Special exhibitions

Each year we host major exhibitions at some of our most iconic buildings and outdoor spaces. Some celebrate the people who hold special connections to those places; some shed new light on their histories. Others explore different aspects of our collections, from paintings and sculpture to interior design and photography. Our Trust New Art exhibitions showcase contemporary artwork inspired by our places.

Here are some highlights of what’s on now and what's coming soon.

Opening this autumn

A black and white photograph of Lichfield and his assistants

Lichfield, Duffy and Donovan: Snapping the Sixties at Mottisfont, Hampshire 

Capturing the unique glamour and style of the Sixties, this exhibition showcases portraits by some of the decade’s more famous photographers. Featured subjects include models and musicians, film stars and politicians - but far more than just celebrity portraits, these are artistic and evocative photographs which helped define an era.

Beatrix Potter, Nature's Champions, Dunham Massey

Faces of Change: Nature's Champions at Upton House, Warwickshire 

From 21 September, get face to face with champions of the natural world in a new exhibition opening at Upton House in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery. From Sir David Attenborough and Linda McCartney to William Wordsworth and Octavia Hill, we will be celebrating those who have shaped the way we think about nature today.

Visitors looking at archive documents in an exhibition at Quarry Bank

A Healthy Profit at Quarry Bank, Cheshire 

In a new exhibition we explore the physical, mental and emotional toil of working in a mill. What did it feel like to lose a finger, to suffer from cotton lung or return to work days after giving birth? Discover the impact of mill work on the body, the treatments given to workers, and how this historical story is relevant to our health and wellbeing today.

Illustration from Welcome to Planet Zog

Flights of Fancy: The Wondrous World of Quentin Blake at Nyman's, West Sussex 

Leap into a fantasy world with a new exhibition of the work of legendary illustrator, Sir Quentin Blake. Kindly on loan from Sir Quentin’s archive, the exhibition features illustrations from his self-penned stories, including the joyful antics of ‘The Story of the Dancing Frog’ and voyages of imagination in ‘The Green Ship’.

Blue illustration of a hare created from linoprint

Winter Wildlife in Print at Beningbrough Hall, North Yorkshire 

After the leaves have fallen and the flowers have gone, wander the gardens of Beninbrough Hall to discover beautifully crafted installations by Yorkshire artist Gerard Hobson. Each artwork is inspired by real-life creatures that make Beningbrough their home.

Current exhibitions

5,000 ceramic rhino horns on display at Nunnington Hall, North Yorkshire

Change in Attitude at Nunnington Hall, North Yorkshire 

Artist Layla Khoo’s installation reflects the change in attitude to big game hunting. On display are 5,000 small porcelain rhino horns, each representing one of the remaining black rhinos left in the world. You can take one home as a souvenir, but the moral dilemma is that each one taken cannot be replaced and will leave fewer for others to experience.

An illustration by J.F Mullock depicting the attack on the Westgate Hotel by the Newport Chartists.

Riches and Rebellion: Tredegar House and the Newport Rebellion 

Our new exhibition at Tredegar House, marks 180 years since the Newport Rising, the deadliest rebellion of the Chartist movement. Riches and Rebellion explores the Morgan family’s role in the uprising, the surveillance of their tenants and Octavius Morgan’s passion for collection and curation.

A nautilus shell from The Rothschild Treasury, Waddesdon Manor, Bucks

A Rothschild Treasury at Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire 

See rare and precious European objects in this new permanent gallery at Waddesdon. Many are on display for the first time, and all have a profound significance to the Rothschild family and their activities as collectors.

Owl sculpture

Sculpture in the garden at Avebury Manor, Wiltshire 

Once again, the sculpture exhibition at Avebury Manor is adding an extra dimension to the garden. From 7 September until 13 October this outdoor art exhibition will inspire you, with the nooks and crannies of the garden revealing original works of art at every turn.

Detail of Ruth Moilliet's sculptures within The Courts Garden, Holt

Coexistence sculpture exhibition at the Courts Garden, Wiltshire 

Enjoy a striking collection of highly finished metal and glass sculptures by artist Ruth Moilliet, inspired by the plant kingdom and set amid the glorious autumn colours of the Courts Garden.

The Tiger Who Came to Tea exhibition banner

The Tiger Who Came To Tea at Bateman's, East Sussex 

Get up close to the beloved artwork from Judith Kerr’s much-loved children’s classic picture book, 'The Tiger Who Came To Tea'. This touring exhibition is currently showing at Bateman's until 3 November.

Sutton Hoo replica helmet

Sutton Hoo exhibition, Suffolk 

The redesigned Tranmer House and new High Hall exhibition space at Sutton Hoo will unveil dramatic new displays, showcasing finely-crafted replicas of glittering Anglo-Saxon treasures, to tell the story of a spectacular King’s ship burial. This site is one of the greatest archaeological discoveries. Sutton Hoo is waking up...

The Hall outside the Dining Room at Standen House, West Sussex

Morris & Co. Inspired by Nature exhibition at Standen House and Garden in West Sussex 

Original works by William Morris, the inspirational figure behind the Arts and Crafts movement, are on display in a new exhibition at Standen House and Garden. Inspired by Nature explores how Morris' designs were influenced by natural patterns and used in wallpaper, textiles and other items produced by his firm Morris & Co.

