In a previous post we mentioned our Top 10 Free Things to do in London. In this, we briefly mentioned how we like to go to galleries in London because we are big lovers of art and so for us having galleries to visit FOR FREE is the cherry on top of a fun filled day!
The National Gallery
The National Gallery is an icon in itself. Located in Trafalgar Square many people look out towards the city right on the steps below it. Its one of our favourite galleries in London and it has some amazing art. If you’re in to modern art this isn’t the place for you, but if you just want to admire some masters and learn the history of art… BINGO! However, it does get very busy so be prepared for crouds and tours of school children. The National Gallery hold some amazing exhibitions too, so make sure to check whats on before you visit.
Cost: FREE entrance, optional donation.
Location: Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5DN
Nearest Tube: Charring Cross
The National Portrait Galley
The National Portrait Gallery is located just behind the National Gallery, however, it is the less visited of the two. As it’s name states it is a portrait gallery and includes images that range from ancient royal paintings to fashion photography. Recently they did an exhibition with Vogue magazine celebrating 100 years of the magazine. Alice’s favourite part of this gallery is the early Tudors room where you can see a sketch of the famous Henry VIII painting and one of Elizabeth I.
Location: National Portrait Gallery, St Martin’s Place, London, WC2H 0HE
Nearest Tubes: Charring Cross, Leicester Square
The Tate Modern
Tate Modern is one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary art in the world and houses the likes of Mark Rothko, Pablo Picasso, Salvadore Dali, Henri Mattise, David Hockney and many, MANY more! We could honestly spend all day exploring the halls of the Tate Modern and its position on the bank of the Thames, just along from Shakespeare’s Globe, makes it the perfect place to spend a couple of hours! At the moment they have exhibitions for the works of Georgia O’Keefe and Mona Hatoum which will be running throughout the Summer of 2016.
Cost: FREE!, optional donation.
Location: Bankside, London, SE1 9TG
Nearest Tubes: London Bridge, Southwark
The Tate Britain
Tate Britain is home to, as you guessed it, British art from 1500 to present day. Here they display everything from Pre-Raphaelite artists (which they currently have an exhibition on) to Tracey Emin’s bed. Our personal favourite is ‘Ophelia’ by John Everett Millais which is housed at the Tate Britain and is regularly on show.
Location: Millbank, London, SW1P 4RG
Nearest Tube: Pimlico
The Saatchi Gallery has influenced art in Britain since its opening in 1985. This gallery mainly showcases unknown artists, giving them a springboard into a career in art. It is a lively and extremely visual gallery that always has something new and inspiring going on! The latest exhibit from The Saatchi Gallery is The Rolling Stones Exhibition which combines over 500 Rolling Stones artefacts, giving an immersive look into the bands’ history. This exhibit is perfect for music lovers and Rolling Stone fans and runs until Sept 4th!
Cost: FREE! (exhibitions may differ)
Location: Duke Of York’s HQ, King’s Rd, London, SW3 4RY
Nearest Tube: Sloane Square
Just off to the side of Buckingham Palace this gallery holds exhibitions from the royal collection. When purchasing a ticket you are given a time to come in meaning that the gallery never gets too full (which is always a delight after some of the more popular galleries.) Usually they hold 1-2 exhibitions at a time which also visit some of the other royal palaces, so if you can’t make it down to London keep an eye out for one closer to you. On entrance you have the option to listen to a free audio guide, always go for the audio guide!! We are huge fans of an audio guide as you learn so much more. currently on at the Queen’s Gallery is an exhibition on Scottish Artists and Maria Merian’s Butterflies. Be sure to check out availability on the website here.
Cost: (Dependant on exhibition) £10
Location: Buckingham Palace, Birdcage Walk, SW1A 1AA
Nearest Tubes: Victoria, Green Park, Hyde Park Corner
Somerset house is not only a beautiful building but an amazing gallery. Here they hold a whole range of exhibitions including London fashion week out in the courtyard. Alice saw an wonderful exhibition on Tim Walker’s work, which you should all check out. Somerset house shows modern pieces and photography, but if your looking for something a little more classic then check out the Courtauld Gallery on the opposite side of the building. Alice will also be helping out with the Somerset House and Film 4 screen print exhibition in August, so come and say hi!
Cost: Dependant on exhibition
Location: Strand, London, WC2R 1LA
Nearest Tube: Embankment
The Whitechapel Gallery
Whitechapel Gallery, over the past 100 years, has premiered world-class artists from modern masters such as Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock and Frida Kahlo to contemporaries such as Sophie Calle, Sarah Lucas and Mark Wallinger. Although not as big as some of the other galleries mentioned here it is globally a leading contemporary art gallery; so if you like contemporary art and finding new artists this one is for you.
Location: 77-82 Whitechapel High St
Nearest Tube: Aldgate East
Royal Academy of Arts
The Royal Academy of Arts (also known as RA) gets no money from the state, meaning it is publicly funded from the exhibitions. The 2016 summer exhibition, which is a well known event in the London social calendar, runs until 21 August. It is also the home to some amazing pieces of art including Michelangelo’s Taddei Tondo which is the only work by Michelangelo in the UK. Neither of us have visited The RA but it is on our ‘must see’ list!
Cost: Dependent on the exhibit
Location: Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BD
Nearest Tube: Green Park, Piccadilly Circus
Which is your favourite gallery to visit in London?