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.

Following the closure of our houses and buildings, all exhibitions were cancelled. While a handful of houses are now reopening, exhibitions and events are still cancelled until further notice (with the exception of one or two). Visits to all houses and gardens should be booked in advance. But you can still enjoy highlights from some of our major exhibitions online.

2020 exhibitions open after lockdown

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

Nick Knight: Roses from my Garden, Waddesdon Manor 

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. Opened 4 July - 1 November 2020.

Stuffed birds in a glass dome at Penrhyn Castle

What a World at Penrhyn, Gwynedd 

Take a look at our collection through the lens of colonialism in a brand-new experience of light, colour, images and sound. The exhibition has been produced in collaboration with local schoolchildren, historians Marian Gwyn and Dr Corrine Fowler and poets Martin Daws and Aneirin Karadog.

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

Skin Deep at Berrington Hall 

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.

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.

Exhibitions closed since lockdown

The Fury of Athamas sculpture by John Flaxman on display at Ickworth's new exhibition

A Home of Great Art at Ickworth, Suffolk 

This January, experience a theatrical transformation of Ickworth’s collection with a brand-new House exhibition created by design collective The Decorators, working with lighting designers Studio Dekka. Ickworth’s biggest ever roof conservation project to protect the grand Rotunda and all its treasures within has given us the opportunity to celebrate some of Ickworth’s finest collection items.

18th century dolls' house at Nostell

Miniature Worlds at Nostell, West Yorkshire 

This new permanent exhibition showcases Nostell’s rare 18th-century dolls' house, recently conserved and redisplayed. You’ll also see the dolls' house come to life through a digital photogrammetry and hear expert historians discuss the world of 18th century design, craftsmanship and social history that this miniature mansion opens up for us.

A lifesize mannequin wears Henry VIII clothes created from paper, wearing rich red and gold robes, a black hat with a feather in it

Fashioned from Paper at Knole, Kent 

This spring, the doors to Knole’s showrooms will open to a visual feast. Fashioned from Paper sees paper artist Denise Watson (aka Delicarta), taking inspiration from Knole’s many portraits and bringing characters to life from 600 years of history with her exquisitely detailed paper costumes.

Tennis clothing through the ages

Active Minds and Busy Bodies at Killerton, Devon 

The concept of a ‘healthy country life’ and a love of sport grew, in part, from the activities that people first enjoyed on county house estates. This exhibition explores how clothing from these pastimes changed over time, adapting as perceptions of appropriateness and modesty changed and practicality became increasingly important.

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

Friendship by Post at the Beatrix Potter Gallery, Cumbria 

Get up close to original illustrations from your favourite tales and rarely seen objects in a new exhibition that explores why correspondence was so important to Beatrix Potter. Discover some of the key relationships that influenced Beatrix’s view of the world and see her letters filled with charming sketches.

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.