Explore the spectacular world of modern and contemporary art in the UK in London, Edinburgh and northern England. This tour also provides you with a once-in-a-decade opportunity: the coincidence of the UK’s three leading visual arts events: Frieze London, British Art Show and Liverpool Biennial. Visits to major art museums, leading commercial galleries and these great shows have been carefully curated by Gerald Deslandes, who has lived amongst and worked in the British art world for more than 20 years, with unique access to curators and artists.
Frieze London: one of the world’s most important art fairs, showcasing art from antiquity to the present
British Art Show and Liverpool Biennial: the most significant and future-defining exhibitions of contemporary art in the UK
The greats of British art, from Turner to Hepworth, Moore and beyond at major museums and sculpture parks in London, Edinburgh and Leeds
Edinburgh: Explore the art of Scotland and enjoy this cultural capital
Behind the scenes: talks with curators and artists and an insider’s guide to world-leading commercial galleries
Days 1–5: Arrive London, visit Frieze, enjoy expert guidance at Tate Britain and Tate Modern, explore contemporary architecture at Canary Wharf, visit leading commercial galleries.
Days 6–8: View Scottish art in Edinburgh, from the National Galleries to new art spaces, such as the new Jupiter Artland.
Days 9–14: Travel to Manchester via the Lake District; explore the British Art Show and new museums in Manchester. Visit Leeds and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, enjoy dinner at the Hepworth Whitfield Gallery. Experience the Liverpool Biennial and its public display of major works.
The tour begins at our hotel in London and ends in our hotel in Manchester. Emirates and Qatar fly into London and out of Manchester from most Australian cities.
Included meals are shown with the symbols B, L and D.
Tuesday 6 October: Arrival
The tour begins in the hotel in the early evening, when we meet for an aperitif and an introductory lecture by your tour leader, Gerald Deslandes, after which we enjoy dinner together. Overnight London (D)
Wednesday 7 October: Tate Britain
The amazing collections of London need little introduction. This morning we visit Tate Britain – the finest collection of British Art from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Our tour focuses on the emergence of a distinctively British style of art in this period. Much of this history is dominated by Turner, whose works took the European art world by storm, although he is but one of a host of artists who shaped what modern British art would become. In the afternoon, there is the option of visiting some of London’s other spectacular galleries. Overnight London (B)
Thursday 8 October: Tate Modern
Tate Modern made a splash when it first opened in a converted powerhouse – a trend that has been much emulated ever since. It continues to be one of the world’s leading modern and contemporary art galleries – not just for the quality of its collections and exhibitions but also for its continued trendsetting in curation and public engagement. This morning we have a guided tour of Tate Modern, followed by free time to explore the collections. In the afternoon, there is the option of visiting some of London’s leading commercial galleries with your tour leader, who has lived and worked in the British art world for more than 30 years. Evening at leisure. Overnight London (B)
Friday 9 October: Frieze London – Frieze Masters
Frieze is one of the largest and most significant art fairs in the world, showcasing the best of contemporary art alongside masterpieces from previous ages. Today we explore the art fair, beginning with Frieze Masters, in which 130 galleries present exceptional works from across time and place, from ancient Buddhas to Celtic sculptures, Renaissance paintings and modernist gems. In the afternoon, we visit Frieze, where we see contemporary artists from around the world and experimental artists represented by more than 30 young galleries. Evening at leisure. Overnight London (B)
Saturday 10 October: Contemporary London
London’s rejuvenation has been exceptional, and is part of the context for understanding recent developments in contemporary art, which is increasingly viewed as a practice that spans different types of knowledge. We begin the day with a visit to the Wellcome Collection, an innovative museum that explores the interaction of art and science in novel ways. In the afternoon, there is the option of taking an architectural walking tour of Canary Wharf, London’s new financial district, a project that commenced in the 1990s and which has transformed disused docklands on the Isle of Dogs into a symbol of a New England. Evening at leisure. Overnight London (B)
Sunday 11 October: To Edinburgh
This morning we fly from London to Edinburgh. In the afternoon, we visit Jupiter Artland, a sculpture park established by philanthropists Robert and Nicky Wilson. Works by Phyllida Barlow, Charles Jencks, Anish Kapoor, Cornelia Parker and Antony Gormley are set in 100 acres of meadow and woodland to be explored. In the evening we have a lecture, followed by dinner. Overnight Edinburgh (B, D)
