ArtandCulture in Leicester

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United Kingdom
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New Walk Museum & Art Gallery
New Walk Museum & Art Gallery, Leicester's original museum, has wide ranging collections and displays spanning the natural and cultural world. A family friendly day out, the galleries include Ancient Egypt, Dinosaurs, Wild Space, The Den gallery for the under 5s, the Victorian art gallery, Arts & Crafts gallery and a modern and contemporary art gallery. The first floor galleries include World Arts, Picasso Ceramics: The Attenborough Collection and Leicester's internationally renowned collection of German Expressionism. The museum welcomes a vast array of temporary exhibitions, featuring works from the collections, touring exhibitions from national museums and a programme of contemporary art and craft displays.
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Curve
Curve is a spectacular, state-of-the-art theatre in the heart of Leicester’s vibrant Cultural Quarter. Opened in 2008 by Her Majesty The Queen, the award-winning building designed by acclaimed architect Rafael Viñoly offers a completely unique visitor experience. Unlike any other theatre in the UK, there is no traditional backstage area. Audiences can enjoy the full theatre-making process, peek behind the scenes and maybe even spot an actor or two dashing from the stage to their dressing room or enjoying a coffee in the café. The building’s stunning curved façade is made from 1,192 tonnes of steel and 46,000 square metres of glass. Managed by Leicester Theatre Trust, Curve is a registered charity providing engaging theatrical experiences for the community. Working with people of all ages and backgrounds, the theatre is committed to nurturing new and emerging talent, as well as creating world-class productions.
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De Montfort Hall
De Montfort Hall has been one of Leicester's premier entertainment venues for over a century, hosting live music ranging from pop to classical, theatre, stand-up comedy, musicals and operas. The venue hosts an eclectic range of quality shows, including live music and festivals from rock to pop, touring West End musicals, internationally recognised comedians, opera and orchestra, ballet and dance and children’s shows. De Montfort Hall is set amongst beautiful gardens, which occasionally host outdoor stages to treat visitors to stunning views whilst enjoying the show. The hall is proud to have been a residence of the Philharmonia Orchestra since 1997. Acknowledged as one of the world's greatest orchestras, the Philharmonia run a programme of concerts as well as community and educational events each year. The hall is also home to a magnificent pipe organ; it has almost 6,000 pipes and is believed to be one of the last surviving example of its kind in the world. It was constructed in Leicester by organ builders Stephen Taylor and Son Ltd., and was a gift to the town by local industrialist Alfred Corah.
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The Guildhall
The Guildhall is a historic building and the oldest building still in use in the city. It was Leicester’s first police station and between 1876 and the 1900’s and saw many unsavoury characters pass through its doors. The Great Hall itself was built in about 1390 as a meeting place for the Guild of Corpus Christi (a small but powerful group of businessmen and gentry) and it’s also believed that Shakespeare performed here during Tudor times. Over the years it has had many uses, including housing one of the oldest public libraries and serving as the Town Hall. After restoration, the Guildhall was opened to the public as a museum in 1926. Today the Guildhall is best known as an excellent performance venue, attracting acts from across the country, and as a museum where visitors can step back in time and come face to face with Crankie Gemmie and Emma Smith, two of Leicester's notorious pickpockets who can be found lurking in the Victorian police cells. The museum is also home to the Medieval Leicester galleries. Through objects and activities, visitors can walk the streets of medieval Leicester and uncover a world both familiar and very different to our own!
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Nottingham Contemporary
Nottingham Contemporary is one of the largest galleries of contemporary art in the UK. The gallery hosts regularly changing exhibitions of international art. Nottingham Contemporary is set in an iconic building, designed by the award-winning architects Caruso St John, in the heart of the city centre. Alongside the exhibitions, Nottingham Contemporary runs a full programme of events, including talks, film screenings, music and performances. Free drop-in family activities take place every weekend and throughout school holidays. The café, Ottar at Contemporary serves a seasonal, ripe, and varied menu, as well as award-winning chocolates and a selection of delicious cakes.
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Nottingham Society of Artists Gallery
There is always plenty to see at the home of The Nottingham Society of Artists. Situated only a few yards from the entrance to Nottingham Castle, the splendid gallery has a vibrant programme of exhibitions throughout the year, showing a wide and varied selection of work from members of the Society as well as from amateur and professional artists from all over the county.
