The Best Art Galleries in and Around London

The Best Art Galleries in and Around London

London is known for all kinds of things, and its art scene is no exception. The city is home to an impressive collection of art galleries, many of which rank among the top in the world. What this means for residents and tourists is that they’ve got some fabulous artwork to take in and explore.

If you’re new to the city, or you just want to discover more of what it offers, touring the art galleries is a wonderful way to get a taste of the history and creativity that London is known for. But where should you start? Here, we’ll take a look at some of the best art galleries in and around London, leaving you with just one question – which should you visit first?

The National Gallery is a great place to start this list of must-visit galleries in London. Not only is it a top option in the city, but it also has a reputation for being one of the most stunning collections of artwork in the entire world. The National Gallery was founded in 1824, and its contents range from the mid-13th century all the way up to 1900. There are more than 2,000 paintings housed in the gallery, including works from Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and Turner.

While you can stroll through the gallery at a leisurely pace, one of the best ways to experience it is with the official National Gallery highlights tour. This is perfect for first-time visitors who want to be sure they get the most out of their visit. Generally speaking, you’ll want to spend at least three hours making your way through the gallery.

Another tip for visitors is to check the events and exhibitions ahead of time to better plan your visit. Visit the National Gallery website to learn more.

Art enthusiasts in London are well aware of the Dulwich Picture Gallery, but tourists don’t always know it exists. This gallery features more than 600 paintings from Canaletto, Rembrandt, Gainsborough, and Rubens. While it’s not the biggest gallery in London, it packs a real punch where historical pieces are concerned.

What you may find shocking is just how old the gallery is, as it was founded back in 1692. It changed hands over the centuries, and it wasn’t always popular among visitors, but eventually, the works housed in the gallery gained the recognition they deserved.

Tate Modern

Chances are you’ve heard of Tate Modern if you have even a passing interest in art and art collections. This is London’s top art gallery where modern and contemporary art is concerned. All the pieces in the gallery are from 1900 and after and include some of the most influential pieces of the past century. The pieces are from all over the world, so visitors are in for a real treat.

Much of what’s on display can be described as “innovative” and features large-scale installations, paintings, and, of course, sculptures. There are even live performances that take place. The Tate Modern is free to visit, making it all the better.

Tate Britain

Next, we’ve got the Tate Britain, which also features free admission. This one showcases all things Britain, as it has been dedicated to British art for the past 500 years. For those who enjoy work from JMW Turner, Tate Britain houses the largest collection of Turner’s work. Highlights of the gallery include modern and contemporary British art, historic and early modern British art, and plenty more.

Just like many other galleries in London, it’s wise to book a ticket in advance to ensure you get entrance. Because the gallery is so popular, it can get pretty busy, especially during the peak tourism months.

Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum is a rather unique gallery, and that’s why it lands a spot on the must-visit list. It is home to ever-changing exhibits and shows that keep it fresh.

Within the gallery, there are 2.3 million objects that are permanently on display, including ceramics, paintings, architecture pieces, fashion, jewellery, textiles, and fashion. These pieces have been collected from around the world, so it’s not just about Britain’s history.

This is another free admission gallery where you can spend as little as a couple of hours exploring the exhibits or take your time and spend a full day. The Victoria and Albert Museum is also conveniently located in the “Museum Quarter”, making it easy to find.

Not only is the National Portrait Gallery a fabulous place to visit, but it also features free admission. You’ll need to book your free ticket in advance to ensure you gain entry, but be advised that some exhibits do charge a small fee.

What makes this a unique gallery is that it’s home to more than 220,000 portraits dating back to the 8th century and right up to the present day. If there’s a particular piece or photographer that you are interested in, be sure to look them up on the gallery’s website to see if their work is on display. Besides the regular collection of portrait prints, photographs, negatives, drawings, sculptures, and miniatures, there are often special exhibits on display.

While visiting the National Portrait Gallery, you can make a whole day of it and find plenty of other great activities in the area. Besides a wide array of restaurants and pubs, you can even check out one of the most popular casinos in London – the Hippodrome Casino.

London Has No Shortage of World-Class Art Galleries

One thing’s for sure, and that’s the fact that London has no shortage of world-class art galleries. This is just a small look at the best galleries in the city, as you could easily fill an entire holiday gallery-hopping and filling your schedule with art.

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