See art for free with your National Art Pass
Here’s our pick of the inspirational museums, galleries and historic houses you can visit for free with your National Art Pass.
From cutting-edge contemporary galleries to an Art Deco mansion, these fantastic museums, galleries and historic houses are totally free to visit with your National Art Pass.
Each of these places tells a fascinating story. Discover painting on the Cornish coast at Penlee House, the legacy of a great literary dynasty at the Brontë Parsonage Museum and the art of fan making at the Fan Museum, among many more unique highlights.
Whether you fancy a day out in London, Yorkshire or Scotland, we’ve got plenty of suggestions to kickstart your museum habit.
Remember that many venues now require booking ahead and have additional measures in place for your safety; be sure to check their websites before visiting, and enjoy your day out.
See art for free with your National Art Pass
This Penzance art gallery is set within gorgeous sub-tropical gardens for the perfect combination of art and nature. The gallery celebrates art from the west Cornish coast, from painting and fashion to ceramics and archaeology, with a particular focus on late 19th and early 20th-century painting. Some highlights on display include paintings by Canadian artist Elizabeth Forbes and the founder of the Newlyn School of plein air (open air) artists, Walter Langley.
The Foundling Museum holds the honour of being London's first public art gallery. The museum tells the moving story of the Foundling Hospital and the birth of creative philanthropism, as the first home in London established to care for abandoned babies and at-risk children. Author and broadcaster Lemn Sissay spent a fascinating few hours here for our podcast Meet Me at the Museum – have a listen here or wherever you get your podcasts.
Shakespeare’s Birthplace comprises five properties in and around Stratford-upon-Avon which map the playwright's journey through life. Each of the houses has its own distinctive character, from Anne Hathaway’s Cottage to the lavish Hall's Croft, where Shakespeare's daughter Susanna lived with her wealthy physician husband, John Hall. Each location charts the incredible legacy of a writer whose work will live on for generations to come.
Showcasing contemporary sculpture by artists such as Ai Weiwei, Sophie Ryder (pictured) and Leiko Ikemura, the dramatic parklands of Yorkshire Sculpture Park are the perfect spot to soak up inspiration. Exhibitions take place outside and within the galleries, presenting the work of celebrated artists as well as emerging talent in sculpture.
Let your curiosity overcome queasiness at one of Scotland's oldest museums. Originally a medical teaching museum stuffed full of weird and wonderful artefacts, it contains the largest and most historic collection of surgical pathology in the world, from works of art to bone and tissue specimens.
Escape the city for a few hours at this beautiful mansion. It boasts the Lyme Missal – the most important book in the National Trust – and has hundreds of acres of parkland and gardens to roam about in. And, make sure to look out for a herd of majestic red deer who also call the park home.
This unique museum explores the intricate art of fan making. From fashion and politics to fine art and architecture, fan makers throughout history have taken their inspiration from a range of topics, and the richness of the craft is on display here. Highlights include fans for iconic brands such as Moët & Chandon champagne and the Hotel Cecil in London, as well as a fan decorated by surrealist painter Salvador Dalí.
This Tudor-Jacobean mansion is a short bus ride and stroll away from Leeds city centre. Immerse yourself in the art collections, make a fluffy friend in the working farmyard, and blow the cobwebs away with a wander around the beautiful grounds.
Near Brighton? We'd recommend hopping on a train for 10 minutes to Hassocks and footing, biking or cabbing it to Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft. The village of Ditchling became a hub for some of the most groundbreaking craftspeople of the 20th century, and the museum continues to foster this creative spirit while displaying stunning works in the place they were made. There is a rolling programme of contemporary exhibitions exploring everything from illustration to iconic craftspeople.
From William and Mary (1689-1702) to Will and Kate, Kensington Palace has been home to royals for over 300 years, and it's yours to explore for free. The sumptuous state apartments and beautiful gardens offer an escape from London without having to leave the city, while exhibitions explore the public and private life of Queen Victoria, who grew up in the palace.
Highlights on display at York Art Gallery include an extravagant automaton clock dating back to the 1780s, ceramics by celebrated Yorkshire potters and a large collection of western European paintings, from decorated altarpieces to Impressionist masterpieces. There's a great programme of contemporary exhibitions to enjoy featuring the likes of Grayson Perry, and the gallery also regularly hosts the Aesthetica Art Prize exhibition.
Original medieval features combine with striking 1930s design in this fascinating Art Deco mansion in Greenwich. There are 19 acres of gardens to explore, furniture and an intriguing mix of historical features on display.
The former home of Britain’s greatest literary family is a perfectly preserved time capsule of the lives of the famous sisters who called it home. Displaying original furnishings, manuscripts and personal relics, this is the place where the Brontë sisters wrote their most celebrated novels. Get some literary inspiration at this gorgeous Georgian home.
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.