Explore LGBTQ+ history at these museums and galleries
From the UK’s first dedicated LGBTQ+ museum to the former home of an iconic gay rights activist, these places are helping to preserve and celebrate important stories for future generations.
Whether you’re keen to see work by contemporary artists or learn about key milestones and figures in LGBTQ+ history, these places have something for everyone to explore during LGBT+ History Month and year-round.
See specially curated collections, embark on tours of intriguing art and objects, and discover places rooted in LGBTQ+ history with our pick of great places to visit with a National Art Pass.
For even more to explore, don't forget to browse our full listings and find inspiring places near you.
The UK’s first dedicated LGBTQ+ history museum, Queer Britain explores the people, places and ideas integral to the queer community. Discover work by exciting contemporary artists, see fascinating exhibitions that dive into LGBTQ+ history and uncover artefacts that were in danger of being lost forever.
The extensive LGBTQ+ collections housed in the Museum of Liverpool, as well as at the Walker Art Gallery, Lady Lever Art Gallery and Sudley House, contain objects and art spanning a range of themes, from gender identity and health to eroticism and activism. You can browse the collections online to see what's on display and where. Highlights include David Hockney’s painting Peter Getting Out of Nick's Pool (at the Walker Art Gallery) and memorabilia from Pride, including a flag on display at the Museum of Liverpool.
Filmmaker and artist Derek Jarman was a major figure in the gay rights movement and a tireless activist for people living with HIV and AIDS in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Prospect Cottage, his former home and studio in Dungeness, is an important part of his legacy and was saved for the nation in 2020 thanks to thousands of supporters of a fundraising campaign led by Art Fund. Prospect Cottage is where some of Jarman's most celebrated works were conceived, including The Garden (1990), a poignant exploration of repressive attitudes to homosexuality. Pre-book a guided tour to visit the cottage and explore this place of profound importance to LGBTQ+ history.
Once home to artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, and a gathering place for the 20th-century artists, writers and thinkers known collectively as the Bloomsbury Group, Charleston is rooted in LGBTQ+ history through the lives of its residents, the art they made here and the legacy of community, creativity and radical thinking that it continues to inspire today. See the unique interiors designed and decorated by the residents themselves, as well as a number of important objects and works of art revealing their stories – from Virginia Woolf’s spectacles to striking portraits by Grant.
Embark on a self-guided LGBTQIA+ trail around the National Museum of Scotland, featuring intriguing objects specially selected by young people in collaboration with the museum's curators. From leather boots made by Alexander McQueen in 2012 to an example of an Enigma encoding machine, decoded by Alan Turing and his colleagues at Bletchley Park during the Second World War, explore inspirational stories through time. You can join the trail on the Smartify app or download a paper copy to carry with you – your adventure will take you across three floors of the museum.
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.