Ten things to do this bank holiday

  • 17 May 2016

Three days off, ten great ideas to fill them. From ominous gargoyles to Russian philosophers; take some inspiration for the long weekend ahead.


Tour a literary landmark

  • Around the UK

This year marks the bicentenary of Charlotte Brontë's birth and 300 years since the death of William Shakespeare. Pay homage to these literary greats and visit their homes in West Yorkshire and Warwickshire respectively, plus those of Jane Austen, John Keats and Charles Dickens.


Meet Russia’s cultural elite

The National Portrait Gallery’s exceptional exhibition, Russia and the Arts: The Age of Tolstoy and Tchaikovsky, brings together a collection of portraits of artistic figures loaned from State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. Paintings of Russian artists, philosophers, composers, writers and actors spanning 1867-1914 highlight an artistic golden age for the nation, and this is a rare opportunity to see their portraits in the UK.


Discover the art of wellbeing

  • Manchester Art Gallery

We’ve long been courting the notion of mindfulness and wellbeing, but how can art help you find inner peace? Manchester Art Gallery is running a free tour to help you cultivate your sense of wellbeing; discover the five steps to health and happiness through some of the gallery's most popular paintings. Saturday 28 May, 12.30pm.


See a grand Victorian house

  • Around the UK

The Victorians loved grand Gothic Revival architecture, Arts and Crafts interiors, textiles depicting the natural world and technical innovation. We’ve picked ten gem-packed houses from the Victorian era; see the first heated indoor pool, visit Queen Victoria’s lavish Italianate mansion and appreciate the imaginative vision of the great architect, William Burgess.


Visit the blockbuster show of the season

For the best part of 1000 years two ancient Egyptian cities – Thonis-Hercaleion and Canopus – were lost to the sea. Thriving metropolises in 7th century AD, their existence was documented in decrees and mythology but attempts to find them had been largely fruitless. In 1996, following four years of research, Franck Goddio and his team at the Institut Européen d’Archéologie Sous-Marine uncovered a trove of astonishing objects, pristinely-preserved thanks to their submersion in the sea. This remarkable exhibition tells the story of these two lost cities through hundreds of ancient objects.


Dine under the stars

  • The Wallace Collection

Housing works by masters Titian, Rembrandt, Hals and Velázquez, the impressive Wallace Collection which is hidden behind the bustling noise of Oxford Street has long offered peace and tranquillity to art-lovers visiting central London. If you’ve got a National Art Pass and are lucky enough to get a table, you can get 20% off dining. The magical covered courtyard makes for a very romantic dinner.


See Stubbs’ kangaroo

George Stubbs was mainly known for his grand portraits of horses, but he also captured more exotic animals. In 1771 Stubbs accepted a commission from eminent naturalist Sir Joseph Banks to paint The Kongouro from New Holland and Portrait of a Large Dog; these would be the only two portraits that he did not paint from real life. The Art Fund helped the National Maritime Museum buy these historical works and Stubbs' kangaroo currently forms the centrepiece of The Horniman Museum’s Cook and the Kangaroo exhibition.


Visit the Museum of the Year 2016 finalists

  • Around the UK

The Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year acknowledges innovation and excellence in UK museums. This year the board of judges have announced five museum finalists. Before the winner is revealed on the 6 July, try and make a visit to at least one of these outstanding museums; Arnolfini, Bristol; Bethlem Museum of the Mind, London; Jupiter Artland, West Lothian; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; York Art Gallery, York.


Find your inner scientist

  • Around the UK

To infinity and beyond! Expand your mind and nurture your love of all things scientific with a trip to one of these enlightening science museums. Visit the legendary apple tree that is said to have inspired Newton's theory of gravity, the birthplace of the modern computer and the world’s oldest surviving railway station.


Go for a spring walk

The National Trust has created an hour long, dog friendly walk around Ickworth House, Park and Gardens, a magnificent Georgian palace in Suffolk. Taking you along the walled garden and canal lake, you can see lots of wildlife, deer and even a buzzard if you're lucky, plus stunning views of the estate. A picnic near the old summerhouse is highly recommended; weather permitting of course.

Tags: Great days outMuseums and galleriesWhat to see