The best art galleries in London

Calling all art lovers! 🎨

Craving a dose of artistic inspiration? Get up close and personal with Van Gogh’s Sunflowers or be dwarfed by a magnificent Turner seascape. We’re diving into the incredible world of London’s award-winning art galleries!

From world-famous and historic museums to up-and-coming creative spaces showcasing contemporary pieces, London has something to ignite every artistic spark. So, whether you’re an art connoisseur or a curious newbie, get ready to explore the best art galleries in London.

Tate Modern

Tate ModernNo art crawl across London is complete without a visit to Tate Modern. Housed in a former power station and transformed into a sleek art space, this iconic British gallery boasts panoramic views of the Thames and a permanent collection that’s free to explore.

Prepare to be dazzled by works from artistic titans like Picasso, Dalí, and Warhol. From thought-provoking paintings to extraordinary installations, Tate Modern offers a dynamic journey through 20th and 21st-century art. If you’re eager to explore London’s buzzing art culture further, Tate Modern hosts brilliant monthly events, ‘Tate Modern Lates’, that dive into artistic themes and genres with workshops, screenings and live music sets.

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The National Gallery

Interior of The National Gallery in LondonNext, we’re stepping off the bustling Trafalgar Square and into the National Gallery to discover this iconic art museum. Established in 1824, the National Gallery houses an awe-inspiring collection of over 2,300 paintings spanning centuries.

Art enthusiasts will swoon over iconic works by masters like da Vinci, Michelangelo, Van Gogh and Monet. Gaze upon the luminous ‘Sunflowers’, or ponder the enigmatic symbolism of Da Vinci’s ‘The Virgin of the Rocks’. The National Gallery offers free entry to its permanent collection, making it a budget-friendly must-visit!

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The Photographer’s Gallery

The Photographer's Gallery, LondonAttention photography enthusiasts! If you’re looking for a gallery dedicated solely to the art of photography, then The Photographers’ Gallery is your haven. Established in 1971, The Photographers’ Gallery is the first public gallery in the UK to champion this captivating medium.

Located a short walk from Oxford Circus station, The Photographers’ Gallery offers a dynamic program of exhibitions. Explore historical archives alongside works by emerging talents, giving you a well-rounded perspective on the power and evolution of photography. Whether you’re a seasoned photography buff or simply appreciate a satisfying shot, The Photographers’ Gallery promises a fascinating exploration into the world seen through a lens.

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Saatchi Gallery

Saatchi GalleryIf you’re looking for art that pushes boundaries and challenges perceptions, then the Saatchi Gallery is your next stop. This renowned gallery is fearless in championing the unconventional, showcasing works by emerging and international artists shaking things up in the contemporary art scene.

From bold colours and thought-provoking themes to innovative techniques – the Saatchi Gallery’s ever-changing lineup of temporary exhibitions keeps every visit fresh and exciting. One moment you might be surrounded by mesmerising video installations, and the next you could be face-to-face with a mind-bending sculpture.

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V&A Museum

V&A MuseumMoving away from the modern masterpieces, let’s head to the Victoria and Albert Museum, or V&A for short. This grand institution is the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design is a feast for the eyes! Wander through splendid halls filled with fashion icons like Alexander McQueen’s dresses, swoon over glittering jewellery fit for royalty and marvel at awe-inspiring sculptures and ceramics.

The V&A boasts over 2 million objects spanning 5,000 years of history, so there’s truly something for everyone. Whether you’re a fashion fanatic, a furniture aficionado or simply fascinated by everyday objects from across the globe, the V&A promises an unforgettable journey through the history of design.

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National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait GalleryIf you’re curious about the characters who shaped Britain’s rich history, then the National Portrait Gallery is the art gallery for you. This elegant London art gallery, located just a stone’s throw from Trafalgar Square, houses the world’s most extensive collection of portraits of iconic Britons. From impressive pieces of Queen Elizabeth I to cheeky self-portraits by William Hogarth, the National Portrait Gallery offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives and personalities of these historical figures.

Intrigued by the mystery surrounding William Shakespeare’s true likeness? The National Portrait Gallery’s famed Chandos portrait is a must-see, even if its true subject remains debated. This London art gallery also features plenty of portraits of contemporary figures shaping Britain today.

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Royal Academy of Arts

Royal Academy of Arts, LondonThe Royal Academy of Arts is a must-see on your London art itinerary. Established in 1768, this prestigious institution boasts a rich history and a collection that spans centuries. Immerse yourself in the evolution of British art, from the masterpieces of Gainsborough and Constable to contemporary works by leading British and international artists. While some exhibitions require a ticket, the RA also offers a healthy dose of free art exhibitions in London.

The real star of the show, however, is the RA’s legendary Summer Exhibition. Held annually since 1769, it’s the world’s oldest open submission exhibition, giving anyone – from art school graduates to established artists – the chance to have their work displayed.

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Tate Britain

Women looking at art inside Tate BritainAnd finally, on our list, we’re heading down to Tate Britain, housed in a majestic building with a surprising prison past. Boasting a treasure trove of British art, Tate Britain dives into centuries of artistic expression, from the meticulous portraits of the Tudor era to the bold strokes of modern masters like Francis Bacon.

Don’t miss the ever-popular Turner Prize exhibit showcasing the most cutting-edge and thought-provoking contemporary British art. With both permanent and temporary exhibitions, Tate Britain guarantees a fresh and exciting experience solidifying its place among the best art galleries in London.

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