Eleven quick visits with a Student Art Pass

Need to take some time out from the pressures of uni? These museums and galleries are close enough to campus to pop in between lectures, or after a long day's work.

Recent research we commissioned showed that people who regularly visit museums and galleries report a greater sense of satisfaction with their lives than those who never go at all – and 63% of people said they've been to a museum or gallery specifically to ‘de-stress’.

If you’re thinking, that’s great, but I don’t have time to go – the good news is that even a short visit can have a positive impact.

‘Happiness expert’ and LSE professor Paul Dolan recommends a 30-minute ‘wellbeing allowance’ per day, believing we would all benefit from finding just half an hour to do something that makes us feel good.

Here are 11 places near uni campuses where you could spend 30 minutes relaxing and refuelling with your Student Art Pass.

Spiral Staircase

Wellcome Collection

You’re bound to find something to meditate on at the Wellcome Collection. Exploring the connections between science, medicine, life and art, it 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 or studying.


York Art Gallery

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 to concentrate on if you’ve got limited time.


Ashmolean Museum

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?


Laing Art Gallery

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.

Tuft Loving, 2016 at Dovecot Tapestry Studio

Dovecot Studios

If you’re interested in textiles or just looking for inspiration when it comes to craft, making and design, 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.


National Museum Cardiff

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 hone in on with your 30 minutes.


The Photographers' Gallery

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.


House of Illustration

Practically part of UAL’s Central St Martin’s campus, House of Illustration is compact enough to enjoy on a short break from seminars. See a range of historic and contemporary illustration across three galleries, find inspiration in the work of the illustrator-in-residence, and browse the shop for a selection of gift ideas.


The Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery

Part of the University of Leeds, the Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery showcases works from the university art collection, while the permanent Treasures of the Brotherton exhibition brings out fascinating pieces from the library, including original material written by the Brontës, medieval manuscripts and rare books.


Kettle's Yard

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.


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 in 1897, although until January 2019 the clock has fast-forwarded to 1918 to mark the First World War centenary.

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