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GO ARt Galleries In Central London

Art Galleries in Cental London Take an excursion around the art galleries of Central London and you’ll come across some old masters, young modernists, and some of the best photography in the world. But for those who like their art to be out of the ordinary, you won't be disappointed.

Your first port of call should be The National Gallery [map] , Trafalgar Square London. On the doorstep of one of London’s top tourist attractions The National Gallery is home to an astounding collection of paintings, sculpture and pottery. This is the definitive art museum and features a range of international artists, from Raphael to Albrecht Dürer, as well as an ever-changing programme of exhibitions.

Having undergone a major refurbishment The Barbican Centre Art Gallery [map] , Silk Street, is now an impressive space offering interesting exhibits from graphic design artists, and a range of talks and workshops.

For modern and contemporary art check out The Institute of Contemporary Arts [map] (ICA), based at Carlton House Terrace, The Mall. Here you’ll find a huge arts centre housing everything that’s good about art including media installations, modern exhibitions and a large educational programme. Film buffs will also find plenty to see and do here.

For still images one of Britain’s leading lights is in close proximity. A visit to The Photographers’ Gallery [map], Great Newport Street, is a must. This is one of the best centres for contemporary photography in the world and offers a range of free exhibitions. This is also the place to see the winner of The Citigroup Prize (the photographer’s equivalent of the Turner) and also has a great café to chill out in.

Alternatively, see what the amateurs and members of the public can produce at The Proud Galleries [map], Buckingham Street, The Strand, which also has some private collections from famous photographers.

The very stylish head to the Albermarle Gallery [map], Albemarle Street. With its fashionable minimal interior and an excellent reputation for introducing European and North American artists to the London scene, this is the place to see up-and-coming and established artists and also a great place to mingle.

Contemporary art and architecture have been comfortable bed-fellows for more than 30 years at the Serpentine Gallery [map], Kensington Gardens. Here you’ll find a range of internationally-acclaimed exhibitions from the likes of Cy Twombly – once a contender for Jackson Pollack’s crown – and Gabriel Orozco who the New York Times called: “the leading conceptual and installation artist of his generation”.

You never really know what you’re going to see at the Serpentine Gallery, and every visit is a new introduction into the world of contemporary and visual art.

For something decidedly wacky and an expedition that is sure to win favour with children, why not visit The British Cartoon Centre [map] (National Museum of Cartoon Art), at The Brunswick Centre, Bernard Street, WC1. See how the experts have brought cartooning from the days of Hogarth right up to modern Simpson’s-style animation. You can even try your hand at drawing your own caricatures, comic strips and animations. A great way to spend an afternoon with the whole family.

For something else a little more mainstream try the Saatchi Gallery [map]. Everybody has heard of Charles Saatchi and his often controversial art and advertising campaigns so why not have a look at some of his finest work up close.

Or see the world in large scale and vivid colour with a visit to the award-winning Imagination Gallery [map], Bloomsbury, the hottest place to see London’s best design and advertising campaigns in action. Communication is key and visitors can experience and interact with art first hand.

Somerset House [map] is also a place where you never quite know what you’ll see around the next corner. This beautiful house was built in 1547 by Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset, and has stood magnificently and imposingly on The Strand, since then. The exquisite grandeur of the house conceals a range of unusual exhibitions from Islamic art to Tudor and Stuart artifacts dug up from within Somerset House’s land.

Enjoy lunch al fresco in the Edwardian courtyard that has a distinctly Mediterranean feel to it, and soak up a generally laid back atmosphere.

If there’s a large group of you, why not take advantage of a guided tour, which allows you to see and hear the history of more than 500 years of Somerset House. There’s also an excellent education programme and activities for children during the spring, summer and winter holidays.

If you want to purchase art head to Bloomsbury. Perhaps more famous for its literary connections than its artistic abilities this district is home to a wealth of privately owned galleries displaying and selling affordable art. Try the October Gallery [map], Gloucester Street, which exhibits cutting edge art from Asia and Africa in particular, or Abbott and Holder [map], Museum Street, which is a four-floor gallery in a 19th century building that promotes watercolours and traditional oil paintings.

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