London Art Galleries
Royal Academy of Arts
Walk through the gates off Piccadilly to the Annenberg Courtyard and into the Royal Academy of Arts. Founded in 1768, it's one of London's major art galleries and home to an ever-changing programme of exciting, blockbuster exhibitions. Highlights include Queen Victoria's paintbox and the only Michelangelo sculpture in the country.
Sitting grandly on the banks of the Thames is Tate Modern, Britain's national museum of modern and contemporary art. Its unique shape is due to its previously being a power station. Inside you'll find temporary exhibitions by top artists from Damien Hirst to Gauguin. The gallery's restaurants offer fabulous views across the city. Entry is free.
From romantic Pre-Raphaelite paintings to landscapes by Turner and Francis Bacon's distorted nudes, you'll find lots to look at in Tate Britain. The gallery is home of the largest collection of British art in the world. Make sure you eat at the gallery's restaurant and study the famous mural by Rex Whistler between mouthfuls! Entry is free.
The crowning glory of Trafalgar Square, London's National Gallery is a vast space, filled to the rafters with Western European paintings from the 13th to the 19th centuries. In this iconic art gallery you can find works by masters such as Van Gogh, da Vinci, Botticelli, Constable, Renoir, Titian and Stubbs. Entry is free.
National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery in Trafalgar Square is home to the world’s largest collection of faces and personalities, spanning from Tudor times to the present day. From Shakespeare to Kings and Queens, and icons of our time, it also has a photographic collection, and one of the best roof-top restaurants in London. Entry is free.
Somerset House is home to London's Courtauld and Embankment Galleries. In addition to a world-famous collection of Old Masters, Impressionist and Post-impressionist paintings in the Courtauld Gallery, The Embankment Galleries host a rotating programme of exhibitions dedicated to art, design, fashion and photography.
Part of the Southbank Centre, the Hayward Gallery is a striking concrete building that Londoners either love or hate. The Hayward hosts art exhibitions of international stature and specialises in the works of modern masters and exciting names in contemporary art. It's also responsible for exciting talks, special events and workshops.
The Whitechapel Gallery champions contemporary art. Founded in 1901 to bring art to the people of East London, it is now internationally acclaimed for its exhibitions, education and events programmes. In the past, the gallery has premiered artists such as Frida Kahlo, Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko.
Barbican Art Gallery
From acclaimed architects to Turner prize-winning artists, as well as design and photography, the Barbican Art Gallery presents major exhibitions by leading international figures. You should also check out the Barbican's Curve: home to an exciting series of new art commissions created for the space.
Small but perfectly formed, the Serpentine Gallery sits in a beautiful spot in the middle of Hyde Park. The gallery's free exhibitions showcase international modern and contemporary art by world famous artists such as Andy Warhol and Chris Ofili. In summer, don't miss the annual architectural pavilion commission.
The Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea is all about contemporary art. It's soon to be renamed the Museum of Contemporary Art, London after its collection was donated to the nation by owner Charles Saatchi. Inside, you'll see work by unseen young artists or international artists whose work is rarely exhibited in the UK. Entry is free.