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Top 5 Art Galleries Outside London

Cultural Londoners need not get anxious when leaving town - here is our Top 5 of art galleries in the South East.

Think you have discovered the London art scene, desperate to get away from the hustle and bustle of London life, looking for something new? Why not take a short trip by train or car and discover one of the best art galleries South East England has to offer.

Turner Contemporary

If you are interested in contemporary art and love architectural design, Turner Contemporary is the one for you. In just under one and half hours by train from London St Pancras, Margate has fast-become a vibrant seaside town. The gallery is still relatively new, opening its doors in 2011 and presenting a rolling programme of temporary exhibitions whilst offering unique learning opportunities to local schools and the community of Margate. Admission to the gallery is completely free, making it a popular destination for visitors to Kent.

For more information about the Turner Contemporary’s current and upcoming exhibitions, please see the website.

Watts Gallery Artists’ Village

Nestled away on the edge of the stunning Surrey Hills, Watts Gallery is a purpose built gallery created to display the works of the renowned Victorian artist G F Watts. Over 100 paintings by Watts are on permanent display, along with a programme of temporary exhibitions showcasing the work of Watts’ peers and the Victorian era in general. Alongside the beautiful terracotta-clad gallery, the Artists’ Village features stunning Victorian architecture including the truly extraordinary Grade-1 listed chapel designed and created by G F Watts’ wife, Mary Watts along with help from local villagers. On your visit, why not treat yourself to cream tea in the award-winning tea shop.

For more information, please see the website.

Modern Art Oxford

Located in the centre of Oxford, Modern Art Oxford is dedicated to making contemporary art accessible for all and engaging with the widest audience possible. The Oxford Tube bus goes every 10 minutes from London and since the gallery is free, there is no reason at all why you shouldn’t make a visit!

Towner Gallery

As well as a contemporary art gallery, the Towner is a museum housing a collection of around 4,500 works of modern British art including the most significant body of work by Eric Ravilious. In just under one and half hours from London Victoria, you can reach the Towner Art Gallery in the seaside town of Eastbourne. Up until 2009, the Towner was a Georgian manor house in the old town of Eastbourne but due to its success, plans were approved to build a purpose-built gallery. The art gallery has the biggest display space in South East England with a rolling programme of national and international contemporary art exhibitions. All exhibitions are free to enter!

For more information, please see the website.

Jerwood Gallery

A pattern seems to be emerging - the Jerwood is the final gallery on our list, and another that is located in a seaside town. Situated next to the historic fishing beach in Hastings, the Jerwood Gallery building is an awe-inspiring architectural design that has been the recipient of many awards including the RIBA Award. You can marvel in this incredible design, featuring 8,000 black tiles, hand glazed in Kent, which fit with the landscape of nearby fishermen’s net huts. Within the gallery itself, you will find over 250 works of art created between the First World War and the 1960s. For you contemporary art enthusiasts, there are also paintings by artists including Rose Wylie, Maggi Hambling and Gillian Ayres.

For more information, please see the website.