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Whether you’re into traditional masterpieces, modern art, sculptures or photography, you’re sure to find a gallery you will love in London. England’s capital is home to a number of impressive collections from the world-famous, to the intimate art spaces that you might not have heard of before.
This city of creativity has plenty of art shows and events for you to experience and best of all, these don’t have to come with a huge price tag. Most gallery admissions are actually free, though many exhibitions do come at an additional cost. So if you’re planning a visit to London, here’s a quick guide to some of the city’s best galleries.
The Tate Modern
The Tate Modern attracts millions of visitors a year thanks to its beautiful collection of both modern and contemporary art. Home to Picasso’s Weeping Woman, Dali’s captivating Lobster Telephone and over 78,000 other exciting artworks, it’s easy to see why the Tate pulls in such a huge crowd. Plus you can also enjoy a number of exhibitions from some of the world’s greatest artists, both free and paid-for depending on your budget.
Location: Bankside, London, England
Website: The Tate Modern
The National Gallery
If you are a bit of a history buff or you like your art centuries old, the National Gallery is the place for you. The collections there range from 13th century pieces right through to the 1900s, covering everything from the early Renaissance to impressionism. There are more than 2,300 works to see, including Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. Again, it’s free to enter but you may have to pay for some of the exhibitions or events that take place there.
Location: Trafalgar Square, London, England
Website: The National Gallery
Barbican Art Gallery
The Barbican Gallery is one of two galleries that make up the Barbican Centre for Arts and Conferences. Offering something a little different to your usual gallery, it aims to push boundaries and celebrate all the major art forms. Here you can enjoy exhibits featuring everything from film and music, to visual arts, and even dance! There are several exhibitions held here each year as well, but be sure to check admission prices and book tickets online before your visit as the queue to the box office can get pretty long.
Location: Silk Street, London, England
Website: Barbican Art Gallery
If art and fashion pique your interest, the V&A Museum is a world leader in art and design. You can expect an eclectic range of artwork and artefacts including everything from Chinese ceramics to evening gowns from famous designers like Alexander McQueen. As you explore the galleries you’ll be taken on a journey through time, over 5,000 years of creativity to be exact. The museum also hosts plenty of exhibitions and immersive experiences throughout the year, so they’ll always be something exciting going on when you visit.
Location: Cromwell Road, South Kensington, London, England
Website: V&A Museum
Royal Academy of Arts
The Royal Academy is the oldest fine arts institution in Britain and aims to do so much more than simply display art, but also to promote the practice of creating beautiful pieces of work. The academy hosts exhibition all year round celebrating everything from ancient sculptures to modern classics, and even some newer artists you might not have heard of yet. It is an independent charity so donations are always welcome during your visit.
Location: Burlington House, London, England
Website: Royal Academy of Arts
Originally set up by Charles Saatchi to display his personal art collection, the Saatchi Gallery has moved from a small collection in a disused paint factory, to the current gallery at Duke of York’s HQ. With an incredible talent for spotting budding artists like Damien Hirst, Saatchi has always prioritised up and coming stars of the art world. That’s why this gallery is bursting with modern art and exhibitions.
Location: King’s Road, Chelsea, London, England
Website: Saatchi Gallery
This historic gallery is an important part of London’s arts and culture having displayed world-class art for over a century. In the gallery, you’ll find a beautiful array of contemporary artwork, but you can also enjoy new exhibitions, artist commissions, collection displays and you can even take art courses here if that’s something you’re interested in.
Location: Whitechapel High Street, Shadwell, London, England
Website: Whitechapel Gallery
There are actually two galleries to be found in the beautiful Kensington Gardens, both of which are pretty new compared to some other entrants on this list. The first gallery opened in 1970 and the Serpentine Sackler Gallery opened as recently as 2013. Home to a range of innovative contemporary works, the galleries pride themselves on being the perfect mix between emerging and established artists from across the globe. It’s free to enter, just be aware that heightened security measures mean you’re unable to take bags inside.
Location: Kensington Gardens London, England,
Website: Serpentine Galleries