If you find yourself in the capital city of England, you might want to see all the famous attractions, like the Trafalgar Square, London Eye or the Buckingham Palace – but there is also the other side of London, also well-known but much less visited, like the hidden gardens, public speeches in parks, and – art galleries! You do not have to be a professional art critic to enjoy one of the best collections of both historic and contemporary paintings in the world, you just have to set foot in one of our Top London Galleries to Visit and you’ll certainly be left in awe. The England’s capital has a great number of galleries, from the well-known National Gallery to places like the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea, all of them capturing a certain theme or a period of history (or a mixture of everything) and being well-worth of a visit. Some of these paintings are priceless, being the works of famous painters who painted in the time when there was no photographing, and the skilled hand of a painter was something highly praised. Take a look at our Top London Galleries to Visit list and see why London is called the City of Art.
Saatchi Gallery, owned by the British businessman Charles Saatchi, was established in 1985 and it houses the works of the contemporary art, and it can be found in Chelsea. Here, the visitors can take a look at many works of young and international artists, their works being very rarely exhibited in the United Kingdom. Saatchi Gallery will, upon the retirement of its owner, be given to the public of Britain and be renamed as the Contemporary Art of London Museum.
Visit Address: King’s Road, SW3 4RY London
These galleries are focused on the contemporary art and can be found in the Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens. If a person goes to one of them, he can also easily visit the other one, as they are just a 5 minutes walk away of each other, connected by the bridge over the so-called Serpentine Lake. The older one of them, The Serpentine Gallery, was opened in 1970 and exhibits many works of contemporary artists while the other one – Sackler Gallery – was opened in 2013.
Visit Address: Kensington Gardens, W2 3XA London
The Hayward Gallery can be found at the Southbank Center and it was opened in 1968, and it has a unique architecture – it is said that the Londoners either hate or love this building! It has five gallery spaces, three of them being outdoors, intended for sculptures, and two of them being indoors. There are no permanent collections here – every year, visitors can take a look at three or four exhibitions of modern art. The gallery is a part of World Monuments Fund.
Visit Address: Belvedere Road, Southbank Center, SE1 8XX London
Somerset House is located east of the Waterloo Bridge was built in 1776. Within its walls, the visitors can see the well-known Old Masters collection (Old Masters are the European painters who lived and worked before 1800), as well as some of the most beautiful Post-impressionist paintings. In the Embankment Galleries, visitors can take a look the all sorts of exhibitions, some of them dedicated to design, some to fashion, and some to photography. There are also outdoor film showings in the summer.
Visit address: London, Strand, WC2R 1LA
This is one of the public art galleries, and it can be found on the Whitechapel High Street, in the Borough of Tower Hamlets. This gallery was founded in 1901 and was one of the first to be publicly funded. It played a very important role in the post-war British art, having important exhibitions like the Mark Rothko exhibition in 1961. Other showings would include Guernica by Picasso, shown in 1939, Pollock’s collection in 1958and the New Generation in 1964.
Visit Address: Whitechapel High Street 77-82, E1 7QX London
National Portrait Gallery can be found at St. Martin’s Place, close to the National Gallery, and it was opened 1856. It houses a great number of portraits depicting famous British people, and it is the first portrait gallery in the world. One of the most famous portraits here is the one of William Shakespeare, done by John Taylor in the 17th century. There are also caricatures, drawings, paintings, sculptures, and photographs, making this gallery one of the best in Top London Galleries to Visit.
Visit Address: St Martin’s Place, London, WC2H 0HE
Tate Britain was established in 1897 though it carries today’s name since 2000. It is located on Millbank and it is one of the Tate Galleries, the other ones being Tate Modern, Tate St Ives, and Tate Liverpool, and this one is oldest of them all. The main display shows the collection of British art, and it’s a permanent exhibition which is definitely worth taking a look at. Every first Friday of the month, there is a special exhibition for the younger audience.
Visit Address: Millbank, SW1P 4RG London
Barbican Center is not only worth visiting because of its art gallery – visitors can take a look at a library, contemporary and classical music concerts, theater performances, and film screenings. There is also a conservatory and three restaurants, and all this together makes the Barbican center one of the performing arts centers, the biggest one in Europe. The art gallery shows the big exhibitions by the best international painters, placing itself in out Top London Galleries to Visit pretty easily.
Visit Address: Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS
Tate Modern focuses on the modern art and it can be found at Bankside, London. It was established in 2000 and it is one of the Tate galleries. Visitors can see numerous works of art from the beginning of the last century to the contemporary times, distributed across seven floors. Tate Modern is definitely among the Top London Galleries, as it attracts almost five million visitors each year and it became to be known as one of the most famous galleries in England.
Visit Address: Bankside, London, SE1 9TG
Top Galleries in London can’t go without this one – The National Gallery was founded all the way back in 1824 and it preserves a huge collection of 2,300 works of art, some of them dating from the 13th century. The gallery attracts over 6 million visitors every year and it is one of the symbols of London. One of the most famous paintings here is the well-known Sunflowers, by Van Gogh, painted in 1888 and being on display entire year.
Visit Address: Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN London