Around 43 million visitors a year come to Yorkshire to see its cultural attractions – that’s more than four times the annual number of visitors to the Great Wall of China.
Within that, art galleries play a vital role in attracting visitors – and with places like Leeds Art Gallery and neighbouring Henry Moore Institute, it’s easy to see why.
The words ‘art gallery’ are no longer met with fear by the masses thanks to galleries like these throwing open their doors with a welcome to all.
Leeds Art Gallery is appropriately situated in the heart of Leeds on the Headrow, and offers a home to some of the most outstanding works of British art outside of London.
With a forever changing programme of exhibitions, collections and displays the gallery offers you the chance to see work from the best national and international artists.
Whether you have an expert eye or just simply like looking at nice things, it ticks the boxes. The building, decor and positioning of the works all make for an experience in itself.
Be sure to check out the autumn/winter collections which include new exhibitions like Drawing: Sculpture, which brings together a selection of artworks that explore the links between drawing and of sculpture.
And Dawn Chorus is a display which features new works acquired between 2011 and 2012 as part of the gallery’s partnership with Arts Council collection.
If it’s a family day out you are after, you are covered too.
This October half term the gallery is running free drop-in activities from 11am on October 20 where you can have a go at drawing under the helpful eye of an artist.
For tea and cake, the impressive Tiled Hall Café is well worth visiting and also offers a selection of the usual sandwiches, warm lunches and refreshments.
Once fuelled up, head across the walkway to the iconic Henry Moore Institute.
A globally-recognised centre for sculpture, the attraction is also free and presents a year round programme of exhibitions, conferences and lectures. The institute is part of the Henry Moore foundation which was founded in 1977 to encourage the appreciation of visual art.
Contemporary in style, leave your preconceptions at the door and just explore as you step through into the modern, shining black facia of the building.
The big draw at the moment is Sarah Lucas – Ordinary Things which runs until the October 21 in galleries 1, 2 and 3. The exhibition explores sculpture, with work ranging from 1993 to the present time – definitely more extraordinary than ordinary.
Keep an eye out for the upcoming 1913: The Shape of Art which runs from November 22 to February 17 and marks the centenary of an important year in European art and sculpture.
In a nutshell, both attractions offer an absorbing experience for art lovers and novices alike.
For more information and deals on great days out see: www.yorkshire.com
Price: Free admission to both
Opening Times: Galleries and exhibitions vary (see website for more)
Address: The Headrow, Leeds, West Yorkshire
Car Parking: Nearest is The Light and some on street parking
Attraction Website: www.leedsartgallery.co.uk and www.henry-moore.org/hmi
Telephone: Leeds Art Gallery 0113 247 8256, The Henry Moore Institute 0113 246 7467