Five uplifting days out ideas

Published 20 January 2014

Feeling down this January? Lift your spirits with these five upbeat UK excursions, from elephants in Glasgow to an anxious king's seaside retreat.

1. Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Yorkshire
Free entry to all

Nothing lifts the mood like a fresh air and a walk in the great outdoors, and Yorkshire Sculpture Park – part of the historic county's sculpture triangle – brings stunning sculpture to the rolling hills. Works on show include monumental sculptures by Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, plus Roger Hiorns' stunning crystal council flat Seizure, which was supported by the Art Fund.

2. Kelvingrove ​Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow
50% off exhibitions, 10% discount in shop with National Art Pass

Glasgow's greatest gallery isn't just home to one of the most important art collections in Europe – it's also an unashamedly fun place to visit. From the first moment you walk into the main hall and see the museum's much-loved Spitfire suspended above a menagerie of animals (including Sir Roger the Asian Elephant), a visit to Kelvingrove is sure to put a smile on your face.

3. The Royal Pavilion, Brighton
Free entry with National Art Pass

George IV had his fair share of stress – his dad was mad, he had a disastrous marriage, and he inherited a war with France when he succeeded to the throne. No wonder he commissioned this elaborate pleasure palace by the sea as a retreat from the doom and gloom of his royal duties (and in the hope that the seawater would ease his gout). Resplendent with Indian and Chinese influences, the dreamlike pavilion is a perfect escape from the day-to-day. (Reopens 25 January).

​4. William Morris Gallery, London
Free entry to all, 10% discount in shop and café with National Art Pass

The Arts and Crafts movement brought art to the everyday, and so it's appropriate that a gallery devoted to the life and work of William Morris should bring a touch of magic to the London suburb of Walthamstow. Based in Morris's childhood home, the gallery – which won Museum of the Year 2013 – is the first venue to host the British tour of Jeremy Deller's Venice Biennale exhibition English Magic, which has been brought to the UK with help from the Art Fund.

5. Hayward Gallery, London
50% off exhibitions with National Art Pass

A walk along the riverside thoroughfare of London's South Bank is a good day out in itself, but adding in a visit to the Hayward Gallery makes for a perfect break from the January blues. One of the country's leading contemporary art venues, the Hayward is currently hosting Martin Creed: What's the Point of It?, the first comprehensive retrospective of the Glaswegian artist's irreverent, entertaining and often hilarious career.

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