Top Must-See Art Galleries in Central London
London is a hotspot for culture, with hundreds of museums and art galleries. Art galleries explore the history of art and exhibit works of British and international artists. We’ve rounded up the 8 you simply cannot miss.
Unless stated otherwise, it’s free to visit the permanent galleries at these institutes while temporary exhibits carry a fee. When you are preparing to book a hotel in Central London, you should check the calendar in case you want to book tickets to a touring exhibition.
Housed in a former power station, Tate Modern sits on the bankside and is a national museum dedicated to modern and contemporary art. Permanent galleries showcase work from Dali, Picasso, Emin, Hirst, Gauguin, and more. Prepare to spend a few hours here, and don’t miss the cafe and gift shop.
Lodged inside the brutalist Southbank Centre next to the London Eye, the Hayward Gallery is one of the most easily accessible galleries from hotels in Central London. Committed to contemporary art, exhibitions push the boundaries by showcasing the most adventurous artists around the world.
The counterpart of the Tate Modern, Tate Britain is focused on older pieces, as far back as the Tudor period and the pre-Raphaelite movement. Emphasis is on British artists, with works from Turner, Moore, and Lowry.
With a spotlight on the journey of European art, the National Gallery contains works by da Vinci, Monet, and Canaletto. The grand building is centrally located in Trafalgar Square. As one of the city’s most popular art galleries, you should check out what’s on before you book a hotel in Central London.
Nestled away in Hyde Park, the Serpentine Gallery is a compact yet riveting exploration of international modern and contemporary art. You can always expect to find some big names hanging on the walls, including Andy Warhol and Chris Ofili. While staying at hotels in Central London, you can visit in conjunction with the park or neighbouring Kensington Palace.
Founded in 1901, this East London gallery champions contemporary art. Its exhibitions as well as its educational and event programmes have become hugely successful, exhibiting work by the likes of Frida Kahlo, Jackson Pollock, and Mark Rothko.
Royal Academy of Arts
In fact, the Royal Academy of Arts is one of the few galleries that charge admission. Founded in 1768 in a Palladian mansion off Piccadilly, it contains the only Michelangelo sculpture in the United Kingdom. Exhibitions are spearheaded by the annual summer show while special events occur throughout the year with immersive activities, live music, and food and drink. These are ideal if you are seeking date night activities during your stay at hotels in Central London.
National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery is home to an extensive collection of portraits of figures from British history and modern-day Britain. Established in 1856, it is considered the first national public gallery dedicated to portraits in the world. Note, this must-see art gallery is slated to re-open in 2023 after a major renovation.
Image: Flickr by: Neil Howard