Special exhibitions

Each year we host 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.

To ensure entry to our house exhibitions - and some gardens - you may need to book in advance. Please check the property webpage you wish to visit for details. Below, you can also enjoy highlights from some of our major online exhibitions.

Exhibitions currently open
Visitors admiring the Rembrandt self-portrait at Buckland Abbey, Devon

125 Treasures special displays 

With more than one million objects at over 200 historic places, the National Trust looks after one of the world’s most significant collections of heritage objects and fine art. Our book '125 Treasures from the Collections of the National Trust' brings together a selection of highlights. You'll be able to see some of these treasures in person when they go on public display at more than 50 places. From September 2021.

'Bridged' by Steve Messam These Passing Things at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal

These Passing Things: Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden 

Discover how contemporary art has transformed the ancient ruins and water gardens at this World Heritage Site in North Yorkshire. Get ready to be captivated by bold and colourful artworks, which are inspired by the landscape and its history. Until autumn 2021.

An oil painting depicting Petworth Park at dawn featuring a mottled green foreground, with a blue sky tinged with yellow strikes and a central focus of paint forming the sun

Lucy Marks, Dawn to Dusk: Petworth House, West Sussex 

Enjoy paintings inspired by the deer park at Petworth House. The paintings in oil and watercolour are the work of award-winning artist Lucy Marks, who spent six months painting countryside and parkland designed by landscape designer Capability Brown. Until 19 September 2021.

Beautifully engraved Skylark by artist Phoebe Connolly

Birds, Beasties and Bewick: Cherryburn, Northumberland  

Artist Phoebe Connolly's exhibition at Cherryburn features a series of 20 intricately engraved glass panels and an equally beautifully engraved greenhouse, capturing the plants and creatures that inhabit this beautiful place. Until 25 September 2021.

Gustave Moreau exhibition at Waddesdon, A Rothschild House and Gardens in Buckinghamshire

Gustave Moreau, The Fables: Waddesdon, Buckinghamshire 

An exhibition of rarely-seen watercolours by a great French artist, that illustrate the 17th-century Fables of Jean de la Fontaine. In the House at Waddesdon. Until 17 October 2021.

Nick Knight: Roses from my Garden exhibition at Waddesdon, A Rothschild House and Gardens in Buckinghamshire

Nick Knight, Roses from my Garden: Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire 

This exhibition of Nick Knight’s large-scale, painterly photographs displays the rose as an enduring symbol of beauty. In the Coach House Gallery at Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire. Until 31 October 2021.

Keith Brymer Jones

The Joy is in the Making: Standen House, Sussex 

Well-known makers demonstrate their craft in this exciting new exhibition featuring The Great Pottery Throw Down judge and ceramicist Keith Brymer Jones, embroidery artist Niamh Wimperis –who was recently seen on The Victorian House of Arts and Crafts –as well as internationally exhibited textile artist, Mr X Stitch. Until 31 October 2021.

Scottish painter Joan Eardley (1921-1963)

Joan Eardley display: Mottisfont, Hampshire 

Discover the work of Joan Eardley (1921-1963) in the Red Room at Mottisfont, Hampshire this summer. Three of Eardley's works in the Derek Hill collection are displayed together for the first time, as part of a nationwide celebration to mark her centenary. Eardley's acutely observed and expressive paintings of post-war Scotland stood at the vanguard of 20th-century British art. Until November 2021.

Mrs Tiggy-Winkle pictured in a Lakeland valley surrounded by other animals

Friendship by Post: Beatrix Potter Gallery, Cumbria 

Would you like to get to know the creator of Peter Rabbit and friends a little better? Visit this exhibition of Beatrix Potter’s original artwork and letters to learn more about her dearest friends, including Hardwicke Rawnsley, one of our founders. Until end 2021.

A lone figure silhouetted against a multi coloured skyscape

Astronomy Photographer of the Year: Lacock, Somerset 

Explore beyond your horizon with a new exhibition at the Fox Talbot Museum: 100 extraordinary images showcasing the very best in astrophotography. Galaxies, aurorae and skyscapes all feature in the Astronomy Photographer of the Year, an annual competition run by the Royal Observatory Greenwich. Until February 2022.

