8 of the Best Art Galleries in London
Everyone has an opinion on the must-see galleries in London, but we’ve compiled a list that will satisfy your museum need, whatever your mood.
Vibrant and ever-changing, London is home to some of the world’s most eclectic art galleries.
As well as the famous venues housing some of the world’s most expensive painting, the capital is studded with contemporary spaces with displays of modern art, sculpture or photography.
Whatever your taste in art, there’s something to suit everyone from connoisseur to novice.
The Most Famous Art Galleries
What better way to experience the London art scene than with the largest collection of British art in the world? Located in Millbank, Westminster, the Tate Britain is cousin to the edgier Tate Modern. Housed in an impressive building in its own right, it contains both classic British art as well as contemporary pieces. The permanent art collection takes you on a journey through British art history from 1500 to the present day.
The gallery’s convenient location and traditional vibe make it a must-visit for those looking to enjoy a taste of British history. Entry is free to the public, and you can access special exhibitions with the purchase of a yearly membership. After you’ve had your fill of the rich art collection, enjoy refreshments at the café or pick up a souvenir at the gift shop.
Packed with the world’s finest European art, the National Gallery boasts a collection of over 2,300 paintings, with work spanning over 600 years of art history. The gallery is famed for its carefully curated collection of some of the most important pieces from world-renowned artists.
From Monet to da Vinci, Constable to Canaletto, the National Gallery is Britain’s primary celebration of the very finest art of our continent. Wall to wall, the gallery is full of pieces you’ll undoubtedly recognise as well as plenty of new discoveries to satisfy even the most discerning art critic.
While travelling around London, it’s likely you’ll see posters and billboards advertising the latest collection at the National Portrait Gallery. Filled with both historic paintings and contemporary photography, the latest exhibition is always worth seeing.
This gorgeous gallery is home, as you may have guessed, to some of the finest portraits in the world. At the time of its opening in 1856, it was the first of its kind in the world. The gallery also features a trendy rooftop restaurant from which you can enjoy stunning views of London’s skyline while enjoying delicious British food.
Contemporary Art Galleries and Unique Places in London
One of the trendiest galleries in East London, Whitechapel Gallery was the first to open of its kind, displaying temporary installations with a regular turnaround of exhibitions. Open to the public, this all-encompassing gallery features several different exhibitions every year; you’re bound to find something that interests you.
Only a stone’s throw from the station, the gallery is easily accessed via the District Line and is surrounded by plenty of other exciting things to do in the area, such as the Jack the Ripper tour of London, as well as traditional East End shops and bars.
The Old Police Station
The most immersive experience of any London art gallery, The Old Police Station is a self-proclaimed ‘DIY arts centre’. Perfect for families and friends, this New Cross-based establishment is an experience like no other. As the name tells you, this gallery is an ex-police station, and now boasts a varied mix of modern art instalments, as well as the amenities for visitors to make their own art.
The Crypt Gallery
This unconventional gallery is located in an atmospheric underworld beneath St Pancras Church. A celebration of the human spirit, of imagination and emotions, this utterly eclectic gallery boasts a carefully curated selection of contemporary art installations. The Crypt is a trendy venue that hosts book signings, photoshoots and corporate events.
Located in Euston, the Crypt Gallery is easily accessed by train, tube and bus; the perfect convenient destination for a spot of cultural immersion.
Art Galleries With Something for Everyone
Named after one of the most famous couples in British history, the Victoria & Albert museum is home to a vast collection of decorative art and eclectic objects. The dynamic collection includes every kind of art medium you can imagine.
Founded by Queen Victoria in 1899, the gallery is home to the world’s largest collection of post-classical sculpture, as well as a vast array of all kinds of artistic media: metalwork, photography, pottery, glasswork, tiles, textiles, furniture, prints, woodwork, jewellery, clothing and medieval artefacts.
With so much to see, you might want to dedicate a good few hours to this treasure trove of wonders.
Opened in 1985 by the designer Charles Saatchi, the Saatchi gallery cuts an impressive architectural figure on the outside; just wait until you get inside! Currently located in Chelsea, this is home to the some of the world’s finest contemporary art.