Art Pass Unbooked

New Art Fund platform aims to connect tourists with nearby museums and galleries

Article: David Styles

The public can now find and buy tickets to hundreds of UK museums and galleries in one place following the launch of a new platform by Art Fund.

Art Pass Unbooked enables users to discover lesser-known regional cultural attractions and check ticketing availability to avoid queues, with 66 million museum and gallery visits expected to be made by Brits this summer.

The platform, which makes suggestions according to a user’s location, has been launched after research commissioned by Art Fund found that 65% of those planning a summer stroll around an exhibition would be headed to one of the nation’s ten biggest institutions.

To avoid a London-centric recovery – eight of the top ten UK arts venues are in the capital – and safeguard the 55% of cultural venues still concerned about their long-term survival, the charity wanted to deliver a tool capable of guiding visitors to one of more than 2,000 smaller sites throughout the British Isles.

“Our new research shows that many visitors expect to encounter crowds and queues. To open up the possibilities and support local museums and galleries across the UK, we have launched Art Pass Unbooked. This is a one stop shop for culture, allowing users to search among hundreds of museums and galleries, find availability, and book a spontaneous day out,” says Jenny Waldman, director of Art Fund.

“I would urge people not to forget about their local museums and galleries over the summer and to support them as they recover. Smaller, local museums offer an incredible array of collections, exhibitions and activities and staycations are the perfect opportunity to discover the UK’s amazing local museums.”

With 20% of those surveyed in Art Fund’s research saying they’ve tried to book tickets to a summer event or exhibition and found it to be sold out, twinned with the belief of 62% that higher demand and Covid safety measures will lead to long queues at larger venues, Art Fund Unbooked aims to ensure nobody is put off a trip to a cultural attraction.

Ticketing availability is highlighted for each venue and users can buy tickets directly through the platform to simplify the process, with free or discounted admission for those with a National Art Pass or Student Art Pass also flagged.