Rolling fields and stately homes meet urban street art and rising stars of music in the East Midlands. Recent investment has created new high-end arts venues, transforming the region into an exciting cultural gem.
Home to historic, picturesque cities like Nottingham and Leicester, the East Midlands hide a wealth of cultural activities and entrancing entertainment. In one short visit, you can tour cutting-edge art galleries, spend cosy evenings in independent cinemas, or discover the next big thing at an underground gig.
A centre of contemporary culture
Nottingham offers the perfect balance between high-end art galleries and rough 'n' ready street-art. The Nottingham Contemporary art gallery hosts exciting, unconventional exhibitions throughout the year. Next year's calendar starts in style with 'Monuments Should Not Be Trusted', which will bring together over 30 artists from the former republic of Yugoslavia, including Marina Abramović. Running from January to March 2016, the exhibition showcases work from the artists along with artefacts and multimedia clips from the mid-60s to mid-80s. The venue also hosts live jazz performances, craft fairs and lectures.
Comedy and German expressionism
Dave's Leicester Comedy Festival will take place from 3rd-21st February in 2016. Hailed as one of the best comedy festivals in the world by The Guardian, next year's edition will encompass more than 780 events across 60 venues. Don't miss the Pun Championships – last year's winner Leo Kearse was crowned courtesy of gems like "Marvin Gaye kept a sheep in my vineyard. He’d herd it through the grapevine."
Leicester is also famous for its fantastic German Expressionists collection, the largest in the UK. Housed at the New Walk Museum, many of the works were smuggled out of Nazi Germany in the 1930s. The collection includes pieces by Otto Dix, celebrated for his scathing portrayal of post-WW1 Germany.
Derby’s arts and film scene
The £10m QUAD arts centre contains a workshop for local artists, an art gallery and a cinema showing a balance of big-hitting blockbusters, cult classics and live theatre screenings. On a rainy day, it's the perfect place to settle in with some popcorn and get lost in another world. Alternatively, the Derby Museum & Gallery is home to the largest public collection of Joseph Wright paintings. It also hosts regular exhibitions, such as the current selection of 35 late-period Matisse works, ‘Drawing with Scissors’. You have until January 3 to see famous pieces such as the Blue Nudes and The Snail.
A grand old tour of the East Midlands
© David Muscroft / shutterstock.com
During the 17th and 18th centuries, young British aristocrats would go on a 'grand tour' of Europe's finest cultural treasures. This year, the East Midlands will conduct a mini revival of this tradition, with The Grand Tour of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire taking place from March to July 2016, showcasing the region's biggest treasures at venues such as Chatsworth and the Harley Gallery. Turner Prize-winning contemporary artists will present installations inspired by the Tour, with Fringe events such as art walks, lectures and theatrical performances completing the schedule.
Whatever may spark your interest in the East Midlands, our Radisson Blu Hotel East Midlands Airport makes a great base for exploring the region.