Best Art Galleries in London, England


By Felicity Long

London, the cultural capital of England, is home to some of the world’s most prestigious art galleries. Whether you’re an art connoisseur or simply appreciate the beauty of visual arts, London offers a wide range of diverse and captivating galleries to explore. From renowned national museums to contemporary art spaces, the city has something to offer for everyone.

One of the must-visit art destinations in London is the Tate Modern. Located on the South Bank of the River Thames, this iconic gallery is known for its extensive collection of modern and contemporary art. With stunning panoramic views of the city and an ever-changing exhibition program, the Tate Modern attracts millions of visitors each year.

If you’re interested in classical art, the National Gallery is a must-see. Situated in Trafalgar Square, it houses an impressive collection of European paintings from the 13th to the 19th centuries. From Van Gogh’s Sunflowers to Da Vinci’s The Virgin of the Rocks, this gallery showcases some of the most celebrated masterpieces in the world.

For those seeking a more eclectic and contemporary experience, the Saatchi Gallery is a must-visit. Located in the trendy Chelsea neighborhood, this gallery focuses on showcasing emerging artists and cutting-edge contemporary art. From immersive installations to thought-provoking exhibitions, the Saatchi Gallery pushes the boundaries of traditional art and challenges visitors’ perceptions.

London’s art scene is constantly evolving, with new galleries and exhibitions opening up all the time. Whether you’re interested in traditional art or contemporary installations, London’s art galleries offer a rich and diverse cultural experience that should not be missed.

The National Gallery, located in Trafalgar Square, is one of the most famous art galleries in London. With over 2,300 paintings, it houses an extensive collection of European art from the 13th to the early 20th century.

Visitors to The National Gallery can explore masterpieces by renowned artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh, Rembrandt, and Claude Monet. The gallery’s collection includes iconic paintings like Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers,” Da Vinci’s “The Virgin of the Rocks,” and Monet’s “Water-Lilies.”

The gallery offers free admission to its permanent collection, allowing visitors to enjoy the world-class art without any cost. Additionally, the gallery hosts various temporary exhibitions throughout the year, featuring different themes and artists.

While exploring The National Gallery, visitors can also take advantage of guided tours, lectures, and workshops. These programs provide deeper insights into the collection and its historical significance. The gallery’s education center offers activities for children and families, making it a suitable destination for all age groups.

For those looking for a break, The National Gallery has a café and restaurant catering to both casual and fine dining experiences. The gift shop offers a wide range of art-related merchandise, from books and prints to unique gifts and souvenirs.

Whether you are an art enthusiast or simply appreciate beauty, The National Gallery is a must-visit destination in London. Its impressive collection and accessible location make it a cultural hub that showcases the rich history and diversity of European art.

Tate Modern

Tate Modern is one of London’s most iconic and popular art galleries. Located on the banks of the River Thames, it is housed in a former power station and is known for its impressive collection of contemporary and modern art. With its innovative and thought-provoking exhibits, Tate Modern attracts art enthusiasts from around the world.

The gallery showcases works by some of the most renowned artists of our time, including Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, and Andy Warhol. Visitors can explore a diverse range of artistic mediums, from painting and sculpture to photography and video installations. Tate Modern constantly refreshes its collection, ensuring that there is always something new and exciting to discover.

In addition to its permanent collection, Tate Modern hosts a variety of temporary exhibitions, showcasing both emerging and established artists. These exhibitions often explore social, political, and cultural themes, sparking important conversations and offering unique perspectives on contemporary society.

With its striking architecture and stunning views of the London skyline, Tate Modern provides a captivating experience for visitors. The gallery features spacious galleries, allowing the artwork to be showcased in an exceptional way. The Turbine Hall, a vast space at the heart of the building, is particularly impressive and often houses large-scale installations.

Address Bankside, London SE1 9TG, United Kingdom
Opening Hours Monday-Sunday: 10am-6pm
Admission Free, donations welcome

Visiting Tate Modern is a must for anyone with an interest in contemporary art. It offers a unique and immersive experience, where visitors can engage with art in all its forms. Whether you’re a seasoned art lover or a casual explorer, Tate Modern has something for everyone.

Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum, also known as the V&A, is the world’s largest museum of applied and decorative arts and design. Located in South Kensington, London, this iconic museum houses over 2.3 million objects that span over 5,000 years of human history.

The V&A was founded in 1852 and was named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Its mission is to promote the study and appreciation of art and design. The museum’s extensive collection includes sculptures, ceramics, furniture, fashion, textiles, photography, and much more.

One of the highlights of the V&A is its collection of Renaissance art, which includes masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Michelangelo. The museum is also renowned for its collection of Asian art, including ceramics, textiles, and decorative objects from China, Japan, and South Asia.

Visitors to the V&A can explore the many galleries and exhibitions, which showcase both permanent and temporary displays. The museum regularly hosts special exhibitions that focus on specific themes or artists, providing visitors with a unique and diverse cultural experience.

In addition to its stunning collection, the V&A also offers a range of educational programs and events for all ages. Visitors can participate in workshops, lectures, and guided tours to gain a deeper understanding of the art and design showcased at the museum.

With its rich history, diverse collection, and commitment to education, the Victoria and Albert Museum is a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts and history lovers alike.

Serpentine Galleries

The Serpentine Galleries are two contemporary art galleries located in the heart of London’s Kensington Gardens. The galleries are known for their innovative exhibitions and diverse range of artwork.

The first gallery, Serpentine Gallery, was opened in 1970 and is housed in a Grade II listed building originally designed as a tea pavilion. It showcases a wide variety of contemporary art, including painting, sculpture, photography, and installation art.

The second gallery, Serpentine Sackler Gallery, opened in 2013 and is located in the refurbished historic Magazine building. It provides a unique space for larger-scale exhibitions and installations.

The Serpentine Galleries are well-known for their annual Serpentine Pavilion, a temporary structure designed by internationally renowned architects. Each year, a different architect is chosen to create a unique pavilion that becomes a focal point of the summer season.

Both galleries also host a range of public programs, including talks, performances, and events, that aim to engage and educate visitors about contemporary art and culture.

Overall, the Serpentine Galleries offer a vibrant and dynamic space for contemporary art lovers to explore and interact with the latest trends and ideas in the art world.

The Saatchi Gallery, located in the heart of London, is a renowned contemporary art gallery that showcases the work of both established and emerging artists from around the world.

Founded in 1985 by Charles Saatchi, a prominent art collector and advertising executive, the gallery has become a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts. It is housed in a sleek, modern building that offers a unique backdrop for the diverse range of artworks on display.

One of the highlights of the Saatchi Gallery is its commitment to supporting young artists. The gallery frequently hosts exhibitions that give emerging talents a platform to showcase their work and gain recognition in the art world. This dedication to nurturing new talent has helped the gallery maintain its status as a leading venue for contemporary art.

The exhibitions at the Saatchi Gallery cover a wide range of artistic styles and mediums, including painting, sculpture, photography, and installation art. Visitors can expect to see a diverse range of works that challenge conventional notions of art and offer thought-provoking commentary on contemporary society.

Gallery Information
Address: Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road, London SW3 4RY
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday: 10am – 6pm
Admission: Free

Whether you’re an avid art enthusiast or simply curious about contemporary art, a visit to the Saatchi Gallery is sure to be an inspiring and thought-provoking experience. With its ever-changing exhibitions and commitment to supporting new talent, this gallery continues to be a vital hub for the art world.

Royal Academy of Arts

The Royal Academy of Arts is one of the most prestigious art institutions in London, England. Founded in 1768, it was the first institution in Britain dedicated solely to the promotion of the visual arts. Located in Burlington House, Piccadilly, the Royal Academy of Arts houses an impressive collection of art and holds numerous exhibitions throughout the year.

