Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA

The best exhibitions in London | London On The Inside

Yes, it might be the ‘Grim North’ and not ranked among the likes of London, Paris, New York and Milan, but Northern style has had a major impact on the global fashion industry. Even today those graphic stripes of the Haçienda nightclub are being used in Off-White’s designs and Raf Simons put Peter Saville’s album imagery on the back of his parkas. So it only seems right that Somerset House are hosting a HUGE exhibition dedicated to Northern style.

North: Fashion Identity will feature contemporary photography, fashion collections, multimedia artworks, alongside social documentary film and photography. The show will look at how the realities of life in the north of England captured in the mid-20th century continue to influence new generations of photographers, artists and designers, and will include works from the likes of Alasdair McLellan, Jeremy Deller, Raf Simmons, Virgil Abloh, Paul Smith, Peter Saville, Stephen Jones, Gareth Pugh and Nick Knight.

Until Sun 04 Feb 2018


First Street, Manchester M15 4FN


HOME is basically a giant one-stop culture shop…it’s got two theatre spaces, five cinema screens, a gallery space AND a bookshop, plus a restaurant, cafe and bar. Whether you want to take in a bold new play or dance piece, watch a new release or cult classic, catch some contemporary art, or just grab a coffee, you can do it here.


17 Oak St, Manchester M4 5JD


The Manchester Craft and Design Centre is a studio space/gallery/cafe hybrid that sits on the site of the city’s old fish market. Designers actually work in the studio spaces, so you can have a little nosey as you wander round, and the centre also holds regular events and exhibitions. If you’re after a handmade gift, and can’t make anything yourself, this is the place to pick one up.


Market Buildings, Thomas Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester M4 1EU


The CFCCA is the best place to explore contemporary Chinese art in the whole country, so seize the chance and step on in. The exhibitions change regularly and they also run artist-in-residency programmes, so it’s a really dynamic gallery. Don’t leave without a spin round the gift shop, it’s got some great craft and jewellery pieces for sale.


59 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France

Smack bang in the middle of town, 59 Rivoli is a former artist’s squat turned studio space and free public gallery. The six-floor building is home to a mix of thirty permanent and resident artists, doing everything from dressmaking to mosaics to spray painting, and virtually every inch of the place is covered in paint, posters and graffiti, including the central staircase…the Louvre is it not. You get to see and talk to the artists as they work, and as the residents change every three to six months, there’s always something new to discover.


Grotto Hill, Margate CT9 2BU

Margate Shell Grotto-LOTI

If you’re looking for something weird and wonderful, head to the Shell Grotto. It’s exactly what it says on the tin…winding underground passageways and chambers covered in around 4.6 million shells. No one knows exactly how the grotto came to be there or what it was used for, but that’s all part of the fun isn’t it?


Rendezvous, Margate CT9 1HG


The town also happens to be home to the swishy Turner Contemporary; one of the best galleries in the country. Not only does it feature bloody good contemporary art, it also hosts major exhibitions on the guy it’s named after. You’d be a fool not to go and have a look. And make sure you take in the seafront view…you might get a little inspired after looking at the sea and sky that caught Turner’s eye.


7 Broad St, Margate CT9 1EW


Margate is all about the art – when you’ve got connections like JMW Turner and Tracey Emin that’s not surprising. There are plenty of places to take in works by up-and-coming local artists and the Pie Factory is a great example. No pastry-based snacks in sight though, unfortunately…


4/5 Pavilion Buildings, Brighton BN1 1EE


Just like the pier, the Royal Pavilion is another local icon that deserves your time. It’s got a banqueting room, it’s got chandeliers, and it’s got King George IVs state bed (complete with tipping mechanism…he was very, very overweight).

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