Best Art Galleries & Attractions in Bath
03 April 2017
With a history of creativity stretching from ancient times to the avant garde, Bath is a city with amazing art credentials. But where should the visitor start? Along with nationally renowned attractions, it is also a hive of fantastic smaller galleries, art museums and other unsung gems to see. Here are some of the best places to visit in Bath for art and history lovers of all tastes.
The Victoria Art Gallery (Bridge St BA2 4AT)
Featuring a range of art from historic portraits, to landscapes and culturally rich works through the ages, this collection is an experience not to be missed. Indeed, what it lacks a little in size, it more than makes up for in curiosity. The works are beautifully presented too, each with helpful notes and a story to tell, and include the likes of Whistler, Gainsborough and others.
Perhaps the most underrated aspect of all, however, is not the canvasses on show, but the range of beautiful local crafts. Do pause to enjoy the fantastic selection of fine glasswork and other fine things on show. www.victoriagal.org.uk
Guest tip: For those visiting the Roman Bath, this attraction can be added to your ticket for a small extra fee.
The Holburne Museum (Great Pulteney St, BA2 4DB)
Image: Holburne Gallery Facebook
Located in Sydney Pleasure Gardens, this collection is another must see for any visitor interested in art history. It has an especially rich selection of works by Flemish master Bruegel the Elder, with some stunning works and regular talks by the experts. Other works include some truly remarkable portraits (including some very modern entries!), sculpture and rare furniture. But perhaps the greatest strength of the collection is its lively program of events, workshops and lectures, which share so much more with the visitor, from new skills to expert insight into the works on show. http://www.holburne.org/
The Museum of East Asian Art (12 Bennett St, BA1 2QJ)
This magnificent collection has to be among the most quirky, original and unsung attractions in Bath. Beautiful ceramics, jades and carvings from across the centuries feature, sourced from quite a wide geographical area. While some of the works on show will elicit admiration for their exquisite craftsmanship, others will move you in ways you perhaps didn’t expect. Gawp at lifelike creatures; enjoy the humour and humanity of ancient folk art; feel a shiver down your spine as you admire a carved wooden lady whose worn beauty is over two thousand years old. Simply magical! www.meaa.org.uk
Bath Contemporary Art Gallery (35 Gay Street BA1 2NT)
For lovers of modern art this collection of works is set in the sort of classically Georgian building Bath is famed for. However, that is where the safe, traditional façade ends, because this gallery specializes in works that demonstrate talent and originality in striking style. Paintings from a selection of leading contemporary talents are joined by sculpture, ceramics and prints, in addition to seasonal and special events. See https://www.bathcontemporary.com
Beaux Arts Bath (12-13 York Street BA1 1NG)
Among the many other art galleries in central Bath, this sister gallery of Beaux Arts in London is one of the best of the rest. On every visit you’ll find something fresh exhibited, with the venue championing contemporary talent and displaying an ever inspiring mix of paintings, sculpture and other media. http://www.bsartists.co.uk/
44AD Artspace (4 Abbey St, Bath BA1 1NN)
When it comes to vibrant, smaller galleries and art projects in Bath, this independent project is one of the most talked about in the city. Fuelled by passion and providing a platform of expression for new talent, the venue provides affordable studio space for 20 artists at any one time. Focussing on accessibility and public involvement, this is a great place to see Bath artists at work and meet them in the flesh. Read more here.