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Coventry Music Museum
The recently expanded Coventry Music Museum (CMM) is an award-winning permanent independent museum. Although 2-Tone music is well featured here, the museum never forgets all the many artists to come out of Coventry & Warwickshire. King, The Enemy, Hazel O'Connor, Delia Derbyshire, Panjabi MC are all showcased, as are The Coventry Carol, Frank Ifield, The Specials, The Selecter, The Beat and Madness. There is an interactive studio room, plus a mock record shop booth and a reproduction of a typical Ska fans bedroom.
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The Prebendal Manor
Described as a hidden gem and dating from the early 13th century the manor is the oldest property in Northamptonshire. Included in the visit are a large recreated medieval garden, fish ponds and dovecote. The Tithe Barn museum houses artefacts from the archaeological excavations and the history of Nassington. The Manor is an affordable and fun place for families. A children's trail, corn grinding, pottery making in the holidays, quill pen writing, dressing up the farm animals add to the enjoyment. The manor and gardens provide a unique experience for groups, with guided tours of the manor and gardens. Morning coffee or homemade teas are available. Lunch can be provided by prior arrangement.
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Herbert Art Gallery & Museum
The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum is the perfect place to delve into Coventry’s history and immerse yourself in world-class art. Investigate the natural world, modern art, and the Old Masters. Wander through dazzling interactive displays and enjoy the latest exhibitions while admiring the building’s unique architecture. As well as the art gallery’s ever-changing displays, often created in partnership with national museums, the Herbert offers a wide range of talks, events and workshops for both adults and children. Permanent galleries range from the Visual Arts, to Social and Industrial History, Archaeology and Natural History, there really is something for every visitor.
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Albany Theatre
The Albany Theatre is truly a hidden gem in the heart of Coventry, with its impressive Art Deco-style theatre behind a superb façade of the old Coventry Technical College.
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Elton Hall and Gardens
The Hall has been home to the Proby family since 1660. It is an enchanting house which has evolved throughout the centuries. Every room contains magnificent treasures, from late 15th century Old Masters to Reynolds, Constable and remarkable Victorian painters such as Millais and Alma Tadema. Each generation has collected books and there are three libraries containing over 10,000 books. One of the most remarkable is Henry VIII’s prayer book with inscriptions by him and his three children. The garden has been lovingly restored over the last 35 years with mature topiary, a Gothic Orangery and billowing flower borders set between immaculately cut hedges.
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Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery
Located in one of the city's most historic buildings, Peterborough Museum has a wealth of stories to fascinate and enthral all the family. There are some amazing objects and interactive displays for all ages. The collections comprise over 200,000 items of great national and international importance. " Explore the historic building and its story: from private house to hospital and museum. Go inside the original Victorian Operating Theatre to learn about the grisly history of surgery. " Visit an underwater world! See the internationally important collection of fossils of Jurassic sea-monsters and find out more about the creatures that swam in our prehistoric seas over 150 million years ago. " Discover the story of the world's first prisoner of war camp, built 200 years ago during the Napoleonic Wars. See inside one of the cells and view the incredibly intricate items made by the French prisoners. " Learn about the story of Peterborough, from prehistory to the present. Come face-to-face with Britain's oldest murder victim, see Roman and Saxon treasures, look inside a Victorian railway cottage and clock in to find out what Peterborough companies have made over the last century.
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Key Theatre
Situated in Peterborough's city centre the Key Theatre brings great entertainment to the area with the theatre programme made up of 'home-grown' productions, national touring shows, local community productions and a full programme of one-off concerts. Also part of the Key Theatre is ‘Riva’ the fabulous restaurant offering excellent food, plus views of the Nene embankment, making this a stunning setting for city-centre dining. The Key’s pantomimes are renowned throughout the region for their quality and traditional sense of good, clean, family fun. And with over 30 years of experience, it’s no wonder that thousands of children have grown up enjoying panto at the Key and many now bring their own families too!
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Aston Hall
At Aston Hall follow in the footsteps of royalty and visit one of the last great Jacobean houses to be built. Built between 1618 and 1635 for Sir Thomas Holte and home to James Watt Junior from 1817-1848, Aston Hall is steeped in history. Now a grade I listed building, the hall is restored to its former Jacobean splendor and is hugely popular with visitors of all ages. Walk through the stunning interiors and see the home that received royalty, was besieged during the English Civil War and inspired an author.
