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The Coolest Art Galleries to Visit in the North East and Cumbria

The Coolest Art Galleries to Visit in the North East and Cumbria Clockwise from top left: Treeby & Bolton | Mary Ann Rogers Gallery | Spanish Gallery | Kirkharle Courtyard | The Bowes Museum | Emily Ward
Places to go
May 2024
Reading time 4 Minutes

From the UK's first gallery dedicated to the art, history and culture of Spain to the home of the Silver Swan, the North East and Cumbria's towns and cities are home to an abundance of art galleries

Here are just a few of our favourites to see and buy the best art.
Top: Laing Art Gallery. Bottom: Woodhorn Museum Top: Laing Art Gallery. Bottom: Woodhorn Museum

Laing Art Gallery

Founded in 1901, the funds to build the Laing Art Gallery were provided by Newcastle businessman Alexander Laing and today it’s home to an internationally important collection of art (including oil paintings, watercolours, ceramics, silver and glassware) to view. Exhibitions throughout the year offer visitors a chance to see artwork of various styles, whilst the Northern Spirit gallery on the ground floor displays works by local icons including Thomas Bewick and a collection of Newcastle silver, glass and ceramics. Upstairs is the 18th and 19th century display – don’t miss William Holman-Hunt’s pre-Raphaelite masterpiece Isabella and the Pot of Basil. From 10th May visitors can view more than 20 works by Turner, exploring Britain’s rise of steam power and industry, and there’s also a shop, café and learning space to discover.
New Bridge Street, Newcastle NE1 8AG
0191 278 1611


Situated at the gateway to the North Lakes, near Penrith, Rheged is home to a modern, independent gallery which brings together both established and emerging artists, celebrates art and craft in all its diversity and hosts a range of artist-led creative classes. Currently shining a light on Northern artists with the New Light Art Prize Exhibition (until 2nd June), upcoming exhibitions will celebrate best-selling illustrator, artist and author Jackie Morris (June to August), leading photographer Ian Lawson’s new portraits of Herdwicks (September to November), Everest centenary (December to February 2025) and the 10th anniversary of Rheged’s annual Great Print Exhibition (March to June 2025).
Rheged, Penrith CA11 0DQ
01768 868000

Woodhorn Museum

In what was once the largest pit village in the world, Woodhorn is known for its vibrant exhibition and event programme, and it’s home to the iconic Ashington Group Collection of artworks. The Ashington Group (often referred to as the Pitmen Painters) produced hundreds of paintings showing what life was like both above and below ground for their mining communities in Northumberland and, as well as the permanent display of their artwork, visitors can learn more about them on a free spotlight tour of some of the collection’s highlights. Until 6th May, don’t miss the annual Northumberland Open (the largest exhibition of its type in the county) as it celebrates the 90th anniversary of the Ashington Group, and until 15th September, see My Life as a Pitman – a special collection of paintings made by Ashington Group artist Oliver Kilbourn, documenting his 50-year career underground.
Queen Elizabeth II Country Park, Ashington NE63 9YF
01670 624455

Farfield Mill Farfield Mill

Farfield Mill

This Victorian woollen mill in Sedbergh houses exhibitions, workshops (and a tearoom) for visitors to discover. There’s a range of ceramics, glass, prints, paintings, textiles, homewares and accessories on display in the Craft Gallery, and various studios where you can see talented artists and makers at work (including potters, weavers and jewellers). Don’t miss the heritage display where you can see a working Dobcross power loom and the 300-year-old Witney Blanket loom. There are various workshops taking place throughout spring too, and you can learn more about Farfield’s history at the National Mills Open Weekend (11th and 12th May).
Garsdale Road, Sedbergh LA10 5LW

Mary Ann Rogers Gallery

Mary Ann Rogers’ country house gallery showcases her vibrant watercolour paintings in the Northumberland hills. Her paintings are inspired by her surroundings and its inhabitants, from landscapes and botanicals to wild hares and grazing cattle or the constituents of her own menagerie of birds. As well as original paintings, she has created prints, stationery and a host of other gifts featuring her work. We are also delighted to announce that Mary Ann is one of the artists that will be exhibiting with us at Living North LIVE at Newcastle Racecourse this April.
West Woodburn, Hexham NE48 2SE
01434 270216

Hancock Gallery

This commercial fine art gallery in the centre of Newcastle showcases an eclectic mix of work from renowned UK and international artists. Whether you prefer prints, paintings or sculptures, their multidisciplinary offering spans the full spectrum with work from both contemporary artists and 20th century masters such as L. S. Lowry and Salvador Dali. They have a dedicated advisory team to help you, whether you’re making a one-off purchase, an investment or looking to grow a collection.
2 Jesmond Road West, Newcastle NE2 4PQ
0191 241 0442