Monday 12 October: Scottish Art
Scottish artists have taken different directions from their English counterparts, influenced by their divergent histories and cultures, and often taking inspiration from the majestic landscapes of Scotland. This morning we explore the development of a uniquely Scottish art at the Scottish National Gallery, which has works by Scottish masters such as Sir Henry Raeburn and Allan Ramsay, as well as an exceptional collection of European modern and Renaissance art. In the afternoon, there is the option of taking a historic walking tour of Edinburgh, or to simply relax. Overnight Edinburgh (B)
Tuesday 13 October: Scottish Modern
This morning we visit the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, continuing to explore the themes of Scottish art and how it has flourished in the 20th century. The impressive neoclassical building that houses the collection is surrounded by land art designed by Charles Jenks, which creates the setting for an impressive sculpture park with major works by Hepworth, Moore, Ian Hamilton Finlay and others. In the afternoon, you may wish to continue exploring the international modern collections of the museum, or to explore some of Edinburgh’s other rich cultural heritage. Overnight Edinburgh (B)
Wednesday 14 October: To Manchester, via the Lake District
Today we travel by private coach to Manchester, spending the middle of the day enjoying the sublime scenery of the Lake District, which has inspired generations of artists and poets. Our journey through the Lake District includes a visit to Blackwell Arts and Crafts House, designed in 1901 as a holiday home for Sir Edward and Lady Holt, followed by lunch by Lake Windermere. Arriving in Manchester in the late afternoon, the evening is at leisure. Overnight Manchester (B, L)
Thursday 15 October: British Art Show
Manchester’s revival as a world-class cultural centre has been key to the rejuvenation of northern England, the former industrial heartland of empire. It is also the main location of this year’s British Art Show, an event that takes place every five years and which is the UK’s most ambitious exhibition of contemporary British Art. Today we explore the show, taking in a wide selection of the art on display, with the expert guidance and curation of your tour leader. In the evening we enjoy dinner together, and will be joined by a curator or artist involved with the show. Overnight Manchester (B, D)
Friday 16 October: Leeds and Surrounds
Of all northern English cities, Leeds has the strongest artistic heritage, producing artists such as Hepworth and Moore, and has a long tradition of pursuing cutting edge ideas (including broad support for Fabianism, the Suffragettes and expressionism in the 1910s and 20s). Today we explore Leeds and surrounds, beginning with the Yorkshire Sculpture Park on the road to Leeds from Manchester, and then to The Henry Moore Institute, which was established by the artist in 1977 to foster the art of sculpture. After a break for lunch we visit Leeds Art Gallery, which has a fine collection including works by Hepworth, Moore, Rodin, and Gormley. In the late afternoon, we leave Leeds for the Hepworth Wakefield Gallery. The museum, designed by Chipperfield, houses an exceptional collection of Hepworth’s work. After our visit, we enjoy dinner in the museum’s excellent restaurant, before returning to Manchester. Overnight Manchester (B, D)
Saturday 17 October: Liverpool Biennial
The Liverpool Biennial is the UK’s major visual art festival – it differs from Frieze and British Art Show in that it is primarily focused on commissioning site-specific works of art from international contemporary artists and has built an excellent reputation for public engagement, and for the novelty in which it uses the city and its cultural spaces for the display of major artworks. Today we travel to Liverpool by private coach, and explore the Biennial, seeing unique works in some of Liverpool’s major galleries, including Tate Liverpool, and the novel display of art in the city itself. We also visit Tate Liverpool – the “Tate of the North” – which has been hosting major exhibitions of European modern art since 1988. Returning to Manchester in the late afternoon, the evening is at leisure. Overnight Manchester (B)
Sunday 18 October: Manchester
This morning we visit the Lowry, a beautifully designed arts complex on the waterfront which was formerly part of Manchester’s dockyards. Our visit includes an architectural walking tour of the new cultural precinct and a visit to the Lowry Gallery, which is devoted to the work of L. S Lowry, one of the premier painters of the English Industrial scenes and life. There is the option of staying on in the area to visit the Imperial War Museum North. In the afternoon we continue our exploration of the British Art Show. We gather in the evening to enjoy a farewell dinner together. Overnight Manchester. (B, D)
Monday 19 October: Departure
The tour ends after breakfast in the hotel. Please consult your individual travel documents for your ongoing journey. (B)
A former curator and cultural historian, he spent 20 years as the director of five contemporary art galleries in the UK.
