Five of the Best: Art Galleries in the UK

We pick our favourite places for unmissable art

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TURNER CONTEMPORARY

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Photo: Nick Gutteridge

The Turner Contemporary caused huge waves on the art scene when it opened its landmark, David Chipperfield- designed building bang in the middle of Margate’s seafront in Kent two years ago. These days the town is a buzzing with indie art spaces, retro shops and cute cafes, and the exhibition space - which is the largest in the south east outside London - is the cherry on the cake. Local artist Tracey Emin wasn’t the first to be associated with the town either: the gallery is named after prolific 20th century painter JMW Turner who stayed there. Don’t miss this autumn’s Platform Graduate Showcase of work by rising star East Kent artists. Rendezvous, Margate, Kent, 01843 223000; Turnercontemporary.org;

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YORKSHIRE SCULPTURE PARK

Photo: Jonty Wilde

Whoever thought of the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle is a genius. The idea is that a handful of art venues (which include the Hepworth Wakefield and the Henry Moore Institute too), only 30-minutes away from each other, can all be visited in one day. Our pick of the bunch is the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, which has an impressive 500 acres of grounds plus five indoor galleries of contemporary sculpture. There are temporary, changing exhibitions inside (currently, you can see new work by Lucy + Jorge Orta based around the theme of water) and rotating sculpture in the grounds by the likes of Anthony Gormley, Joan Miro and upcoming artist James Capper. Plus, its art shop rivals any in London. Worth a visit - whatever the weather. West Bretton, Wakefield, WF4 4LG; 01924 832631; ysp.co.uk; @YSPsculpture

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NOTTINGHAM CONTEMPORARY

Photo: David Sillitoe

It might only be four years old, but the Nottingham Contemporary Gallery - one of the biggest contemporary arts centres in the UK - keeps coming up trumps with exhibitions of work by artists that we really, really want to see. In the past, the gallery has shown photography by Diane Arbus, paintings by David Hockney and video works by Mika Rottenburg. Upcoming exhibitions include ‘Lets make the Water Black’, a series of sculptural puppets made from found materials, salvaged movie props and discarded theatre sets by Canadian artist Geoffrey Farmer and, next year, work by the artist formerly known as Spartacus Chetwynd, who recently changed her name to Marvin Gaye Chetwynd (we’re not kidding). Weekday Cross, Nottingham, Ng1 2GB, 01159 489755; nottinghamcontemporary.org;

DE LA WARR PAVILION

Visit the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill, east Sussex and you’re just as likely to stumble across Goldfrapp or Patti Smith performing as part of the live programme, as you are an exhibition of art by Grayson Perry or Jeremy Deller. Set in a Grade I listed Modernist building on the seafront (it had a massive overhaul 14 years ago), there’s no permanent collection: here, it’s all about experimentation and cool, cross-platform collaborations. Film screenings, comedy nights and one-off shows by the Moscow Ballet are all part of the exciting line-up. Marina, Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, TN40 1DP; 01429 229111; dlwp.com; @dlwp

BALTIC MILL

Blockbuster exhibitions at this industrial building on the south bank of the River Tyne in Gateshead have been drawing the crowds (over five million to be exact) for the last 10 years. It boasts four gallery spaces, performance areas, artists’ studios, and a cracking top-floor restaurant, Six, which has stunning views over Newcastle’s cityscape. There’s no permanent collection, just an ever-changing series of exhibitions and events. The upcoming ‘Random Acts’, a screening of 10 short films commissioned by the Baltic in association with Channel 4, is one for the diary. Gateshead Quays, South Shore Road, Gateshead, NE8 3BA; 0191 478 1810; balticmill.com

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