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Akamba Hertiage Centre
Discover the spirit of Africa at Akamba Hertiage Centre in Solihull. The centre houses two acres of exotic plantlife and palms, stunning lifesize animal scultptures and the new African Bird walk where you can see some of the world's most colourful birds up close. Be sure to check out the jungle beer garden and tribal restaurant for some premier African and Caribbean cuisine.
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Black Country Living Museum
Award-winning corner of the West Midlands is now one of the finest and largest open-air museums in the United Kingdom. After very humble beginnings, a bright idea and 40 years of inspiration, this is twenty six acres worth exploring. Amazing as it may seem, we have created a ‘place’ – a real and lively place, where once there was nothing and nobody. With a village and charismatic residents to chat with. Hear the stories of the people who lived and worked in the Black Country from our friendly Historic Characters. They'll explain what it was really like to be alive at the height of the Industrial Revolution. Visit a fairground - fancy a bit of old-fashioned fun? Why not visit our fairground with original rides dating back to 1910? Have a go on the Brooklyn Cakewalk, test your skills on the 'hook a duck' or hit the right spot with a throw on the the coconut shy. Have a ride on a vintage bus. Museum maintains a selection of vintage vehicles for you to ride throughout the year. Why not hop on the longest trolleybus route in the country? Play some old school street games. Head on down to the cobbled street and try your hand at some classic street games including the 'hoop and stick' and the 'cup and ball' . And also Explore over 40 period shops, houses and industrial areas. Since 1978 we've been recreating buildings from around the Black Country, sometimes moving them here brick-by-brick. Grab and a map and get exploring!
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Peckover House and Gardens
Peckover House lies at the heart of the North Brink in Wisbech, one of Britain's most perfect streetscapes. From the 1790s it was home to the Peckovers, a fascinating dynasty of Quaker bankers, collectors and philanthropists who created the spacious Victorian garden that lies behind the house. The majority of the indigenous Peckover collection was sold during a two day sale after the death of Alexandrina Peckover in 1948, but the house is still full of interesting artefacts, objects and stories.
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Wysing Arts Centre
Wysing Arts Centre is a registered charity that provides a range of programmes for artists and ongoing exhibitions, public events, activity for young people, families and schools. Our large rural site near Cambridge includes a gallery, educational facilities, artists studios, a recording studio and ceramics studio, a 17th century farmhouse, outdoor sculpture, and café.
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The Bridge of Sighs
Neo-gothic covered bridge linking the new court of St. John's with the older original college buildings. Built in the 19th Century and named after the covered bridge in Venice, on which prisoners would sigh as they were escourted to their cells.
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Byard Art
Contemporary gallery Byard Art is located in the historic centre of Cambridge, opposite King’s College Chapel. Its innovative exhibition programme of solo and mixed shows by contemporary artists offers a unique selection of two and three-dimensional work, all in a friendly and welcoming environment. All of Byard Art artwork is original, and varies in medium, scale and price.
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Cambridge Arts Theatre
A thriving regional showcase, Cambridge Arts Theatre is an outstanding theatre, a beacon for the development of arts professionals and a much-loved regional and national institution, whose history is rooted in the city of Cambridge. The Theatre is the only high-quality presenting theatre within 60 miles serving the population of Cambridgeshire and the surrounding area. Founded in 1936 by the economist and founder member of the Arts Council, John Maynard Keynes, The Theatre has helped launch the careers of theatrical luminaries such as Ian McKellen, Derek Jacobi, Emma Thompson and Stephen Fry. Today Cambridge Arts Theatre is the venue of choice for all scale-appropriate drama, dance and opera in both the subsidised and commercial sectors, building strong and mutually beneficial relationships with the cream of the country’s touring producers and bringing productions to the region that diversify and enrich the city’s cultural offering.
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Fitzwilliam Museum
With over half a million incredible artworks in its collection, the Fitzwilliam Museum is one of the most impressive regional museums in Europe, presenting world history and art from as far back as 2500 BC to the present day.
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Oxford Playhouse
Oxford Playhouse is a theatre for everyone. Oxford Playhouse and its Burton Taylor Studio present and produce a wide range of live performances. The programme includes the best of British and international drama, family shows, contemporary dance and music, student and amateur shows, comedy, lectures and poetry. The Playhouse produces and tours its own shows, hosts Artists in Residence and presents Playhouse Plays Out, an ongoing series of off-site events which happen at locations across the county. The theatre’s Learning team works with over 15,000 people each year through post-show discussions, workshops, work experience, holiday schemes, a youth theatre and a young people’s theatre company.