His strong personal and professional interests in history, the visual arts, literature and music have led him to develop over 20 specialized tours related to each of these interests.
He holds a BA from Cambridge University and an MA from London University. He spent 20 years as the director and exhibitions director of five contemporary art galleries in the UK, during which time he organised early-career shows of work by artists such as Antony Gormley, Andy Goldsworthy, Cornelia Parker and Damien Hirst. He also exhibited work by artists from France, Germany, Latin America and the U.S.
In addition to his work as a curator, he has lectured at art colleges throughout the UK, and for Art Society groups in the UK, Australia and Spain. He is currently a tutor in the history of art and visual studies at the Open College of the Arts. Gerald speaks some French, Italian and Spanish.
We asked Gerald, what do you enjoy most about tour leading?
“I enjoy meeting people with an interest in the visual arts and introducing them to places that may be new to them. I like leading thematic tours that allow time for travellers to link what they see and experience to the history and culture of a location.”
“Most of all, I enjoy learning from clients, sharing their enthusiasm and adding some of my own.”
Unless otherwise stated in the itinerary, our tours include the following:
Any flights mentioned in the itinerary that take place during a tour
Land travel by private air-conditioned coach. Where appropriate, taxis or public transport are also used for short distance travel on some tours
All accommodation in hotels or apartments as stated in the itinerary
Breakfasts, lunches and dinners specifically stated as included in the itinerary
Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included
Background talks on tour, site notes and online resources
Services of tour leader throughout tour
All entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
Local guides at some sites
Tips for drivers, local guides and restaurants for included meals
Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required and when stated as included
Tours begin either at the arrival airport or the first hotel, depending on the itinerary. If you have booked your international flights with Academy Travel and arrive before the tour commences, we will provide airport to hotel transfers to the closest main city on your arrival, and to the closest airport at the end of the tour. These may be either individual or group transfers.
What is not included in the tour price?
Our tours do not include the following:
Return international/domestic air travel unless those flights take place during the tour
Special taxes and airport levies that can only be paid in cash at the destination. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart
Travel insurance. We require all participants to have comprehensive travel insurance. A typical policy for one of our tours will cost from $160 upwards, depending on your age, pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the overall length of your trip
Lunches and dinners not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary
Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity
You will be asked to sign an acknowledgement of these conditions when you book a place on a tour.
A deposit of $500 per person is required to confirm your booking on a tour. Final payment of the tour fee, insurance and any additional travel will be due 60 days before departure.
If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:
More than 60 days before departure: $500*
60-45 days before tour start: 25% of total amount due
44-15 days before tour start: 75% of total amount due
14 days or less before departure: 100% of total amount due
*This amount may be credited to another Academy Travel tour within 12 months of the original tour you booked.
Unused Portions of the tour
We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions of the tour, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.
Academy Travel requires all participants to obtain comprehensive travel insurance. We offer a comprehensive policy with a reputable insurer if required.
Passport and Visa
A valid passport is required for all international travel. If you do not hold an Australian passport you may require a re-entry permit. Some countries require a visa to be issued before you depart Australia. We will advise you of all passport and visa requirements, but it is your responsibility to ensure that you meet passport and visa requirements before you depart.
Will the tour price change?
If the number of participants in a tour is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates Academy Travel reserves the right to amend the advertised price. If this occurs you will be given the option of cancelling your booking and obtaining a full refund. If an Academy Travel tour is forced to cancel you will get a full refund of all monies paid.
Will the itinerary change?
Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of Academy Travel make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make slight amendments to daily itineraries. We will inform you of any changes as soon as they occur.
Full and final payment for the tour, airfare travel, insurance and any additional travel you book is due 60 days before departure. Payment may be made by bank deposit, cheque, cash or credit card. Please note there is a surcharge for payments made by credit card.
Academy Travel reserves the right to decline the booking or terminate the holiday of any traveller. We aim to be fair and reasonable in all our dealings with our clients. We aim to provide full and accurate information about our tours and promptly provide information of any changes or alterations that take place before departure.