By Polly Vaughan
As a former art student and current graphic design freelancer, I seek out galleries, exhibitions and art museums whenever I travel. Guest post author Polly Vaughan writes about basing your travels around some impressive galleries around the world! Note: The following post is a sponsored one, which you’ll see from time to time on Alex in Wanderland.
You may not have thought of heading to Hastings for a short holiday or day trip, but since the opening of the new Jerwood Gallery, this rundown but characterful Sussex seaside town has joined the list of the UK’s cultural destinations. The Jerwood’s permanent collection includes work by locally-based artists as well as internationally-known British painters such as Sir Stanley Spencer, Walter Sickert and Augustus John, alongside temporary exhibitions.
And when you’ve had your artistic fix, there are the antiques markets and vintage shops of the Old Town to poke around, the crafts and cafés of Norman Road in neighbouring St Leonards, and fresh fish ’n chips at the fishermen’s huts on the Stade. Base yourself in the area for a couple of days and you will have time to explore the historic smuggling town of Rye, the beaches of Camber Sands and Battle, where William the Conqueror laid claim to the throne in 1066 – it’s a fascinating corner of England.
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Some Hastings locals may have protested vociferously against the opening of the Jerwood but most hope for a little of the ‘St Ives effect’ – the new gallery brought renewed tourist trade, and thus income, to the area. The Tate at St Ives, west Cornwall, goes from strength to strength, alongside the related Barbara Hepworth sculpture museum and the beaches and surfing are pretty good down there as well.
The Lowry museum and arts centre at Salford is a welcome celebration of Manchester’s most-loved artist, and a pretty good reason (for southerners like myself) to go up North and explore life beyond the Watford Gap.
Got a thing for Art Nouveau architecture and the Arts & Crafts movement? Get yourself to Glasgow and hit the Rennie Mackintosh trail, also taking in the extensive Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery, one of Scotland’s finest attractions. Back down south and within easy reach from London, Margate is back on the art map thanks both to Tracey Emin and to the Turner Contemporary.
But why stop there? Take your cultural odyssey a stage further and tour the world’s greatest galleries: the Prado in Madrid (home to Picasso’s Guernica), the Hermitage in St Petersburg, the Louvre in Paris, Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum and of course, the city-rejuvenating Guggenheim in Bilbao. Not that you should need an excuse for a jaunt to New York, but MoMA, the Whitney, the Metropolitan and Brooklyn Museum, for a start, make a great justification – as does the vast and eclectic Smithsonian, the world’s largest museum, for checking out Washington DC. All allowing plenty of time for night life, dining out, café-hopping and shopping as well, obviously…
Get some ideas online with www.googleartproject.com, which now has 150 virtual tours featuring galleries and museums worldwide, or the UK’s www.culture24.org.uk , a great source of ideas for British trips.
Researching your trip online will also help you get the best deals on travel and accommodation. Don’t economise on a comprehensive travel insurance, however, if you go abroad; medical bills can be expensive, especially if you fall ill or have an accident somewhere like the USA. Having appropriate cover can help ensure you receive the treatment you need. If you’re a regular traveller, buying an annual policy could be a good idea. And remember to order your travel money before you go.
Thumbnail courtesy of The Telegraph UK.