There are a lot of art galleries in London. There are plenty of pop-up galleries which you will see in random places around the city, which can definitely catch your attention. Equally so, there are some art galleries that you just have to visit in London. Whether it is their engaging exhibitions or their beautiful permanent collections, these 5 art galleries should definitely be on your must-visit list.
1. Tate Modern and Tate Britain
They are two different galleries, but they are easy to keep track of simultaneously because their exhibitions are on the same website. So sharing one spot on the list is understandable.
The two definitely have very different collections though. Tate Modern is one of the favourite galleries of young people in London because it has more range and a lot more contemporary art. Tate Britain, on the other hand, has a very different setup and its permanent collection displays have a much different feel, a walk through time and the evolution of British art. Both galleries are well worth visiting though, so be sure to pay them a visit.
Most of the exhibitions are free to everyone. They also host amazing and various exhibitions, which will keep a diverse set of people and tastes happy. Tate Modern hosted exhibitions of Dorothea Tanning and Natalia Goncharova’s works, while Tate Britain hosted exhibitions Van Gogh and Britain and Frank Bowling.
Tate also offers a free Tate Collective membership card to anyone aged 16-25. This gives young people the opportunity to visit exhibitions for just £5 as well as get discounts at the gift shop and cafe.
2. National Portrait Gallery
This is one of the most popular art galleries in London. And that’s no surprise! It holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. One visit to this gallery won’t be enough. There are over 215 000 works, 150 000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.
3. Royal Academy Of Arts
Royal Academy of Arts, also known as RA was founded in 1768, which makes it the oldest fine arts institution in Britain. It is known around London for hosting some of the best exhibitions such as Félix Vallotton, Painter of Disquiet and the upcoming Picasso and Paper.
RA recently celebrated its 250th anniversary, which aside from being an impressive number (and a hard one to fully comprehend), has brought art lovers an expansion of the gallery. For anyone who appreciates art, this is exciting news. The RA is already one of the most appreciated galleries in London, but with even more free exhibitions, art debates and extra space for the RA School, it is becoming even more welcoming.
4. Saatchi Gallery
This is one of the contemporary art galleries in the city. It has 70,000 sq. ft of exhibition space, which means there is a lot of contemporary art being displayed. It’s located in Chelsea, which means that there are other art galleries and museums just a 20 minute walk away. So if you are travelling from further away, you could combine a visit to Saatchi Gallery with a visit to the V&A or the Natural History Museum, or a walk to Hyde Park.
Unlike most other art galleries, this one focuses on exhibiting works by young artists and international artists. This is an amazing opportunity to see something rarely exhibited in the UK. There are temporary exhibitions, educational programs, and events, which sparks interest in contemporary art. There is also a book shop, a restaurant, and a cafe. If you have some extra time, you could indulge in their afternoon tea, which is less than £25 per person.
5. Whitechapel Gallery
Some art galleries focus on the past, Whitechapel Gallery, however, has always focused on the future. It has premiered world-class artists from Pablo Picasso and Frida Kahlo to contemporaries such as Lucian Freud and Sophie Calle.
Whitechapel Gallery hosts a constant stream of great exhibitions, art courses, it has a great bookshop. There’s always a free exhibition happening, because it’s open all year round. It’s one of those places, where you will really feel connected to the art community. They partner with organisations promote networking opportunities and job opportunities for young people, who work in the arts.
It’s a great art gallery, which is well worth a visit.
What are your favourite art galleries in London? Share in the comments.
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Currently going into her final year of English and Creative Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London. Gery has been writing in a personal blog since 2014 and has been published in publications StudentVoices and FictionHub on Medium. She debuted her first play 'Liminality' at Edinburgh Festival Fringe and is already planning her next project.