York Art Gallery

York Art Gallery recently had a complete overhaul, which resulted in it being closed for a long time. When it reopened, it came with a price tag. A historically free museum, it now costs £7.50 to get in. There is a museums deal however, if you’re a regular visitor to this and other museums in York (half price for residents).

Multiple changes have been made to the building and there is now 60% more exhibition space. I was curious to see if it was worth the time and money so I went along with my mum on a recent flying visit for her birthday.

We ate lunch in the café, which was really nice (food provided by the excellent Café No.8). The shop had some nice postcards and books. On entering the gallery, it was obvious that it had improved since my days growing up in York. It was fresh and well-organised, with appropriate decor for the various rooms displaying differing art styles.

My favourite rooms included the Lumber Room; full of curios, taxidermy, Victorian scraps and even a vintage ice cream cart. I also liked the Anthony Shaw Collection (ceramics displayed in a domestic setting). The gardens at the back are now open to the public (part of Museum Gardens previously inaccessible) which will be lovely on a significantly less rainy day than the one we went on. You can check here to see what exhibitions are on at the moment.

The gallery is now lighter and more atmospheric than its previous incarnation. Definitely worth a visit if you find yourself in York for a day or two. It would be good to see them introduce a cheaper or free ticket for those on a low income however, to make sure no one is priced out of seeing beautiful art.

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