27 Art House 27 Art House

27 Art House

Amy Izat is a truly inspirational fine artist. In 2014 she collapsed from a brain haemorrhage whilst working and living in Sardinia and had a 50 percent chance of surviving. Now she’s running her own successful gallery in Berwick and has an impressive portfolio of work including canine, feline and equine portraits and wildlife sketches. At 27 Art House (a shop, studio and gallery) she sells her own artwork (originals, greeting cards, postcards, prints and homeware) alongside work by other artists and also hosts workshops throughout the year. Amy’s vision was for the gallery to become a home for all kinds of creativity – from artwork, exhibitions and local artisanal crafts to wellness events, yoga, meditation classes and workshops. Artist Phoebe Stewart Carter and Amy live together above the gallery and while Amy creates her work and mans the gallery below, Phoebe paints in her studio upstairs. Both artists hope to provide an insight into their world through an exhibition at the end of the year which will bring together their lifestyle in Northumberland and how that inspires them both.
Bridge Street, Berwick TD15 1ES

Fika Gallery

Nestled in the charming market town of Morpeth, Fika Gallery, owned by mixed-media artist Jonathan Antony, houses both a contemporary exhibition space (showcasing emerging and renowned artists from the North East and beyond) and a vibrant coffee shop. Visitors can see artwork by Jonathan himself as well as a range of artists including local sculptor Tom Maley. In Swedish, the word Fika refers to the moment that you take a break, often with a cup of coffee paired with a baked good (Pink Lane Bakery treats are available here), so step inside, take a break and browse and buy some brilliant art.
1–3 Oldgate, Morpeth

Emily Ward

From original paintings and commissioned portraits, to all manner of printed posters, gifts and even kitchen splashbacks, North Shields-based artist Emily Ward offers an incredible variety of ways to incorporate her vibrant artwork and signature speckled designs into your home. She depicts a fantastic variety of places and subjects but, of course, we particularly love her depictions of iconic locations across the North East.
5 Campville, North Shields NE29 0NR
07956 343374

Top: Kirkharle Courtyard. Bottom: The Bowes Museum Top: Kirkharle Courtyard. Bottom: The Bowes Museum

Kirkharle Courtyard

Nestled in Northumbrian countryside with a must-visit Coffee House, Kirkharle Courtyard is home to a collection of galleries which showcase the work of independent, local artisans. Visitors can shop handmade furniture at Robinson Gay Cabinetmakers, landscapes by Rebecca Noelle Art Studio, paintings, prints and gifts by renowned Northumbrian artist Peter Phillips, and work by many more talented creators at Number One Kirkharle. Plus, you can take part in workshops with Sarah Loveland Photography.
Kirkharle, Newcastle NE19 2PE
01830 540362

The Bowes Museum

This iconic museum in Teesdale was the creation of Joséphine and John Bowes, and first opened to the public in 1892. It still houses the couple’s permanent collection of artworks, ceramics, antique furniture and – of course – the marvellous automaton the Sliver Swan, which has resumed its performances after a lengthy restoration process. The galleries span seven centuries and house some of the world’s best-known artists from Van Dyck, Goya, Canaletto and Gainsborough through to established, new and upcoming artists. For fashionistas, their displays of historical dress are always a highlight but from 18th May, visitors can also see a new collection of textile artworks, most of which have not been shown before. Until 23rd June, see art take flight with Murmuration – a celebration of birds and their symbolism across time and culture through a vivid collection of drawing, sculpture, film and installation. We’re looking forward to Kith & Kinship from 20th July featuring rarely seen and often overlooked works by Northern artists Norman Cornish and LS Lowry.
Barnard Castle DL12 8NP
01833 690606

Spanish Gallery

The UK’s first gallery dedicated to the art, history and culture of Spain is a remarkable visitor attraction in Bishop Auckland to see unique works of art. Auckland Castle has been home to Francisco de Zurbarán’s series of Spanish masterpieces, Jacob and His Twelve Sons, for more than 250 years – and they inspired the making of this gallery, which opens with Benjamin, the only work not originally bought in 1756 by Bishop Trevor (who served as bishop of St Davids and bishop of Durham and remodelled Auckland Castle). Don’t miss In the Blink of an Eye (physical facsimiles of Spanish works of art), see fascinating works of art by the likes of El Greco and Murillo, then enjoy a taste of Spain at the gallery’s popular tapas restaurant, El Castillo.
Market Place, Bishop Auckland DL14 7JF

House of Smudge House of Smudge


Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art connects art, people and ideas by commissioning, collecting and re-thinking contemporary art. As the artistic heart of the School of Arts & Creative Industries at Teesside University, MIMA also supports creative learning and offers free daily tours of the gallery. The Open Access Collection Store offers a unique chance to view the entire collection of ceramics and jewellery held within the Middlesbrough Collection – over 2,350 works of art and craft. Don’t miss Jacqueline Poncelet: In the Making this spring (on display until June) – a solo exhibition combining 50 years of work by this acclaimed Belgian artist, complemented by a programme of activities, tours and talks. MIMA also welcome artists and creatives in residence on the Family Art Trolley – where families are invited to gather every Saturday to make their own masterpiece using a range of materials and techniques.
Centre Square, Middlesbrough TS1 2AZ
01642 931232

