Cultural tourism is big business across Europe and great art has a magnetic attraction for millions of international visitors each year.
Art and culture can make a dramatic improvement to customer experience — whether it’s with a brand or as part of a positive first impression of a new country.
And many passengers appreciate the art they encounter at every part of their journey — from departure lounge to final destination.
With that in mind, it’s worth taking a holistic look at customer experience for three UK departure trips to see iconic artworks — from the spectacular Meet and Greet services offered by Luton Airport to Edinburgh’s in-house gallery.
- Gatwick to Guggenheim
Gatwick has a decent record of interesting art installations over the past few years — from scale-models of Dubai’s iconic Burj Al Arab building to the huge portraits of the Queen commissioned to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee.
And the Gatwick Airport Community Trust donates much-needed funds to amateur drama, music and art projects across the local area.
The top pick for a cultural trip from this airport is an eight hour flight to New York City to sample the delights of the wonderful Guggenheim Museum.
With modern masterpieces from Gaugin, Bonnard and Malevich, you’re spoiled for choice.
But Manet’s Before the Mirror is the crème de la crème — his spontaneous brushstrokes make the intimate portrait of a self-admiring female bristle with life.
- Edinburgh to Reina Sofia
The smooth lines of Edinburgh Airport’s curved control tower might be the first thing that charms those with an eye for aesthetic design.
And the airport’s been a temporary home to some great artworks over the years — from huge dancing thistles to the mini Kelpie Maquettes.
There’s a small gallery that showcases the work of local artists and includes craftwork and prints as well as paintings.
A three-hour direct flight, Madrid is the best ticket for art lovers leaving from Scotland’s capital.
Once you arrive, head to the Reina Sofia Museum for a face-to-face-encounter with Picasso’s Guernica that will scramble your senses.
The world’s most famous anti-war painting was completed in 1937 and has lost none of its evocative power.
- Luton to the Louvre
Luton is one of London’s quieter airports and is only half an hour’s drive from central London — convenient if you want to drop off your car for the duration of your trip.
You’ll find work by local Bedfordshire artists in the Gateway Gallery and if you’re in the town itself, the Cultural Quarter is a hub for arts venues, restaurants and independent businesses.
But if you’re yearning for iconic art and Gallic flair, Paris and the Louvre are just over an hour’s flight away.
This museum’s a cultural treasure-trove — but the trophy piece is obviously Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.
The painting’s smaller than you might expect, so choose a quieter time if you want to get up close and personal with that enigmatic smile.
If you keep your eyes open, you might see surprisingly good art in the most unlikely places before you board a flight in Britain.
And community galleries can effectively promote the work of emerging artists — making it possible to purchase a piece from the next big talent before their price tags go through the roof.
These three UK departure trips to see iconic artworks prove there’s no need to go to the ends of the earth to satisfy your cultural cravings.
What’s your favourite painting from our three suggestions? Share your thoughts in the comments section.