Yorkshire is steeped in history and exudes a strong creative tradition, characteristics that are all the more evident when observing its flourishing cultural scene. The county is home to six national museums, dozens of fantastic visual galleries and many award-winning collections. No matter your preference, whether it be the historical, the scientific or the artistic, Yorkshire offers the perfect place to peak your interest and allow creative juices to flow.
We take a look at a few of the best museums and art galleries around, all of which demonstrate Yorkshire’s creative spirit and rich heritage in their own special way.
Yorkshire’s Museums and Galleries
Eureka! in Halifax makes education fun. It’s an interactive museum where ‘children play to learn and grown-ups learn to play’. There are hundreds of hands-on exhibits, dozens of special themed events, and plenty of helpful sessions for school trips and big groups. It truly is a magical place, and it’s not difficult to see why it’s the UK’s leading children’s museum. Eureka! is specifically designed for 0-11 year olds but it’s fun for all of the family: current exhibits allow you to explore the human body (and risk getting sneezed on by a giant nose), meet a musical alien called Orby, and also embark on a wonderful sensory trail outside.
The Royal Armouries
Leeds’ Royal Armouries is the UK’s national museum of arms and armour. It has a world-renowned collection of over 75,000 pieces, showcasing weapons and armour of warriors through the ages. From early medieval knights to the modern soldier, the Royal Armouries is jam-packed with relics of war and international treasures. So whether you’d like to take a look at some Wild West shotguns, admire the armour of Tudor kings, or learn a little more about Japan’s oriental weapons, this is the place for you (plus it’s free!)
The beautiful Beningbrough Hall on the outskirts of York is a National Trust gallery, partnered with the National Portrait Gallery. Its historic rooms within the Italian-inspired house are filled with amazing portraits, many of which are on loan from the NPG collection. At the moment there’s a brilliant royal exhibition which is right at home within Beningbrough’s grand interior. Once you’ve finished admiring the work, there are gardens and a woodland area to stretch your legs, plus a restaurant, gift shop and farm shop.
The National Railway Museum
York city centre’s National Railway Museum is the largest railway museum in the world. Inside, it showcases 300 years of railway history and more than a million objects. There are also some of the biggest locomotives in the national collection, making it the perfect day out for railway enthusiasts. If you’d like to take a little more from your visit, there are often workshops running with experts to explain in more detail, and there’s also a brilliant outdoor picnic area and a railway-inspired adventure playground.
The Bronte Parsonage Museum
The Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth is the ideal spot for any bookworms visiting Yorkshire. Lovingly restored and filled with a huge range of artefacts, the sisters’ former home allows visitors to step back in time and really begin to understand the famous Brontës. The museum contains a comprehensive collection of manuscripts, along with family artwork and various other items. It is maintained by the Brontë Society, one of the oldest literary societies in the world, who ensure it remains enlightening and poignant for all who visit.
The Jorvik Viking Centre
One of the UK’s favourite attractions is the Jorvik Viking Centre, which is located in the middle of the city atop the site of one of the most famous discoveries of modern archaeology. Here, you can journey through reconstructed Viking streets and immerse yourself in the 1,000 year old world. With a fantastic representation of the original dig, various artefacts and a replica village that goes as far as accurate sounds and smells, this museum is the perfect place to learn more about our own history.
The Captain Cook Memorial Museum
Winner of the 2013 VisitEngland Gold Award for Excellence, the Captain Cook Memorial Museum is a must-see should you drop by Whitby. The museum is the 17th century house harbour house where Cook once lodged and trained as an apprentice before embarking on his epic voyages. The museum celebrates his achievements in the form of letters, paintings and maps, as well as many weird and wonderful objects from his newly discovered lands.
Harewood House, on the outskirts of Leeds, contains an astounding collection of art. From Italian Renaissance masters to modern art pioneers, the historic house is home to the work of many classic and innovative artists. 2014 will boast a collection that celebrates the very best of France and Yorkshire in honour of the Tour de France Yorkshire Depart, so if you’re a bike fanatic with a penchant for art, it’s well worth a visit. There are also lovely cafes, a bird garden and an adventure playground for the kids!
Is there a Yorkshire museum or gallery that’s special to you? Tweet us @gorgeouscottage and let us know if we’ve missed your favourite off the list!
Tags: art galleries, Beningbrough Hall, Bronte Parsonage Museum, Captain Cook Memorial Museum, Eureka Children's Museum, Harewood House, Haworth, Jorvik Viking Centre, Leeds, museums, National Railway Museum, The Royal Armouries, Whitby, York