Any art lover’s trip to Manchester would not be complete without a morning or afternoon spent gazing at the walls (and wallpaper collections) of The Whitworth.
This elegant building on the edge of Whitworth Park is owned by the University of Manchester and contains works of international importance. Name-drop worthy artists in its extensive collection include Henry Moore, Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh, William Blake, Barbara Hepworth, MW Turner, and David Hockney. (You might not see them all on one visit – it’s a permanent collection but it’s not all on permanent display.)
It might sound like a step-down from a Van Gogh or Picasso but we nonetheless recommend you check out the wallpaper displayed here. The Whitworth is renowned for celebrating this under-appreciated art form, and their collection ranges from mass produced designs to ultra rare pieces.
Much of the space is given to regularly-changing exhibitions of contemporary art, including items from their own collection. There’s also a busy events programme centred around workshops, lectures, and family activities. Check their website to see what’s on.
The Whitworth underwent a huge renovation programme in 2013-2015, which doubled its gallery space and created a new tree-level cafe which juts out into Whitworth Park. To visit the gallery without visiting the glass-encased cafe would be a travesty so make sure you build it into your day.