The exhibitions you must see this October

A large orange and yellow painted cloud takes up the majority of the canvas. Outlines of small figures watch on.
Caragh Thuring, Inferno, 2018

October is going to be a big month for exhibition openings — here are ten you won't want to miss.

October is here and we love the cosiness of this season. The leaves are turning golden, the air is getting crisper, and the world starts to slow down a little bit. It is also a great time to visit museums and galleries as lots of incredible exhibitions open at this time of year. We've highlighted ten that you won't want to miss.

Looking for somewhere to take the kids? Or perhaps you fancy engaging in some childhood nostalgia? Check out Young V&A's inaugural exhibition, Japan: Myths to Manga, exploring the country's rich culture and technologies which have been informed by its landscape and folklore.

Contemporary art lover? Immerse yourself in a dreamy seaside-inspired installation devised by Mark Leckey at Turner Contemporary, featuring some of the most innovative musicians and artists working today.

And don't forget to pack your National Art Pass, getting you free or reduced-price entry and special discounts at lots of these venues.

Discover the best exhibitions to visit this October with a National Art Pass

Sarah Lucas, This Jaguar's Going to Heaven, 2018.

Sarah Lucas: Happy Gas

Meditate on what it means to be human in this blockbuster exhibition examining the life and work of Sarah Lucas and find out why the artist is so drawn to tits, tights and tabs.

A black line drawing of a sitting room, with a cushioned window seat next to an open window, where there is a balcony with foliage.
David Hockney, Christopher Isherwood's House, Santa Monica, 1966

David Hockney: Love Life

Marvel at the power of observation and artistic finesse in one of the most popular artists of our time, David Hockney. Discover his rarely-seen early drawings, revealing both the intimate and ordinary aspects of life.

Sylvanian Families group. Group includes Frog Father, Frog Mother, Mouse Mother, Panda Boy and Rabbit Family Figure. Scene also includes Tent, backpack and Camp Fire.
Sylvanian Families group. Frog Father, Frog Mother, Mouse Mother, Panda Boy and Rabbit Family Figure, Tent, backpack and Camp Fire

Japan: Myths to Manga

In Young V&A inaugural exhibition, travel through Japanese history on an exciting and atmospheric trip to explore how Japan's landscape and mythologies have influenced its culture, technology and design.

Philip Guston, Flatlands , 1970, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (San Francisco, USA)

Philip Guston

Witness one of the 20th century’s most iconic painters capturing a world in turmoil by bridging the personal and the political. In the first major retrospective in the UK in over 20 years, discover how Philip Guston documented the seismic social and political changes taking place around him.

Mark Leckey, Wurlitzing in Dazzling Darkness, 2023, (production still).

In The Offing

Immerse yourself in this contemporary art exhibition, devised by Mark Leckey, featuring a selection of artists and musicians. Inspired by the nearby amusement park Dreamland, it will combine film, sound and light to create an mesmerising environment to explore themes of the horizon, the seaside, the past and the future.

A wall portrait drawing of three Black people. In the centre is a woman with two men on either side. They are all depicted from the chest upwards.
Barbara Walker, Burden of Proof, 2022. Installation view: Sharjah Biennial 15, Old Diwan Al Amiri, 2023. Commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation with the support of The Whitworth, The University of Manchester.

Turner Prize 2023

Discover the incredible work of the nominees of this year's Turner Prize, one of the biggest contemporary art prizes in the world. This year's cohort are Jesse Darling, Ghislaine Leung, Rory Pilgrim and Barbara Walker.

Image courtesy of Ridykeulous (Nicole Eisenman & A.L. Steiner)

Ridykeulous (Nicole Eisenman & A.L. Steiner, with Sam Roeck): Ridykes’ Cavern of Fine Inverted Wines and Deviant Videos

Experience a bold and spirited exhibition of over 30 queer and feminist artists at Nottingham Contemporary. Curated by Nicole Eisenman & A.L. Steiner, with Sam Roeck AKA Ridykeulous, the exhibition critiques the art world and heteropatriarchal culture at large through humour, subversion, and queer fabulosity.

Alia Farid, In Lieu of What Is, Kunsthalle Basel, 2022

Artes Mundi 10

In this year's 20-year anniversary edition of the Artes Mundi prize, seven international artists are exhibited at museums and galleries across Wales, including National Museum Cardiff, Mostyn, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery and Chapter.

Reproduktion: Peter Steigerwald
Unknown photographer, Elisabeth Pauli at work in Northern Spain, 1936

Hollow Earth: Art, Caves and the Subterranean Imaginary

Venture deep underground in this major exhibition, exploring the image and idea of the cave. Major works by renowned artists such as Sir Joseph Wright of Derby, René Magritte and Henry Moore are displayed alongside contemporary artists and special commissions to examine our changing perception of subterranean spaces.

Balthasar van der Ast, (1593/94-1657), Flowers in a Vase with Shells and Insects, about 1630 (detail)

Dutch Flowers

Ten floral masterpieces from the National Gallery, including works by Bosschaert, Ruysch, and van Huysum, go on display in this exhibition dedicated to the Dutch obsession with capturing flowers in still lifes during the 17th and 18th centuries.

IndividualTiana Clarke Please note this is an example card and not a reflection of the final product

The more you see, the more we do.

The National Art Pass lets you enjoy free entry to hundreds of museums, galleries and historic places across the UK, while raising money to support them.

Are your sure you want to leave checkout?