The Wilson Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum

The Wilson
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The Wilson, Cheltenham’s newly extended Art Gallery & Museum reopened its doors to the public on 5 October 2013 with a new building housing expansive fine art and touring exhibition galleries for the first time.

Renewed gallery spaces allow visitors to explore highlights from the Museum’s collections - including a new gallery space dedicated to the internationally renowned Arts & Crafts collection, open archives showing tales of local heroes, including the great Edward Wilson (one of Scott's key men on his 1912 expedition to Antarctica) and temporary exhibition spaces filled with varied programming including fun shows for families.

Venue Type:

Museum, Gallery

Opening hours

The Wilson is open daily, 9.30am - 5.15pm.
We are closed on 25 & 26 December, 1 January and Easter Sunday.

Admission charges


The Arts and Crafts collection at Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum is a Designated Collection of national importance.

Cheltenham's Designated collection relates to the British Arts and Crafts Movement spanning the 1880s to about 1940. The Cotswolds were an important centre for one of Britain's most inspiring and influential art movements. The collection has a strong local base featuring furniture, silver, metalwork, plasterwork, leatherwork and embroideries by designers such as C.R. Ashbee and Ernest Gimson. Since the 1970s the collection has been developed to give a national overview with work by William Morris, C.F.A. Voysey, Baillie Scott, Eric Gill and many others. Visitors are captivated by the colourful designs and craft skills on show as well as the thought-provoking social message of the Movement with its emphasis on creative manual work.

Cheltenham's history is also well represented, and in addition there are paintings spanning four centuries, oriental collections of pottery and costume, and archaeological treasures from the neighbouring Cotswolds, as well as a programme of special exhibitions changing regularly throughout the year.

Collection details

World Cultures, Weapons and War, Social History, Science and Technology, Personalities, Natural Sciences, Music, Land Transport, Fine Art, Decorative and Applied Art, Costume and Textiles, Coins and Medals, Archives, Archaeology

Key artists and exhibits

  • Arts and Crafts Movement
  • 17th- and 19th-century Dutch and Belgian paintings
  • Designated Collection
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.

Fake: The Great Reveal

  • 17 June — 15 October 2017 *on now

Fake: The Great Reveal is a unique exhibition inspired by the Sky Arts TV programme, Fake! The Great Masterpiece Challenge presented by Giles Coren and art historian Rose Balston, opening this summer at The Wilson Art Gallery and Museum in Cheltenham. This exhibition will change the way that you look at art. What is a fake and how does the art world go about spotting them? How do authorities attempt to police a global art market worth over £56 billion a year?

In summer 2016, Sky Arts switched priceless masterpieces for specially made copies at art galleries and museums around the UK and challenged members of the public to see whether they could find the fakes among a group of original paintings. All seven of the paintings produced for the national competition will be on display in Cheltenham from 17 June – 15 October.

Visitors can see the ‘fake’ paintings and one original from the hit series brought together for the very first time. The fakes have been painted by leading copyists including John Myatt, the art forger behind what Scotland Yard called ‘the biggest art fraud of the 20th century’.


£5, includes entry to Queen Victoria in Paris


Queen Victoria in Paris

  • 17 June — 15 October 2017 *on now

Queen Victoria in Paris is organised by the Royal Collection Trust, displays the watercolours commissioned as souvenirs from Queen Victoria’s momentous state visit to Paris, in August 1855. Following years of antipathy between France and Britain, this visit was intended to cement the historic alliance between the two countries, developed through their fight against Russia in the Crimean War.

The watercolours that make up the exhibition were all presented to or commissioned by Queen Victoria as a souvenir of her visit. The works act as fascinating records of the opulent surroundings and the pomp and pageantry of Queen Victoria’s visit to Paris, and are representative of art and taste during her reign. Queen Victoria was a passionate collector of watercolours, compiling a sequence of ‘Souvenir Albums’ during her marriage to Albert, which recorded the journeys, events and visits the couple attended together. As well as displaying work by French artists, the collection also holds some drawings Queen Victoria herself made during the Paris tour.

Generously loaned by Her Majesty The Queen from the Royal Collection, this exhibition is the first time that many of these works have been on display, and introduce the remarkable work of little-known French artist to today’s audiences.


£5, includes entry to Fake: The Great Reveal


Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

At the Seaside

All children love a visit to the seaside, even if it's located inside a museum! This workshop looks back at seaside holidays in the past, through objects, paintings and photographs. There's an original Mr Punch puppet, and costume for looking at and trying on. Children have the chance to think about the similar ways in which they enjoy the seaside to children in the past, even if the costumes were different!

Evacuation Experience

A joint venture with the Gloucestershire-Warwickshire Railway, the Evacuation Experience sees children in 1940s costume travelling by steam train to the 'safety of the countryside.' At the station, they meet Aunty Doris who talks to them about the War, before being allocated jobs on the farm. Available on certain dates only.

Face to Face

An Art & Design workshop based on our wonderful collection of portraits.

How to obtain

Email or or telephone 01242 775702

Identity Parade

Every Wednesday 14.00-17.00, bring your mystery objects, from household items to paintings, to Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum and we'll try to help you find out more about them. If we can't help we're sure to know someone who can.

How to obtain

Drop in between 14.00-17.00, free of charge. Contact the gallery on or 01242 237431 for more details on Identity Parade.

Investigating Toys

Examples of toys from the past, present and other cultures that illustrate forces, movements, energy, sound, light and the use of materials.


  • Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum, Education and Outreach Service


  • Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum

Puppet Workshop

This workshop offers children the opportunity to investigate and enjoy the world-wide tradition of puppets. They can try out marionettes, shadow, rod and glove puppets, and can see Punch and Judy, a wartime Mickey Mouse made from blackout material as well as examples of the Arts & Crafts tradition with beautifully carved animals. The children then produce their own shadow puppet performance.

The Tudors

A workshop offering an opportunity to develop historical knowledge and understanding of everyday life in Tudor times. An exploration of objects in the galleries is complemented by hands-on experience of a range of original and replica artefacts and costume.

How to obtain

For details of costs and availability please email or telephone 01242 775702.

Victorian Life

This popular workshop can be tailored to focus on handling materials that illustrate rural and home life, childhood, education and costume, comparing Victorian life to the present day. This is a unique opportunity to handle original and replica objects and takes the learning experience beyond the glass cases of the museum.

How to obtain

Please e-mail for details of cost and availability.

The Wilson Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum
Clarence Street
GL50 3JT




01242 237431

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.