The dramatic cliffs, extensive coastline and far stretching fields of Cornwall have been inspiring artists for centuries. With that being said it should come as no surprise that Cornwall is home to a number of fantastic art galleries showcasing the work of artists from across the UK and the rest of the world. So whether you’re an artist yourself or you just love to explore other people’s work keep reading to discover some of the best galleries in Cornwall.
Tate, St Ives
Artists have been drawn to St Ives ever since the Victorian era when painters would head to the small Cornish town to paint the beautiful scenery and be inspired by the landscape. Naturally the area has only grown in popularity and it is now home to one of the most iconic galleries in the UK, the Tate. With four major sites across the UK the Tate is a name synonymous with art and even houses the national collection of British art from 1500 to present day.
The Tate offers free entry and is open year round except December 24th, 25th and 26th. You can find out more about the Tate, its exhibitions and opening times by visiting their website, www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-st-ives
Why not treat yourself to a meal after visiting the Tate gallery? Take a look at our guide to 5 of the best restaurants in St Ives for inspiration.
Penlee House Gallery and Museum, Penzance
As the only venue in Cornwall to specialise in the Newlyn School and early St Ives artists (c1880-1940), the Penlee House Gallery and Museum offers a truly unique day out for art lovers. Visit the gallery and you’ll be treated to a variety of exhibitions focusing on local artists from around west Cornwall, including important historic paintings from both public and private collections.
The Penlee House Gallery and Museum is open throughout the year and costs just £4.50 for adults and £3.00 for children. To discover the exciting exhibitions currently taking place at the gallery simply visit their website, www.penleehouse.org.uk
Other galleries in West Cornwall
Newlyn Art Gallery, Newlyn: The Newlyn Art Gallery has been bringing the best contemporary art to Cornwall for the past 120 years and as such is the ideal spot for aspiring artists to gather some inspiration. The gallery has an international reputation and because of this is able to exhibit art from not just Cornwall but all across the world.
For more information on the gallery, administration prices, and opening times please visit their website; newlynartgallery.co.uk
The Exchange, Penzance: The Exchange provides a major contemporary art space in West Cornwall. A relatively new gallery, The Exchange was opened in 2007 and its industrial feel provides a wonderful space to display both national and international collections. The gallery also displays work from some of the region’s most talented artists.
For more information on visiting The Exchange simply visit their website; newlynartgallery.co.uk
The Leach Pottery Studio and Museum, St Ives: The Leach Pottery in St Ives is one of the world’s most respected and influential potteries and, as such, is a must visit attraction for anyone in Cornwall. With a wonderful selection of gallery exhibitions available and a fantastic museum exhibit on offer there is plenty to see and do there.
For more information on the current exhibitions and opening times please visit the Leach Pottery website; www.leachpottery.com
Galleries in North Cornwall
Create Art Exhibition, Mawgan Porth: Featuring over 150 paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures the Create Art Exhibition provides a wonderful afternoon activity for those in North Cornwall. The exhibition’s pieces are set throughout the grounds and buildings of two neighbouring hotels in Mawgan Porth and with over 120 paintings representing the Cornish landscape it’s easy to see the connection the artists have with Cornwall and the inspiration it provides them.
The collection is available to browse between 10.00 and 20.00, for more information please visit the Visit Cornwall website; www.visitcornwall.com
Jo Downs Glass Gallery, Launceston: Not only is this particular gallery home to a wonderful display of hand crafted work inspired by the Cornish coast but it is also home to the Jo Downs working studio. Along with statement pieces, guests to the gallery will also find inspirational gifts, bowls, wall hangings, coasters and jewellery.
The gallery is open Monday through to Sunday from 9.00 to 17.00. For more information on this gallery please visit their website; jodowns.com/galleries
Discover what else North Cornwall has to offer, from zoos to castles, in our selection of guides to attractions in North Cornwall.
Galleries in South Cornwall
Falmouth Art Gallery, Falmouth: Falmouth Art gallery has won numerous awards and is recognised as one of the leading art galleries in the South West. The space’s ever changing exhibitions keep a fresh crowd coming in to see the wonderful British artwork on display. And, as well as the changing exhibitions, the gallery is also home to many famous pieces, like The Lady of Shallot by John William Waterhouse which is known throughout the world.
To find out the openings times and current exhibitions displaying at Falmouth Art Gallery simply visit their website; www.falmouthartgallery.com
Of course, Falmouth has plenty more to offer than the gallery alone. Have a look at what else you can get up to in our top 10 things to do guide.
Ebenezer Gallery; Polperro: Located in the beautiful fishing village of Polperro, the Ebenezer Gallery can be found in an old chapel which was bought by the members of the East Cornwall Society of Artists. The society now use the building to display work created by their members and with over 100 members currently part of the society you’re sure to see a varied selection of artwork with your visit.
Opening times vary throughout the year so for more details please visit the website; www.ebenezergallery.org.uk
Galleries in Bodmin Moor and The Tamar Valley
Limekiln Gallery, Clastock: The Limekiln Gallery is a modern gallery which specialises in artists from the Tamar Valley. Established in 2007 the gallery holds four main exhibitions throughout the year treating visitors to a wide selection of work from across the region. This ever changing collection of exhibitions can include ceramics, sculptures, etchings, print work, glass wear and jewellery.
The gallery is open Tuesday through to Sunday, more information on opening times and visiting is available on their website; www.limekilngallery.com
And there you have it, a selection of the best galleries in Cornwall. To find out more about Cornwall and what the region has to offer please see our selection of guides below.