Pastel drawing by Oliver Jones of a woman wearing a gold leaf face mask

Skin Deep at Berrington Hall, Herefordshire 

In partnership with Meadow Arts, artist Oliver Jones investigates society's obsession with beauty and perfection in an impressive series of large-scale pastel drawings. The drawings touch on issues of self-obsession and self-esteem, illustrating a contemporary quest for beauty and perfection. Ongoing.

Visit Newton House, Dinefwr to see works by Hannah Walters, ceramic artist

Summer exhibitions: Dinefwr, Wales 

Dinefwr’s programme of exhibitions this summer take inspiration from Newton House and its collections as well as the wider Dinefwr Estate. They reveal and share many objects which have been tucked away in storage for over 30 years; displayed alongside brand new contemporary work from artists such as ceramicist Hannah Walters, in our new Y Cabinet series, and an exhibition by Llandeilo-based artist and weaver, Ainsley Hillard. Ongoing.

Visitors to Anthony Twentyman exhibition at Dudmaston Hall in Shropshire

Art meets nature: Dudmaston, Shropshire 

In partnership with Wolverhampton Art Gallery, the Art meets nature exhibition at Dudmaston Hall celebrates the work of local painter and sculptor, Anthony Twentyman. Ongoing.

Swim wear on display at Killerton

Active minds and busy bodies: Killerton, Devon 

Fashion has changed and adapted over time as the activities enjoyed on the country estate spread out into wider society. Take a look at Killerton's fashion exhibition that explores sportswear to swimwear. Ongoing.

Limelight at Lindisfarne Castle

Limelight: Lindisfarne Castle, Northumberland 

Limelight, by British art duo Heinrich & Palmer, takes an imaginative journey through the castle using a combination of lighting, video projection and sound. It’s been inspired by the island’s dramatic Northumberland Coast setting, with the sea and shifting light adding another dimension to the castle experience. Ongoing.

The Essex Tapestries Grayson Perry

Art and photography: Nunnington Hall, Yorkshire 

Enjoy a variety of high profile art and photography exhibitions throughout the year in our attic gallery and the hall itself, including work by Grayson Perry. Nunnington's exhibitions celebrate the best of our national works and local artists. Ongoing.

Bramble-like sculpture 'Lethality and Vulnerability' by artist Alice Channer on Orford Ness

Afterness: Orford Ness, Suffolk 

Orford Ness in Suffolk hosts Afterness this summer, a major new art exhibition presented by Artangel and featuring work by a collection of international artists. Works include contributions from poet Ilya Kaminsky, artists Alice Channer, Emma McNally and Tatiana Trouvé as well as an installation featuring sound recordings made on Orford Ness over many years by Iain Chambers and Chris Watson. Ongoing.

Stuffed birds in a glass dome at Penrhyn Castle

What a World! Penrhyn, Wales 

What do a glass dome full of stuffed birds, Chinese wallpaper, blackout poetry and an ancient sculpture of an Egyptian god have in common? Take a creative look at the collection and explore the culture of colonialism in this exhibition at Penrhyn. Ongoing.

A William Longmire watercolor at Townend

William Taylor Longmire: Townend, Cumbria 

Discover the life and work of William Taylor Longmire in Townend's first-ever exhibition. This self-taught farmer’s son tells an extraordinary story of Lakeland life, poverty and tourism at the end of the 19th century in his paintings. Townend itself is an atmospheric farmhouse full of quirky objects and fascinating stories in Windemere. Ongoing.

Online exhibitions
Images from 'A Portrait of the National Trust'

125 Portraits online exhibition 

Explore our online photography exhibition showcasing portraits from our new book 'A Portrait of the National Trust: 125 stories for 125 years’. It's part of our 125th anniversary celebrations. Come face to face with some of the extraordinary people who support our cause through the dramatic black and white portraits and discover the stories behind the images.

Detail of Saint Agatha by Carlo Dolci (1616 – 1687), oil on canvas, c. 1665-70 / Osterley NT 2900293

Treasures of Osterley: Rise of a Banking Family 

Explore the rise to fame and fortune of the Child family of Osterley Park and discover the works of art they collected from around the globe, featuring stunning new photography and in-depth information by our curatorial experts. The centrepiece of the exhibition is the recently acquired painting of Saint Agatha by the 17th-century Italian artist Carlo Dolci.

Chippendale green dressing table with open drawer

Chippendale Revealed 

Our first-ever online exhibition features specially commissioned photography showing previously unseen and unique aspects of Thomas Chippendale's furniture and showcasing the expertise of our Furniture Research & Cataloguing team.