Play Hard

The insider scoop on some of our favourite North East art galleries

As restrictions ease, get those creative juices flowing again by exploring the gorgeous galleries our region has to offer…

Written by Sophie Swift
Published 28.05.2021

The Bowes Museum

Founded by John and Josephine Bowes, the Museum opened in 1892, to inspire and enhance the lives of its visitors. Home to over 30,000 items, ranging from Older Master paintings to ceramics, silver and metals, furniture, fashion and textiles, temporary exhibitions, events and 20 acres of parkland to explore; including play areas, exciting trails, picnic areas and formal gardens- there’s something to excite everyone here. A trip to The Bowes Museum is like walking into a fairy tale, especially with the most beautiful formal gardens to get lost in – and a lovely tea shop too. You can spend all day here.

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Hancock Gallery

Home to an evolving programme of exhibitions and specialist collections, Hancock Gallery offers an extensive range of contemporary artwork for sale. With work from celebrated local and international artists, across a range of mediums from original oil paintings, collectable limited editions and sculptures. We had a fab experience when visiting here and would strongly recommend a quick chat with Chris, he knows his art and will really bring the pieces to life for all visitors.

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Gallagher & Turner

Gallagher & Turner is a contemporary art gallery that specialises in picture framing, based in Newcastle. Established in 1990 by Paul Gallagher and Clare Turner, the gallery was formerly based in the St. Thomas Street workshops. We especially love this place for some modern interior inspiration – you can pick up some great unique ceramics that will be a talking point when you have people over for dinner or BBQs.

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The Aviary Gallery

The Aviary is home to a wide selection of artists and photographers who all share a devotion for creating unique and individual bodies of work with a provocative and powerful narrative for today’s art buyers and collectors. They’ve also curated a collection of art to be enjoyed in your home forever, alongside one-off contemporary art prints online and in-store. The gallery on Brentwood Avenue is a great place to browse when in Jesmond, and a great place to pick up a unique gift – from art, books, prints and candles.

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Happy Planet Creative Arts CIC

Happy Planet is an award-winning social enterprise gift shop and gallery based in Whitley Bay, specialising in ethical gifts made by local artists and fair-trade artisans. Established in 2014 by local artist Gail Curry (read our interview on how losing her speech has been no barrier to her progress, here). Her felt animals are gorgeous and she can model on photos of pets too – our editor Laura had some Henry tree decorations made at Christmas which made special gifts. Gail also has lots of local memorabilia too – lovely to send to friends who might have moved out of the area.

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