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.

Current exhibitions

Artist Serena Korda installs her ceramic mushroom artwork

The Bell Tree: Serena Korda at Speke Hall, Liverpool 

Step into a magical environment this autumn. Deep in the heart of Speke's woodland is an ancient oak tree which has been transformed by award-winning artist Serena Korda into a sculptural sound installation with over 300 ceramic mushroom bells. Inspired by the folklore of the native bluebells that grow beneath its branches, The Bell Tree celebrates the dark side of the fairy kingdom.

Judith Kerr with 'Tiger Who Came to Tea' artwork

The Tiger Who Came To Tea exhibition at Acorn Bank  

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 of National Trust places is currently showing at Acorn Bank until 31 December 2018.

Powis Portraits

House of Portraits at Powis  

This exhibition at Powis Castle in Welshpool will give visitors the chance to see one of the Trust’s recently acquired treasures. A Jacobean miniature, painted by Isaac Oliver (1565-1617), depicting Edward Herbert, 1st Baron Herbert of Cherbury, a philosopher, diplomat, musician, poet and all-round celebrity of his day, posing as a romantic knight.

Virginia Woolf sits in her room at Monk's House

A Room of One's Own events 

See the lives of pioneering women brought to life through art, poetry, and film. We've asked female artists, writers and academics to tell the often untold stories of the women connected to five of our special places.

A pencil sketch depicting two lovers sitting on a bench under a tree

Beyond Ophelia at Wightwick Manor 

Although she was a professional member of the Pre-Raphaelites, Lizzie Siddal is largely remembered today as the model in Sir John Everett Millais' 'Ophelia' (Tate Britain), or as the wife and muse of Pre-Raphaelite artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti. This exhibition, only the second to be devoted exclusively to her artwork, reinstates Siddal as an important and influential artist and poet in her own right.

Mark Wallinger's The Writ in Water installation at Runnymede, Surrey

Writ in Water, Mark Wallinger in collaboration with Studio Octopi at Runnymede, Surrey 

Reflect and re-imagine at Runnymede through a new public artwork - Writ in Water. At a site where over 800 years ago the feudal barons forced King John to seal the Magna Carta, Turner Prize winning artist Mark Wallinger, in collaboration with architectural practice Studio Octopi, has created a tranquil space offering you the chance to consider the ongoing significance and influences of Magna Carta. Commissioned in association with Situations.

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.

A suffragette meeting from 1906

Votes for Women: A touring exhibition exploring the fight for female suffrage 

We’re partnering with the National Portrait Gallery on a touring exhibition of rarely seen paintings, drawings, photographs and archival documents, from surveillance photographs of militant suffragettes to portraits of the key players in the suffrage movement.

The Garden Room at Basildon Park

Reimagining of India at Basildon Park 

The Garden room at Basildon Park has been transformed into a temporary exhibition space to reflect Basildon Park's association with India. Local community input and Lady Iliffe's original intentions for the room combine to create an immersive space that reflects Indian culture, past and present.

Night and Sleep be Evelyn De morgan

William and Evelyn De Morgan at Wightwick Manor 

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 

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 

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 in 2019

Thelwell cartoon of a pony jump

Thelwell: ponies and places exhibition 

From 16 January-10 April, Mottisfont has a major exhibition displaying works from the private family archives of one of Britain’s most popular cartoonists, Norman Thelwell.

The Duet, Gabriel Metsu

Dutch masters unveiled at Petworth House 

See some of the finest 17th-century Dutch pictures from our collections on show together for the final stage of the Prized Possessions exhibition at Petworth House, West Sussex. This is the first major exhibition of the Trust’s paintings in 22 years.

Portraits for We are Bess hang with the historic portraits in the Long Gallery at Hardwick

We are Bess at Hardwick 

Hardwick's We are Bess exhibition retells the story of Bess's life through 16 modern photographic portraits, interspersed with original Bess portrait paintings and compares the challenges of women in the 16th century and today. Part of the Women and Power programme. Note: the exhibition has temporarily closed but re-opens in the new year.