The Royal Academy of Arts is known for its world-class collection of paintings, sculptures, drawings, and prints. The permanent collection includes works by renowned artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, and J.M.W. Turner, among others. Visitors can also explore the impressive architecture of the building itself, which combines traditional and contemporary designs.

In addition to its permanent collection, the Royal Academy of Arts hosts a wide range of temporary exhibitions. These exhibitions feature works by both established and emerging artists, covering a diverse range of styles and mediums. The academy also organizes educational programs, lectures, and workshops for art enthusiasts of all ages.

Location Opening Hours Admission
Burlington House, Piccadilly, London Monday – Sunday: 10am – 6pm Adults: £18
Concessions: £16
Free for members and under 16s

Visiting the Royal Academy of Arts is a must for art enthusiasts visiting London. With its rich history, stunning collection, and diverse exhibitions, it offers a unique and memorable experience for visitors of all backgrounds.

White Cube

White Cube is one of the most well-known contemporary art galleries in London. It was established in 1993 by Jay Jopling and has since become a prominent destination for both established and emerging artists.

The gallery is known for its minimalist white walls and spacious exhibition spaces, which provide a blank canvas for artists to display their work. White Cube has played a significant role in the development of the Young British Artists (YBAs) movement, which includes artists such as Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin.

White Cube has two locations in London: one in the trendy neighborhood of Bermondsey and another in the historic district of Mason’s Yard. Both spaces showcase a diverse range of contemporary art across various mediums, including painting, sculpture, installation, and photography.

In addition to its exhibitions, White Cube also hosts a variety of events, such as artist talks, book launches, and performances. The gallery aims to engage with the public and provide a platform for critical dialogue about contemporary art.

Visiting White Cube is a must for art enthusiasts who are interested in exploring the cutting-edge of contemporary art in London. Whether you are a seasoned art collector or simply curious about the latest artistic trends, White Cube offers a unique and thought-provoking experience.

The British Museum

The British Museum is one of the most iconic cultural institutions in London, England. Founded in 1753, it is dedicated to human history, art, and culture. The museum houses a vast collection of over eight million objects from all continents, illustrating the story of human civilization from its very beginnings to the present day.

Visitors to the British Museum can explore a wide range of collections, including Egyptian, Greek, and Roman artifacts, as well as medieval and Renaissance art. One of the highlights of the museum is the Egyptian gallery, which showcases ancient Egyptian statues, jewelry, and mummies. Another must-see is the Rosetta Stone, a key artifact in deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs.

The museum also offers various temporary exhibitions that showcase different aspects of global culture and history. These exhibitions provide visitors with the opportunity to delve deeper into specific topics and explore lesser-known parts of the museum’s collection.

With its stunning architecture and extensive collection, the British Museum attracts millions of visitors from around the world each year. It offers a unique opportunity to explore the rich cultural heritage of humanity and gain a deeper understanding of our shared history.

  • Location: Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG
  • Opening hours: Daily, 10:00 am – 5:30 pm
  • Admission: Free (donations are encouraged)

Whether you are an art lover, a history enthusiast, or simply curious about the world, a visit to the British Museum is a must when in London. Prepare to be amazed by the incredible treasures on display and immerse yourself in the fascinating stories they tell.

Somerset House

Somerset House is a stunning neoclassical building located in the heart of London. It is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks and home to a vibrant arts and culture scene.

The art galleries at Somerset House showcase a diverse range of contemporary and historical works. The Courtauld Gallery, housed within Somerset House, is renowned for its collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masterpieces, including works by Monet, Van Gogh, and Cézanne.

In addition to the Courtauld Gallery, Somerset House is known for its year-round program of temporary exhibitions. From photography to fashion, the galleries at Somerset House offer visitors the chance to explore a wide variety of artistic disciplines.

Aside from the art galleries, Somerset House is also home to a number of other cultural institutions. The site boasts a concert hall, a cinema, and several cafes and restaurants, making it a hub for arts and entertainment.

Whether you’re an art enthusiast or simply looking to immerse yourself in London’s rich cultural scene, Somerset House is a must-visit destination. With its stunning architecture and diverse range of exhibitions, it offers a unique and unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages.

