Art Galleries in London

For all art lovers, there are numerous art galleries in London with a simply stunning range of permanent and temporary exhibits. In many ways, visiting an art gallery is an absolute must when you’re here!

Here’s a list of the some of the best art galleries in London. Please note that most of the below all have regular collections that are free to visit, whilst special exhibitions and events may require paid tickets.

Courtauld Institute of Art
Somerset House, Strand, WC2
Underground: Temple
Contains a smaller collection than the National Gallery and, as such, draws smaller crowds – which is probably a positive! Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings from Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Cézanne and Turner, amongst others. As part of the University of London, you can study undergraduate and postgraduate courses here, and spring and summer intensive classes can also be taken. The Courtauld does not have free entrance – unless you go on Mondays before 2pm, when there is free admission.

National Gallery FREE
Trafalgar Square, WC2
Underground: Leicester Square or Charing Cross
Founded in 1824 with only 38 pictures, the Gallery has evolved to house a huge permanent collection of paintings from Western Europe from the time period 1250 to 1900. Amongst the best known paintings are Sunflowers by Van Gogh, The Water-Lily Pond by Monet and The Hay Wain by Constable. The Gallery also houses special and touring exhibitions, some of which have admission fees, so check the website to see what’s on and when.

National Portrait Gallery FREE
2 St Martin’s Place WC2
Underground: Leicester Square or Charing Cross
Website: As the name may indicate, contains portraits of British men and women that have been collected over the years – the Gallery itself was founded in 1856. The contemporary displays may be of interest, as well as the special exhibitions. The Gallery’s website provides visitors with the chance to search through the entire collection…pretty amazing stuff! Some say that some of the portraits are less interesting than noting which individuals have been deemed worthy of inclusion.

Royal Academy of Arts FREE
Burlington House, Piccadilly, W1
Undeground: Green Park or Piccadilly Circus
Located in fantastically grand building right in the heart of London, the historic Royal Academy is home to a variety of special exhibitions, talks, lectures and even classes and workshops, as well as its own collections. Check the website for events being held now.

Saatchi Gallery FREE
Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road, SW3 4SQ
Undeground: Sloane Square
Opened in late 2008, this 70,000 square foot gallery has a fantastic contemporary art collection. There is free entry to all parts of the gallery, including all temporary exhibitions. Situated in lovely surroundings just off King’s Road, be sure to also check out the gallery’s very lovely cafe, Gallery Mess Cafe/Bar, for some delicious afternoon tea.

Serpentine Gallery  FREE
Kensington Gardens, W2 3XA
Undeground: Lancaster Gate or South Kensington
In a beautiful setting right in Kensington Gardens – and next to the park’s Serpentine lake, of course – the Serpentine Gallery is one of London’s best galleries for modern and contemporary art. Special exhibitions appear throughout the year, and there are also regular talks and workshops.

Tate Britain  FREE
Millbank SW1
Underground: Pimlico
Houses a fantastic collection of British Art from 1500 to the present day. There are also special exhibitions taking place throughout the year, so it is advisable to check the website to see what’s on.

Tate Modern FREE
Bankside SE1
Underground: Southwark or Blackfriars
A huge gallery housing the largest collection of modern and cotemporary art in the world, all in a converted former power station – the building is worthy a visit in itself. As for the art work, it will probably take you a full day to get through the entire place!

Whitechapel Art Gallery  FREE
77-82 Whitechapel High Street, E1 7QX
Underground: Aldgate East
One of the trendiest galleries in London, a revamp in 2009 saw the gallery double in size following acquisition of a librbary space next door. Its eclectic exhibitions are definitely a draw, but it is its additional events – talks, courses and workshops, and the great Late Nights series – that add a little extra.