Vogue cover image from October 1950 by Anthony Denney

Anthony Denney at Rainham Hall in London 

Celebrating an icon of British 20th-century design and fashion photography, Rainham Hall launches its summer exhibition programme about the life and career of one of its 1960s inhabitants, Anthony Denney. One of Condé Nast’s chief photographers, Denney was featured in British Vogue magazine (where he was Decoration Editor for nearly 20 years), and House and Garden magazine. Rainham Hall and its garden are interpreted in Denney's original designs and decor with personal objects on display. Opened 29 June.

Historic image of Hughenden's secret Second World War mapmakers

Second World War story at Hughenden in Buckinghamshire 

Discover more about Hughenden's secret wartime past in the new permanent display supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. In ground floor rooms opened to the public for the first time, find out why this manor house was high on Hitler's target list.

One Lemon Quartered by Eliot Hodgkin 1972

Brought to Life: Eliot Hodgkin Rediscovered at Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire 

Brought to Life: Eliot Hodgkin Rediscovered is the first major exhibition of the artist’s work in nearly thirty years, and aims to return this remarkable British painter to the spotlight where he belongs.

Visitor looking into What is Home exhibition

What is Home at Croome in Worcester 

A new exhibition at Croome Court in Worcestershire, that once housed a school for boys, explores the question ‘what is home?’ through the voices of former pupils and children currently in care. Artist Kashif Nadim Chaudry’s installation is inspired by a period in Croome’s history from 1948–1978 and the pupils' real-life stories and personal objects.

Visitors explore HumanKind exhibition at National Trust Calke Abbey in Derbyshire

Humankind at Calke Abbey in Derbyshire 

This exciting exhibition sheds new light on the imposing Baroque Calke Abbey in Derbyshire and its ‘isolated’ family that was said to hide from the world. It explores the themes of loneliness and human kindness. Follow the lives of six Calke inhabitants over two centuries, through immersive audio-visual experiences, displays and outdoor installations.

Delicately drawn pencil head self portrait of a young D.G. Rossetti with chalk detail

Rossetti, pre the Pre-Raphaelites exhibition at Wightwick Manor in Wolverhampton 

His paintings of flame-haired women define the style that Rossetti is best known for. But this year at Wightwick Manor in the West Midlands, you'll discover the early work of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, before the advent of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

Tree of Life fashion exhibition at Killerton

The Tree of Life at Killerton in Devon 

This year's fashion exhibition at Killerton in Devon explores the human relationship with trees that's celebrated in textiles and fashion design through the uses of patterns, dyes and materials.

Peckover House, Lord Peckovers Library

Lord Peckover's Lost Library, Peckover House in Cambridgeshire 

Lord Alexander Peckover's valuable book collection was sold after his death in 1919. One hundred years later, Peckover House tells the story of Lord Peckover's 'Lost Library' and his wider collecting interests.

Churchill arriving in Geneva, 1946

A History of Winston Churchill in 50 Objects at Chartwell in Kent 

This new permanent exhibition at Chartwell focuses on the extraordinary life of Sir Winston Churchill, telling the stories of his many achievements and personal life. Get close to the fascinating collection of Churchill’s own possessions accumulated by him over the course of his lifetime; from personal mementos to gifts he received from friends, family and political contacts from around the world.

Chippendale green dressing table with open drawer

Chippendale Revealed: online exhibition 

On 5 June we launched ‘Chippendale Revealed’, an online exhibition which includes specially commissioned photography showing previously unseen aspects of Thomas Chippendale’s furniture at Nostell Priory and showcasing the expertise of the National Trust's Furniture Research & Cataloguing team.

Night and Sleep be Evelyn De morgan

William and Evelyn De Morgan at Wightwick Manor and Gardens in Wolverhampton 

In partnership with the De Morgan foundation, a new exhibition exploring the work of Evelyn and William De Morgan has opened at Wightwick Manor in Wolverhampton. Hosted in The Malthouse, a new purpose-built gallery space, the exhibition showcases some of Evelyn De Morgan's most iconic works including Night and Sleep, as well as a fantastic array of plates, vases and tile panels by William De Morgan.

Humphry Morice a painting by Pompeo Batoni

At Home with Art: Treasures from the Ford Collection at Basildon Park in Reading 

See nearly 70 objects from art historian Sir Brinsley Ford’s extraordinary collection, on loan from Augustine Ford. An avid collector from the age of eleven, Ford built on the art collection inherited from his father and grandfather. By the time of his death in 1999 he had amassed over 1500 works of art that included Old Master paintings, 20th-century British pictures, sculpture and decorative arts.

Visitor walking through 'The Golden Box'

Croome's collection returns with a twist, Croome in Derbyshire 

Historical objects from the 6th Earl of Coventry’s collection have returned to Croome. Very important pieces that have been absent for over 70 years - including Lord Coventry's exquisite Meissen, Worcester and Sèvres porcelain - are presented in unique ways. Two artists exhibit new installations, The Golden Box and Chair Play, celebrating Croome's collection treasures and furniture.

Coming up later in 2019

View of the Botallack mines

Contrasts of the Tin Coast at Gorthwedh, Cornwall 

Set within the Cornish Mining World Heritage site, the National Trust on the Tin Coast will be starting a new Arts Council England funded project called Gorthwedh: Contrasts of the Tin Coast. Gorthwedh means contrast in Cornish, and this project will reflect on the area’s industrial past, social change and its meaning to residents and visitors today.