Abbot Hall

Abbot Hall, Kendal: Hours, Address, Abbot Hall Reviews: 4/5

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About
Abbot Hall Art Gallery is a Grade 1 listed building with a national reputation for showing contemporary and historical works with powerful changing exhibitions. Conveniently located in the town centre, Abbot Hall enjoys a pretty riverside setting. Just a stone’s throw from leafy Abbot Hall Park and Kendal Parish Church, it makes for an inspiring day out for all. On permanent display in the period Georgian rooms is a selection of works by Cumbrian born artist George Romney (1734-1802), one of the greatest of all eighteenth-century portrait painters. The centre piece is what many perceive to be his masterpiece, the beautiful The Gower Family: The Children of Granville, 2nd Earl Gower (1776-7). Also on show is The Great Picture which is an impressive triptych commissioned by Lady Anne Clifford (1590-1678) in 1646. It depicts the story of her life-long struggle for, and ultimately succession to, the family inheritance.
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1-2 hours
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4.0
162 reviews
Excellent
81
Very good
50
Average
21
Poor
7
Terrible
3

Charl
Goole, UK128 contributions
Very Nicely Displayed
Jan 2020 • Couples
We came here whilst on holiday and bought a combined ticket that allowed us to see the art gallery and the museum also on site. There was a wide range of art to be seen and we especially enjoyed looking at the work by George Romney and the Scottish colourists, and there was also work by Lucian Freud and Celia Paul. All of the pieces of art work have description placards and there are larger boards in each room to deliver general history of movements or specific artists.
We visited the gift shop which was full of books and postcard with some of the art work in the gallery on. The staff we very pleasant.
We then went to the cafe for a sandwich and a cup of tea, both of which were lovely. Lots of choice for food and different types of teas and coffees. The staff again were pleasant and friendly.
Finally we wondered around the museum and enjoyed looking over the exhibits and readying the information cards. There were several different rooms all packed with different things and each was interesting.
Overall, this place is certainly worth a visit and kept us entertained for over three hours.
Written January 27, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

gph32
1 contribution
An art gallery that endeavours to upset its visitors
Oct 2019
Before going to Abbot Hall to see the Turner-Ruskin exhibition, I checked the website and saw the bit about paying an extra 10% so they get extra funding.

I arrived, paid the extra and was only then told I couldn’t wear my streamlined backpack! Not a joke – they were deadly serious, and they check as you go round.

They say it’s to avoid damage to exhibits. Glassware or ceramics maybe, but framed drawings and painting on walls in spacious rooms with not many people in them? Large handbags and shoulder bags are allowed!

They have lockers but accept no liability for loss or damage to contents. So I kept carrying and putting down my backpack, which ruined my visit.

Before leaving I asked about making an official complaint, an email address I thought. Instead, a duty manager came to discuss my complaint in the most public space in the whole building. As the exchange became heated, and the manager was losing the argument, I was asked to leave, which I did.

On the day and later, they said the Tate Gallery has the same rule, but the Tate, and other galleries and museums, forewarn you on their website so you can decide whether to take a backpack in the first place, but Abbot Hall doesn’t do that!