Photo credit: Anna & Michal via Flickr

Design Museum

The Design Museum in London is a world-renowned museum dedicated to contemporary design and architecture. It is located in the Kensington neighborhood and has become a must-visit destination for design enthusiasts.

The museum showcases a diverse collection of design objects, including furniture, fashion, graphics, and industrial design. Visitors can explore the history of design through a series of permanent and temporary exhibitions that highlight different aspects of the field.

One of the highlights of the Design Museum is its collection of iconic design pieces, such as the Juicy Salif citrus squeezer by Philippe Starck and the Mini Cooper car. These objects exemplify the innovative and groundbreaking nature of contemporary design.

In addition to its exhibitions, the Design Museum also offers a range of educational programs and events. These include workshops, lectures, and design-related activities for both children and adults. The museum aims to foster creativity and inspire the next generation of designers.

Visitors to the Design Museum can also enjoy its cafe and shop, which offer a curated selection of design objects, books, and souvenirs. The cafe provides a stylish and modern setting to relax and reflect on the museum’s exhibits.

Overall, the Design Museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in design and architecture. Its extensive collection, engaging exhibitions, and educational programs make it a valuable resource for both professionals and enthusiasts alike.

The Hayward Gallery is located on the South Bank of the River Thames in London. It is one of the most iconic contemporary art spaces in the city and is known for its unique architectural design.

The gallery was opened in 1968 and has since showcased a wide range of contemporary art exhibitions and installations. It has hosted exhibitions by some of the most renowned artists from around the world, including Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, and Tracey Emin.

The Hayward Gallery is a part of the Southbank Centre, which is a major cultural complex in London. It is situated within a larger complex that also includes the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, and the National Theatre.

One of the distinguishing features of the Hayward Gallery is its brutalist architecture. The building is made of concrete and has a distinctive pyramid-shaped roof. The large windows allow for natural light to flood into the gallery spaces, creating a unique viewing experience for visitors.

The gallery has a rotating program of exhibitions, with each one curated to explore different themes and artistic styles. It is known for its innovative and thought-provoking exhibitions, which often push the boundaries of contemporary art.

Visitors to the Hayward Gallery can expect to see a diverse range of art forms, including painting, sculpture, photography, and video installations. The gallery also hosts regular talks, workshops, and events to engage visitors and promote dialogue about contemporary art.

If you are a fan of contemporary art, the Hayward Gallery is a must-visit when in London. Its unique architecture, diverse exhibition program, and prime location make it a top destination for art enthusiasts from around the world.

Opening Hours Ticket Prices
Monday – Closed Adults – £10
Tuesday – Saturday: 11am – 7pm Concessions – £8
Sunday: 10am – 6pm Under 18s – Free


Which art galleries in London are considered the best?

Some of the best art galleries in London include Tate Modern, National Gallery, Saatchi Gallery, and Whitechapel Gallery.

What kind of art can I expect to see in these galleries?

These galleries showcase a wide range of art, ranging from traditional paintings and sculptures to contemporary installations and multimedia exhibitions.

Are these art galleries free to enter?

While some of these art galleries offer free admission, others may have entry fees for certain exhibitions or special events. It’s best to check their websites or inquire in advance.

Are there any hidden gem art galleries in London worth visiting?

Yes, there are several hidden gem art galleries in London that are worth a visit. Some of these include the Serpentine Galleries, Victoria Miro, and the White Cube. These galleries often feature cutting-edge contemporary art from both established and emerging artists.


Museums of London — Rick Steves’ Europe Travel Guide

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Felicity Long

Felicity Long, a seasoned travel journalist with 15+ years of experience, specializes in exploring Europe, family travel, and skiing, as evident in her book "Great Escapes: New England" (The Countryman Press). She edits the Europe eNewsletter and contributes significantly to TravelAsker's destinations sections. Felicity has received esteemed awards, including the Cacique and Yo Leonardo Awards, in recognition of her outstanding international travel writing accomplishments.

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