London’s Major Galleries At A Glance

If there is one thing that London is not short of it’s galleries. It can be a tough decision deciding where you want to go and what you want to see, especially if you are limited for time. Whether you love the classic old masters or are more attracted to the world of contemporary art there is a gallery for just about every taste. To follow is a quick guide to all of the major galleries, most of which are free to enter, which will hopefully save you some time when it comes to planning your itinerary.

Photo by Mark Hillary
Photo by Mark Hillary

The Barbican

The Barbican is something of an artwork in itself, with its iconic architectural design. It houses work by artists that have won the acclaimed Turner Prize as well as many design exhibitions and work by many of the leading names in the art world. Take yourself into The Curve and enjoy one the unique specially commissioned pieces that were designed for that space.

The Hayward Gallery

This gallery is in a building that many argue you either love or you hate, but you can’t fail to notice. The Hayward Gallery houses many international exhibitions and places the work of the modern masters in a position of prominence. Aside from also being a showcase for contemporary art it also hosts a number of workshops and special events throughout the year.

The National Gallery

The National Gallery is located in Trafalgar Square and is simply immense. It houses thousands of paintings from all over Western Europe spanning the thirteenth through to the nineteenth centuries. Entry to the gallery is free and it is also one of the galleries where you can buy works of art if you have the finances.

The National Portrait Gallery

Like the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery is also situated in Trafalgar Square and is the home of images of the faces of the rich and famous, royalty and modern celebrity too. It’s not just all about paintings either as it also houses a large collection of photographic images. Entry to the gallery is free.

The Royal Academy of Arts

The Academy was founded in 1768 and is now one of the city’s major galleries. Located just off Piccadilly it contains the only sculpture by Michelangelo in the UK, it also has the paint box that was once used by Queen Victoria on display.

The Saatchi Gallery

Located in Chelsea the Saatchi Gallery is all about the contemporary, housing work my many young artists, as well as the work of international artists who are not regularly exhibited over here. Entry to the gallery is free.

The Serpentine Gallery

Located in the centre of beautiful Hyde Park the gallery offers many free exhibitions of national and international contemporary and modern art including work by the infamous Andy Warhol. Each summer work is specially commissioned for the pavilion.

Somerset House

Somerset House houses both the Embankment and Courtauld Galleries. Here in the Courtauld Gallery you will find many old masters as well as impressionist and of course post impressionist artists. The exhibitions at the Embankment change throughout the year and feature the world of art, design, photography and fashion.

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