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Alice's Shop
A fundamental part of the tales of Alice in Wonderland, Alice’s Shop features in the original story written by Lewis Carroll. Situated across the road from Alice’s childhood home, the Oxford University college of Christ Church, Alice’s Shop was Alice’s sweet shop 150 years ago and was written into Alice’s adventures. Illustrator of Through the Looking-Glass, Sir John Tenniel, sketched two illustrations of the shop for the original book. An entire episode in the story even takes place in the shop. Oxford is the birthplace of Alice in Wonderland and many inspirations for the stories came from Oxford. Alice’s Shop is the most tangible link to an episode in the book that is still in existence today, and when you step into Alice’s Shop you are stepping into the Victorian world of Alice.
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Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) is the leading international centre for modern and contemporary sculpture. It is an independent charitable trust and registered museum situated in the 500-acre, 18th-century Bretton Hall estate in West Yorkshire. Founded in 1977 by Executive Director Peter Murray, YSP was the first sculpture park in the UK, and is the largest of its kind in Europe, providing the only place in the world to see Barbara Hepworth’s The Family of Man in its entirety alongside a significant collection of sculpture, including bronzes by Henry Moore, and site-specific works by Andy Goldsworthy, David Nash and James Turrell.
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Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery
Re-opened at the old Music Hall in April 2014, Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery tells the stories that make Shropshire unique through its’ amazing galleries: Roman Gallery, Shropshire Gallery, Medieval, Tudor and Stuart Galleries and the Special Exhibition Gallery. Come and explore millions of years of history through over one thousand remarkable objects in the extraordinary set of building that house Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery. From key Shropshire finds like the Roman tombstones and headstones and the Shropshire Mammoth to a fine geology and Tudor collection, Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery intimately depicts local history using all senses. Since opening, Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery has established itself as the perfect family museum and holds events and activities throughout the week that are ideal for children. Children and their families can take part in great activities like Mini-Mammoths to following the trail of Maximo Mouse through the museum – there’s always something in this family Museum for children to have fun and learn.
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Manchester Art Gallery
One of the country's finest art collections in spectacular Victorian and contemporary surroundings. The gallery's £35 million transformations has enabled the collection to be presented to visitors in imaginative new ways. Highlights include outstanding pre-Raphaelite paintings, craft and design and early 20thC British art. Exciting exhibitions programme, there is a wide range of events, from talks and tours to hands-on activities for both children and adults. Superb visitor facilities include 2 cafes, large shop and full disabled access. For those with younger children, try one of our explorer tool belts for family groups with children aged three to six. There are plenty of tools to help you explore the gallery including binoculars, magnifying glasses, spot cards and much more.
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Ordsall Hall
Ordsall Hall is Salford's 'hidden gem'! Dating back over 600 years, it is one of the region's finest examples of an Elizabethan black and white half-timbered manor-house. Wander back through time soaking up the atmosphere of our fully-furnished Great Hall and Star Chamber Bedroom. Get the low-down on Tudor lifestyles; maybe reminisce in our Victorian showcase and kitchen; or unearth the wealth of new discoveries to be made in our exciting and informative family events and exhibitions programme. It's all happening at Ordsall Hall!
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Stanley Spencer Gallery
The Stanley Spencer Gallery is situated in the heart of Cookham, the picturesque ‘village in heaven’ where Spencer was born and painted for most of his life. Established in 1962 the building was transformed ten years ago into a magnificent modern art museum, home to the world’s largest collection of Spencer paintings, drawings, personal letters, photographs, press cuttings and books. Visitor attractions: film and audio guide; exhibition catalogue; self-guided walk pamphlet; free children’s activity booklet; gift shop.
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Royal Armouries Museum
Explore the national museum of arms and armour, with objects from across the world and through time over five floors of stunning displays. Experience daily live performances, including combat demonstrations, object handling sessions and talks. Check out the weapons and armour of warriors through the ages from early medieval knights to the modern-day soldier. Discover treasures from around the globe - explore the Ottoman Empire, the Wild West, Europe, Japan and India. Wonder at the fabulous arms and armour of the Japanese shoguns, the royal houses of Europe and the kings and queens of England including Henry VIII who reigns supreme in our Tournament Gallery.
