Eleven quick visits with a Student Art Pass

Published 4 September 2019

Need to grab some downtime? These museums and galleries are close enough to campus for a half-hour reboot between lectures or before you head out.

Even a short visit to a museum or gallery can leave you feeling refreshed and sparking with ideas.

Recent research shows that those who get a regular museum fix report a greater sense of satisfaction with their lives than those who never go at all.

In fact, 'happiness expert’ and London School of Economics professor Paul Dolan recommends a 30-minute ‘wellbeing allowance’ per day.

So when you next need a half-hour burst of inspiration, head to a gallery near you. Here are 11 places near uni campuses where you can boost your day with your Student Art Pass.

Tuft Loving, 2016 at Dovecot Tapestry Studio

1. Dovecot Studios

50% off exhibitions with Student Art Pass

Dovecot Studios is a little gem near the University of Edinburgh. An active tapestry studio and gallery, it commissions artists for special projects and hosts a colourful exhibition programme. The café will sort you for caffeine by one of Edinburgh’s favourite beaneries too.

Spiral Staircase

2. Wellcome Collection

Greater London
Free to all

You’re bound to find something to meditate on at the Wellcome Collection. Exploring the connections between science, medicine, life and art, the museum encourages people to think deeply about the human condition. Close to UCL and SOAS campuses, it’s also got a lovely, light-filled café for meeting friends.

Spiral Staircase

3. Kettle's Yard

Free to all

You'll truly feel at home at Kettle's Yard. The University of Cambridge’s modern and contemporary art gallery is also a house – originally the home of a curator and art teacher who designed it with students in mind, as 'a living place' where you can find art among the furnishings and enjoy a chilled-out atmosphere.

4. Laing Art Gallery

Tyne and Wear
50% off exhibitions with Student Art Pass

Near Northumbria and Newcastle universities, the Laing Art Gallery hosts a range of interesting exhibitions and is particularly noted for its collections of British oil paintings, watercolours, ceramics and glassware. Fans of the Pre-Raphaelites can find works by Edward Burne-Jones and William Holman-Hunt here.

5. Ashmolean Museum

50% off exhibitions with Student Art Pass

You can wander hundreds of years of history at the Ashmolean Museum, which houses the University of Oxford’s collection of art and archaeology. Its combination of world-famous artefacts and blockbuster exhibitions might leave you feeling a little overwhelmed for your 30-minute window, so why not choose one room and really get to know it?

6. Canterbury Roman Museum

Free entry with Student Art Pass

If you feel like going to ground for a bit, you can do so quite literally by exploring this beautiful Roman townhouse that was unearthed accidentally in 1868. A short stretch from Christ Church University and UCA, the museum is built around stunning mosaic floors and showcases a host of archaeological treasures.

7. York Art Gallery

North Yorkshire
Free entry with Student Art Pass

A stone’s throw from the University of York and York St John, York Art Gallery hosts thought-provoking and often surprising exhibitions and is home to the Centre of Ceramic Art. One of the largest collections of ceramics in the UK, it’s housed in two beautiful galleries on the first floor and is ideal for a serene half hour.

8. National Museum Cardiff

South Glamorgan
Free to all

Right by Cardiff University, National Museum Cardiff presents vibrant contemporary exhibitions alongside Wales' national collections of art, geology and natural history. Whichever galleries you choose to explore, you won’t be short of subjects to zoom in on with your 30 minutes.

9. The Photographers' Gallery

Greater London
Reduced price entry with Student Art Pass

Slip down an Oxford Street sidestreet and you'll find an oasis of calm in the Photographers’ Gallery. Explore five floors of leading work in the medium or stick to the main exhibition: either way, it’s a zen space to take some time out near London College of Fashion and the University of Westminster.

10. Royal West of England Academy

Greater Bristol
50% off exhibitions with Student Art Pass

Bristol's first art gallery and the UK's only regional Royal Academy of Art is right on the doorstep of the University of Bristol. Its exhibitions always feature works by leading contemporary artists alongside great works from the past, opening up inspiring and surprising ideas to leave you feeling reinvigorated.

11. Salford Museum and Art Gallery

Greater Manchester
Free to all

Right by the University of Salford, the museum and art gallery is home to a collection of Victorian art, pottery and even a recreated Victorian street – so you can truly switch off from modern life. The ambience is set to teatime on a winter’s evening when the street gas lamps have just been lit, if you need a bit of hygge.

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