House of Smudge

John Smith (known locally as Smudge) was born in Bishop Auckland and grew up in Spennymoor. He’s been painting and sketching since primary school and his work has been on display in exhibitions since 2008. Our local history and culture inspires his work, much of which features men with flat caps and women in headscarfs, and inside his Bishop Auckland gallery you can browse originals, prints, cards and gifts.
46 Fore Bondgate, Bishop Auckland DL14 7PE

The Biscuit Factory

For more than 20 years, this former Victorian warehouse in Newcastle’s cultural quarter has been home to the UK’s largest independent contemporary art, craft and design gallery. With gallery spaces spread across two floors, they have the capacity to present over 250 collections of artwork for visitors to purchase or simply admire, as well as hosting an exciting schedule of creative workshops. Don’t miss their exhibition of artist Laura Pedley’s expansive abstract landscapes, which will launch as part of The Late Shows on 17th May.
16 Stoddart Street, Newcastle NE2 1AN
0191 261 1103

Lucy Pittaway Lucy Pittaway

The Old School Gallery

This charming gallery offers visitors the chance to admire and purchase a wonderful collection of fine art, prints and illustrations as well as a selection of gifts and ceramics. They have a great variety of work to choose from, and this is always a great place to look for quirky illustrations celebrating the stunning scenery and inhabitants of Northumberland’s coastline.
Alnmouth NE66 3NH
01665 830554

Lucy Pittaway

Each of award-winning artist Lucy Pittaway’s charming creations has a personal story behind it, with much of her inspiration coming from her life in the Yorkshire Dales. If mischievous pets, adorable sheep or Northern landmarks are your thing then expect to be spoilt for choice. Visit one of her galleries across the North East and Yorkshire, where friendly and knowledgeable art consultants can help you find the perfect original artwork to take home, or guide you through their extensive range of homewares, gifts and stationery.
61 High Street, Yarm TS15 9BH
01642 791083
Unit 7 & 8, Station Road, Brompton-on-Swale, Richmond DL10 7SN
01748 810965
22–24 Finkle Street, Richmond DL10 4QB
01748 824688

Pineapple Gallery

Sitting pretty in the heart of Bishop Auckland, Pineapple Gallery was founded in 2016 by Tom Gibbons who comes from a creative family. A collection of Tom's mother's work, mid-century wallpapers and textile products can be ordered from the gallery, which also displays contemporary art from a variety of talented artists from ceramicist Amberlea McNaught to County Durham based visual artist Jackie Stonehouse.
18 North Bondgate, Bishop Auckland DL14 7PG
07841 188295

Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art

Treeby & Bolton

This Cumbrian cultural hotspot boasts a curated collection of home and lifestyle pieces from hand-painted Swedish glass to quirky lamps and unusual gifts. In the gallery visitors can see limited edition and original art alongside glass, bronze and sculptures and the ever-changing programme of exhibitions means there’s always something new to see before you enjoy coffee and cake in the café. Browse the Borowski Glass sculptures (including new pieces for 2024) and a new collection capturing Ireland’s South West coast from acclaimed artist, Philip Gray. Head to the gallery on on 22nd June to meet artist Danny Abrahams, when he’ll unveil his exclusive collection of original paintings inspired by the Lake District.
12 Lake Road, Keswick, Cumbria CA12 5BX
01768 772443

Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art

Perhaps the most well known of Tyne and Wear’s public galleries, Baltic has been hosting an ever-changing programme of contemporary art exhibitions in a former flour mill on Gateshead Quayside for more than 20 years now. If you haven’t seen it, don’t miss Michael Rakowitz’s uplifting exhibition The Waiting Gardens of the North, which will be showing until the 26th May, or be amazed by depth of talent demonstrated by the region’s amateur artists in the Baltic Open Submission 2024 exhibition.
Gateshead Quays, South Shore Road, Gateshead NE8 3BA
0191 478 1810

Alexander Millar

His work has been displayed in shopping centres, metro carriages and as scenic backdrops for theatre, and Alexander Millar’s paintings and drawings are highly collectable. His Newcastle gallery is a Grey Street favourite and his artwork is instantly recognisable. While he’s Ayrshire-born, he’s lived in Newcastle for more than 35 years (so certainly an honorary Geordie) and in his gallery you can browse and buy paintings, drawings and prints (both figurative and landscape work and his popular series of ‘gadgies’) as well as gifts and sculptures.
55–59 Grey Street, Newcastle NE1 6EF
0191 230 4440

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