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Opera North
Opera North is England’s national opera company in the North and one of Europe’s leading arts organisations.
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Leeds City Museum
Leeds City Museum offers an exciting, fun and interactive day out for all the family. There are six galleries for you to visit. Come and find the Leeds Tiger in the Life on Earth Gallery or get interactive by camouflaging yourself. Discover the mummy of Nesyammun in the Ancient Worlds Gallery or try a game of Greek Gods and Goddesses Top Trumps. Explore the history of Leeds in the Leeds Story Gallery, from the first archaeological finds to changing community displays reflecting people’s lives in the city today. Investigate the varied collections of Leeds Museums and Galleries in the Collectors Cabinet Gallery.
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Dorney Court
Dorney Court is one of England’s finest stately homes. It is a Grade 1 listed building, renowned for its architectural importance and historical significance, and any visit is a fascinating and unique experience. Built in the 15th century, the Tudor Manor House has been lived in by the Palmer family for more than 450 years – this remarkable and characterful building has been passed from father to son over thirteen generations. “Dorney” is the ancient Saxon word for “island of bees” and the estate remains famous for its honey which is still produced to this day. The very first pineapple to be raised in England was grown at Dorney Court and presented to Charles II in 1661 and the spectre of a bald lady haunts the wood-panelled hallways. Dorney Court is very much a family home and visitors will find that the House and Grounds have an easy charm and a warmth of welcome that reflect continuing family use and the passion and love of everyone involved with the Estate. Dorney Court has been used as a film and TV location since the 1970s. The House and Grounds have featured in a wide range of productions including Elizabeth: The Golden Age, The Other Boleyn Girl, Inspector Morse and Poirot. When you visit Dorney Court, you will find rooms full of history. Oak and beautiful lacquer furniture compete for space with family portraits and treasures collected over six centuries.
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Kirkstall Abbey
Explore one of the most complete examples of a medieval Cistercian abbey in Britain. Set in wonderful parkland along the banks of the River Aire, Kirkstall Abbey boast historic architecture amid a haven of wildlife and greenery. Kirkstall Abbey Visitor Centre tells you more about the lives of the 12th century monks and contains the touch table, a unique catalogue of images of the abbey from the 18th century to the present day. Kirkstall Abbey is directly across the road from Abbey House Museum, this is a great opportunity to make a day out for all the family.
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National Trust Runnymede
Seen by many as the birthplace of modern democracy, this picturesque open landscape beside the Thames was witness to King John's historic sealing of the Magna Carta on 15 June 1215. Today Runnymede is the perfect place to relax outdoors or to pause and reflect on the history of the struggle for freedom. As well as a monument to the democratic legacy of the Magna Carta, you'll find further memorials to John F. Kennedy and the Commonwealth Air Forces. There are two art installations to be discovered in the meadows. The Jurors by Hew Locke is a collection of 12 bronze chairs sat in the meadow, each intricately decorated with designs depicting current and past struggles relating to democracy and freedom. Writ in Water is a major architectural artwork by Mark Wallinger, in collaboration with Studio Octopi. The large scale circular building features a labyrinth style entrance leading to a central chamber, where a pool sits below a central opening, reflecting in light from the outside. Celebrating the enduring significance of Magna Carta, this unique piece of artwork offers space for reflection and contemplation.
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Harewood House
Harewood’s history is still evolving – always changing, always striving to stay relevant to the present day. It must be alive, cared for by the people who inhabit it and enjoyed by the people who visit it. Harewood is a living history, one with many stories still to tell.
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Kensington Palace
Kensington Palace, a palace of secret stories and public lives, has been influenced by generations of royal women. Experience life as an 18th-century royal courtier whilst making your way through the magnificent King's and Queen's State Apartments adorned with remarkable paintings from the Royal Collection. Victoria Revealed, set within the rooms Queen Victoria lived in as a child, is an exhibition that explores her life and reign as wife, mother, Queen and Empress. Diana: Her Fashion Story - Kensington Palace’s newest exhibition - traces the evolution of Diana’s style; from the demure, romantic outfits of her first public appearances to the glamour, elegance and confidence of her later life. Highlights include the pink blouse worn for Diana’s engagement portrait in 1981 and the ink blue velvet gown, worn when the princess danced with John Travolta.