ARt Galleries In Central 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’
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
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
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
For something else a little more mainstream try the Saatchi
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
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
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
Museum Street, which is a four-floor gallery in a 19th
century building that promotes watercolours and traditional
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