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Whether you want to take a closer look at iconic fashion trends or contemporary art, there are incredible exhibitions taking place across the UK this year. These are just a selection of shows that could make the perfect day out. 

The Rules of Art?, The National Museum of Cardiff, Cardiff

Until 4 June 2023

What are the rules of art, and how have artists challenged them over the years? These are some of the questions this exhibition answers as it brings together 500 years of art in a variety of mediums, including photography, ceramics, and film. The show is designed to raise questions about social and political power. 

Making Mischief, Compton Verney Art Gallery, Warwickshire

11 February – 11 June 2023 

The UK has a rich history of folk customs. Making Mischief displays some costumes that play a pivotal role and showcases seasonal folk customs, including items that have never been exhibited before. While folk customs are often associated with nostalgia, the show challenges this and looks at how the traditions have evolved and are still practised today. 

Beyond The Little Black Dress, National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

1 July – 29 October 2023

This year, there are plenty of amazing exhibitions to attend for those that love fashion and the history behind it. The exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland will look at how the little black dress has been interpreted in often contradictory ways, from a sign of piety to rebellion. You’ll discover a century of fashion, including classic pieces from Dior and Yves Saint Laurent. 

Damien Hirst, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield

Until 2 September 2024 

This outdoor exhibition is perfect for combining a stroll with culture. At the country park, you can see four major sculptures by Damien Hirst – Charity, Myth, The Hat Makes the Man, and The Virgin Mother. The sculptures are positioned in well-known locations, so you can loop around the park and take them all in. 

Beyond the Streets, Saatchi Gallery, London

17 February – 9 May 2023

More than 100 artists will be featured in this exciting exhibition that brings together incredible graffiti and street art. It’s set to take over all three floors of the iconic Saatchi Gallery and will fully immerse you. The show will examine the need for public self-expression and key moments of this artistic movement, from the emergence of punk to its influence on films. 

Fantasy, British Library, London

27 October 2023 – 25 February 2024 

If you have a love for storytelling, the Fantasy exhibition at the British Library at the end of the year should be on your must-visit list. It’ll look at how readers have been enchanted by fairy tales for centuries, from the 14th century Sir Gawain and the Green Knight to Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman. It’s a great opportunity to revisit beloved stories and consider how they reflect the world we live in.  

Return of the Gods, World Museum, Liverpool

28 April 2023 – 25 February 2024

Step into a world filled with myth. In life and death, ancient Greeks and Romans sought the favour of the gods. This exhibition brings together a collection of sculptures and antiques that help you understand the stories surrounding the likes of Zeus, Athena, and Hades and why they were so important to everyday life. 

Crown to Couture, Kensington Palace, London

5 April – 29 October 2023

Crown to Couture is the largest exhibition ever staged at Kensington Palace and will boast more than 200 items. Learn how the royal Georgian court is inspiring iconic red carpet looks today. From gowns worn at the court of Charles II to Lady Gaga, you’ll learn how fashion in the 18th century has more in common with on-trend looks today than you might think. 

Grayson Perry, The Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh

22 July – 12 November 2023

Discover more about Turner Prize-winning artist Grayson Perry this summer. At the Scottish National Gallery, you can find the largest exhibition of his work, covering a 40-year career. As well as being known for his ceramic vases and tapestries, his art often addresses complex and controversial issues. 

The Rossettis, Tate Britain, London

6 April – 24 September 2023

This exhibition is perfect for art fans, and follows the romance and radicalism of the Rossetti generation through and beyond the pre-Raphaelite years. Dante Gabriel Rossetti was an English painter and poet who founded the pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848 and inspired the next generation of artists. The immersive show will be the largest exhibition of his pictures in two decades. 

Turn It Up: The Power of Music, Science and Industry Museum, Manchester

Until 21 May 2023

The Science and Industry Museum gives you a chance to get hands-on in a musical playground. This show focuses on how music can trigger emotions and memories, as well as how technology is pushing the limit of music – you can meet Haile, a musical robot that can play and improvise alongside human musicians and many other wonderful instruments that you might not have heard of. 

Labyrinth Knossos, Myth and Reality, The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

10 February – 30 July 2023

Legend has it that an elaborate labyrinth was built at Knossos on the island of Crete to hold the minotaur. While archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans didn’t find evidence of mythical creatures during his excavation in the early 20th century, he did uncover the centre of civilisation for the Bronze Age Minoans. Discover what the palace of Knossos would really have looked like in ancient times and see items that have never left Crete or Greece before.