A very senior person I know in the art world, with vast international experience of organising and overseeing art exhibitions from small to huge, commented: ‘It sounds like the way in which they encounter the visitor and handle complaints is very amateurish and bad.’ I have to agree.
Written November 25, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Dear Mr Hearne Thank you for your review, and your ongoing correspondence about your visit to Abbot Hall. I am sorry that you continue to feel so strongly about this issue, and that your visit to the gallery has caused you so much ill-feeling. We hope that every visitor enjoys looking around Abbot Hall, and I am sorry that this wasn’t the case for your visit. Unlike the Tate we don’t publish a set of ‘rules’ and try wherever possible to allow visitors to see the art on display at close quarters. We do ask that visitors carry rucksacks off their rucksacks. This is to prevent accidental damage, for example by swinging around and inadvertently making contact with a painting. We don't think that this is an onerous request, and I am sorry that you continue to feel so strongly about this issue. I appreciate that you have a different perspective of what happened, and feel frustrated about our approach to rucksacks in the gallery. We feel that asking visitors to take a rucksack off their shoulder is a reasonable request. Looking more broadly we have a duty to look after the artwork on display, as well as our staff, volunteers and visitors.
Written November 29, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Googly2010
Tonbridge, UK696 contributions
Excellent gallery with fascinating temporary exhibition
Sep 2019
Staying in Kendal, we were glad we visited this small but interesting gallery. We discovered George Romney, a brilliant portraitist and learned a lot about John Ruskin, who ended his life in the Lakes and who was obsessed with the works of Turner. The current exhibition contrasts the works of these two artists in a very revealing way. We were so impressed that we bought a framed print of one of Ruskin’s watercolours. We also enjoyed tea and cakes in the adjoining cafe. Highly recommended!!
Written September 6, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Thank you for visiting Abbot Hall, and for taking the time to write a review - its great to hear that you enjoyed your visit. Our Ruskin & Turner exhibition has been very popular; our busiest for several years. The exhibition runs until 5 October.
Written September 14, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Christine C
High Bentham, UK37 contributions
Turner & Ruskin
Sep 2019
Enjoyed the Turner & Ruskin exhibitions today. Small criticism the small paintings on wood blocks are much too low to see without kneelind down, and I would fear to get up again!
Written September 3, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Thanks for your thoughtful comments. Its good to hear that your enjoyed our Ruskin & Turner exhibition. The exhibition has been very well received by our visitors. I'll pass on your comments about the wooden blocks to our curating team.
Written September 5, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Jacko
9 contributions
A day out far away from the throngs
Aug 2019
Well, If I could, I would live at Abbot Hall. But, as this will never happen I visit as often as possible. Always a delight. Not every exhibit, of course. But that's my personal taste. Set in a beautiful part of Kendal. Good cafe,friendly staff. Excellent.
Written August 14, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Thanks for visiting Abbot Hall and for your kind comments. Do come and visit again soon.
Written September 5, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Sawyer
Hereford, UK23 contributions
Good gallery, threatened with unnecessary refurbishment in 2020; decent cafe.
Aug 2019
The gallery was bigger than I expected, with pictures by George Romney and associates, a giant triptych re. Lady Anne Clifford, then a temporary exhibition upstairs about Turner and Ruskin, which was excellent. Don't be put off by the simple appearance of the cafe; it is very good (the brochure says they are going to overhaul the whole gallery in 2020, which seems a shame as it is fine as it is.)
Written August 12, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Thank you for visiting Abbot Hall; its great to hear that you enjoyed the gallery and our curent Ruskin & Turner exhibition. Thank you also for your kind words about our Bakestone cafe. We're currently planning an extensive overhaul of Abbot Hall to start in 2020. Behind the scenes Abbot Hall does have a few issues that we're keen to address; most notably step-free access to all levels of the building. When we reopen we're confident that Kendal will have a top-quality facility with a new learning space, cafe and much improved galleries.
Written August 13, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

tedgatti F
Lytham St Anne's, UK1,104 contributions
Not to Be Missed!
Aug 2019
Have visited this museum and gallery many times but as the Turner/ Ruskin exhibition was on we really felt we must go again.

The staff are always so very kind and helpful and there is a great café serving both hot and cold food and drinks.

The exhibition was fantastic. a huge number of works of art to look at and a really great selection which showed both men's talent brilliantly.

If you haven't been yet, you really should go. This is a great exhibition but they always have something on worth a look.
Written August 11, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Thanks for your kind comments about our current Ruskin & Turner exhibition. This is one of the largest exhibitions that we've held for a while, and its been very well-received by our visitors. Thank you also for your feedback on our staff and cafe, which I'll share with the team.
Written August 13, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

JES1London
London186 contributions
Well worth a visit !
Aug 2019 • Solo
This is a beautiful set of well cared for buildings and it is worth a visit , either to view the current Turner Ruskin Exhibition or the Museum itself. The exhibition is very good but I did find it rather warm even on a cool day.
Therefore you need refreshments ! Excellent cafe - hot food , good rolls, cake , flapjack and drinks and a generous supply of tap water in a jug to cool you down!
There is parking and from there it is an easy walk up to the many shops. The museum shop has a great stock of essential souvenirs, things you simply can’t live without!
Written August 4, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Thank you for your review and for visiting Abbot Hall; it's good to hear that you enjoyed your visit. I'll pass your kind comments to our cafe and shop teams.
Written August 5, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Jazzzy-guy
lancashire216 contributions
Great regional gallery with often enticing visiting exhibitions
Jun 2019 • Couples
Great gallery that loses one star for offering no concessions to the over 65s! But on the other hand were very helpful when my wife needed the lift (we used the staff lift)
Written June 2, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Thank you for your review; I hope that you enjoyed your visit. As you can probably imagine we have lots of over-65 visitors. I'm afraid that we don't offer a concessionary rate, however we hope that at £7.50 our admission still represents good value for all our visitors.
Written June 3, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Coral P
Truro Cornwall20 contributions
A visit whilst in the area
May 2019 • Couples
An attraction of this gallery is that lockers are provided for bags and coats. The painting are well hung and there are some very interesting subjects. We were left to wander on our own, but there were very helpful guides to answer any questions. A good visit.
Written May 5, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Thank you for coming to visit Abbot Hall - we're delighted to hear that you enjoyed your visit.
Written May 7, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Abbot Hall

Abbot Hall is open:
  • Mon - Sat 10:30 AM - 4:00 PM


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