry is free.
York Art Gallery
Found next door to Museum Gardens in the city centre, York Gallery is a sight to behold. The 19th century building has seven different galleries for you to explore and its size allows it to host major international exhibitions. You can see 600 years worth of paintings, including 14th century Italian works and 20th century pieces by critically acclaimed artists like LS Lowry and David Hockney. York Art Gallery has one of the largest and most important collections of British Studio Ceramics in the UK, which you can see in the Centre of Ceramic Art.
York Art Gallery, Exhibition Square, York, North Yorkshire, YO1 7EW. Entry is £6.20 for adults and free for children with a paying adult.
The Hepworth Wakefield
The Hepworth was custom-designed by David Chipperfield Architects and is one of the newest art galleries in Yorkshire. It’s a hub of modern art, with works by international artists like Hans Coper, Eileen Agar and Frank Auerbach. But their main focus is on local artists. They have a gallery dedicated Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, two of the UK’s most successful sculptors. Keep an eye out for their regular art fairs, which showcase pieces by up and coming craftspeople.
The Hepworth Wakefield, Gallery Walk, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, WF1 5AW. Entry is free.
Millennium Gallery celebrates art, craft and design in all its forms. True to the Steel City’s heritage, they have an impressive collection of the metalwork that showcases their own local cutlery, flatware and tableware, alongside the work of master crafters from all over the world. You can relive history by exploring the collection of curiosities put together by John Ruskin to inspire the city’s workers over 130 years ago, or turn your attention to the future of craft at one of their contemporary art and design exhibitions – the choice is yours.
Millennium Gallery, Arundel Gate, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1 2PP. Entry is free.
Leeds Art Gallery
Designed by George Corson in 1884, Leeds Art Gallery is a landmark in its own right. It’s home to one of the best collections of 20th-century British art outside London. Their permanent collection includes pieces by well-known artists like Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore and Auguste Rodin, but they also have a varied exhibition schedule that brings big names like Nobuko Tsuchiya, Rachel Harrison, Joanna Piotrowska and Damien Hirst into the city. Look out for the Lothar Götz wall painting on the grand Victorian staircase, it’s a sight to be seen, and don’t miss their heritage tours.
Leeds Art Gallery, The Headrow, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3AA. Entry is free.
Formerly a 19th century textiles factory, Salt’s Mill has been transformed into a cultural hub. It now houses the only permanent collection of David Hockney’s artwork in the UK with over 300 pieces on display across three floors. The 1853 Gallery showcases Hockney’s earlier works, but if you head up to the 3rd floor, you can see his more recent iPad drawings of the East Yorkshire landscape. They also host temporary exhibitions that explore life in Saltaire with everything from photography to historic artefacts.
Salt’s Mill, Victoria Road, Shipley, Saltaire, West Yorkshire, BD18 3LA. Entry is free.
Once the HQ of Tetley Brewery, now a modern art gallery with a focus on contemporary art, The Tetley is one of a kind. They have a collection of artefacts that tell the story of their brewing heritage, but it’s their exhibitions that really get tongues wagging. From unique soundscapes to immersive light installations and mixed media displays, they help emerging artists to push boundaries and dispel preconceptions. The space itself is somewhat eclectic – the traditional galleries downstairs are accompanied by a series of intimate art spaces upstairs that make excellent use of the building’s original design.
The Tetley, Hunslet Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1JQ. Entry is free.
The Henry Moore Institute
The Henry Moore Institute is an internationally renowned gallery in the heart of Leeds. Founded by world-famous sculptor Henry Moore, it celebrates sculpture by bringing the world’s most prestigious artists to Yorkshire. In the past, they’ve explored problems of form and space with Gego and showcased the up-cycled work of Ian Kiaer, which included a breathing plastic ball brought to life by a domestic electric fan. The Institute doubles as a research facility and boasts an enviable sculpture archive accessible by appointment.
The Henry Moore Institute, 74 The Headrow, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3AH. Entry is free.
Scarborough Art Gallery
This museum-cum-gallery mixes fine art with areological and natural history collections, making it one of the most unusual art galleries in Yorkshire. Based in a Grade II* Italianate villa, it’s also one of the grandest. Over the years they’ve built up an eclectic collection of art that ranges from charcoal sketches to oil paintings and sculpture. They’re the official repository for the Printmakers Council archive and run a regular calendar of exhibitions by local, national and internationally-renowned artists. The art sits alongside a series of unexpected finds, like trophy heads of exotic animals and a preserved 19th century giant tortoise from the Galápagos Islands.
Scarborough Art Gallery, The Crescent, Scarborough, East Riding of Yorkshire, YO11 2PW. An annual season ticket is £3 for adults and entry is free for children.
Graves Gallery has been a cultural escape for Sheffield’s workers since it was founded by local philanthropist J.G. Graves in 1934. Today, the gallery showcases four centuries of art across eight galleries. The collection is wide ranging – Turner and Sisley can be found under the same roof as recent artists like Damien Hirst, Bridget Riley and Sam Taylor-Wood. They even have a permanent space for Turner Prize-winner Grayson Perry’s eight-metre-long Comfort Blanket. Add Yorkshire artists like George Fullard, famous for his abstract sculptures, and you have a must-see collection worth seeking out.
Graves Gallery, Surrey Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1 1XZ. Entry is free.Cover image credit: Jules Lister