London is a great place for art with a thriving creative scene and some well-known and prestigious galleries dotted around the capital. I find it difficult to visit London and not visit a gallery because they are just so accessible and entertaining! Here are 5 of my favourite free art galleries in London.
1. The Tate Modern
Every year as an Art & Design student at school I’d attend a trip to London, and The Tate Modern was always first on the itinerary. Although some scoff at the modern art, The Tate Modern hosts a fantastic collection of permanent artworks that can be viewed for free. Plus ever-changing exhibitions and installations all fitting within the modern art category (some free, others paid).
It was here I became transfixed with the works of Giacometti and got to view some of my all-time favourites that have inspired my own work. Pieces from Picasso, Dali, and other greats are all housed under roof, making it the perfect trip for the contemporary and modern art lover.
2. The Victoria & Albert Museum
Also featuring in our school’s annual London art trip, The V&A offers a whole range of different art and artifacts from various sources across the world.
You’ll find decorative art from Europe, religious pieces from Islam and Hinduism, and a world-famous collection of fashion, among other things. My favourite area is the sculpture hall, a place where one can sit and sketch the human form to their heart’s content. With over four million pieces of Art the V&A is impossible to truly appreciate in one day so it’s worth visiting on several occasions.
3. The Tate Britain
The Tate Britain is another gallery that has made a huge impression on me. It was here that I first witnessed Turner’s paintings (of which the gallery has a large collection – the world’s largest, in fact).
It’s worth a visit just to experience how vast and absorbing they are. Hogarth, Constable, and Blake also feature here, as well as pieces by Barbara Hepworth and Henri Moore. Although I haven’t experienced it, there’s a boat that travels over the Thames between the Tate Britain and Tate Modern, meaning it’s easy to visit both on the same trip.
4. The Saatchi Gallery
Whilst Charles Saatchi may have been seen as quite unsavoury during his marriage to Nigella Lawson, his gallery in London is still worth a visit. It holds some unique and interesting pieces of work.
The Saatchi Gallery was what really got me into installations – in particular the ones that take up the entire room and engage the viewer in multiple ways. Featuring artists such as Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin, The Saatchi Gallery won’t always be to everyone’s liking. Yet its still one of the most visited museums of the capital and is guaranteed to feature the up-and-coming artists you’ll want on your radar.
5. The National Gallery
Lastly, The National Gallery in Trafalgar Square is another gallery you just can’t miss out on if you’re visiting London.
It’s likely that an artist you love has their work featured here. You’ll get to experience pieces from Van Gogh (my favourite artist), Jan van Eyck, Diego Veláquez, and more. If you’re looking for a gallery that showcases a broad history of art, then this is a destination you need to visit.
These are my top five galleries in London. However there are hundreds more to enjoy – too many to fit in one list! What’s your favourite London-based gallery that you’ve visited?
This is a guest post from Hannah of PagesPlacesandPlates.
Hannah is the blogger behind Pages, Places, & Plates, a blog dedicated to reading, eating, and travelling. Her passion is sharing her experiences with others and helping them to make the right decision for their next book, food, or travel venture. She lives in Essex, England, on the Sunshine Coast with her partner and her Giant African Millipede.
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