An All-Encompassing Guide To Art Galleries In London | The Nudge

An All-Encompassing Guide To Art Galleries In London

Art Galleries In London

An All-Encompassing Guide To Art Galleries In London

Ever since cavemen graffitied their bedrooms, art has played a key role in our culture. But with so much of it about, it’s hard to know what to look for. One man’s trash is, literally, another’s Turner award-winning installation. Luckily, the capital curates some of the finest collections on earth, and with this comprehensive guide you’ll be surveying Cezannes and pointing out Picassos like a pro.

It’s time to brush up…

Last updated: 28th March 2019



Bastian Gallery

Freshly opened, Mayfair’s Bastian is the first international sibling to the renowned Berlin spot, which – in just over a decade of opening – has already seen works by Picasso and Anselm Kiefer hang on its walls. Its bright and airy London incarnation is set to play host to equally eminent artists from the 20th century, starting off with a bang.


Andy Warhol: Polaroid Pictures | Until 13th April

They’re not pulling any punches with their opening exhibition. Essentially a who’s who of ’70s and ’80s New York, this collection of 60 polaroids captures spontaneous and intimate portraits of iconic celebrities, by the most iconic artist of all.

Address: 8 Davies Street, W1K 3DW | Opening Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-6pm | Entry: Free

Hayward Gallery

Hayward Gallery - art galleries London

A Brutalist and, quite frankly, brutal concrete metropolis is home to the Hayward Gallery; an exhibition space designed to receive touring work and host major modern collections. Sat within the cultural playground that is the Southbank Centre, there’s a dazzling array of art on offer within its walls, and that of its neighbours. Its visual policy is painted with broad brush strokes, and previous exhibits have included everything from Van Gogh to Gormley – but recently it’s the recent which has taken centre stage.


Kader Attia: The Museum of Emotion | Until 6th May

Spanning the last two decades of the artist’s career, the Museum of Emotion is filled with repaired objects, sculptures, videos and photographs that are designed to create a ‘forum for emotional response’, critiquing Western systems of control and the legacy of colonialism in the West’s interactions with the rest of the world.

Diane Arbus: In The Beginning | Until 6th May

A striking collection of photos from the first seven years of Arbus’ work as a photographer, ranging from circus performers and eccentrics to candid shots of everyday pedestrians.

Address: Southbank Centre, 337-338 Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX | Opening Hours: Wed-Mon 11am-7pm, Thursdays until 9pm | Entry: Free / Exhibitions from £14.50


The errant, wayward child of the RA, the ICA was established as a space for artists and scientists to discuss ideas freely and without limitation. An avid promoter of the avant-garde, it’s been an epicentre of experimental work ever since. With galleries, a theatre, and two cinemas you’re bound to find something, in some medium, that suits your fancy. Even if it’s just the second Rochelle Canteen restaurant.


Morag Kiel: Moarg Kiel | Until 14th April

A souped-up collage of film, installation and paint, used to explore the ways we are manipulated by interactions with advertising and the digital world, with a pop at gender stereotyping along the way.

Check out screenings, talks and more HERE

Address: The Mall, St James’s, SW1Y 5AH | Opening Hours: Tue-Thurs 12pm-11pm, Fri-Sat 12pm-12am, Sun 12pm-11pm | Entry: £1

Mall Galleries

A little green house on Pall Mall goes for £100, and a big red hotel will set you back £1000. Unfortunately, the work on offer here will cost a little bit more. Home to the Federation of British Artists, this Regency-style gallery has art for browsing, and for buying, with a real variety gracing its walls.


Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours 207th Exhibition

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And judging by the previous 206 exhibitions, this year’s water colour gallery is set to be just as dazzling – plus there’s relatively affordable pieces on sale, if you’re in the market for some new wall art.

Address: The Mall, St. James’s, SW1Y 5AH | Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 10am-5pm (closes 1pm last day of exhibitions) | Entry: Free / Exhibitions £4/£6 with a catalogue

National Gallery

National Gallery - art galleries in London

Pride of place in London’s art scene, presiding over the four lions of Trafalgar Square, is the National Gallery. Amongst the most visited art museums in the world, the National Gallery has a premier league roll call of great works. Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, Turner’s The Fighting Temeraire and Da Vinci’s The Virgin of the Rocks all adorn its walls. Most major artists are represented in some way or another here, making it an absolute mecca for Art History bingo.


Boilly: Scenes of Parisian Life | Until 19th May

A display of 20 never-before-seen works from a private collection, this exhibition looks at the paintings of Boilly, who was active during the French Revolution and the ensuing rise and fall of Napoleon. Expect trompe l’oeils and intimate scenes which got him into trouble with the authorities. Free entry.

Sorolla: Spanish Master of Light | Until 7th July

Sorolla gets his first UK exhibition in over a century with this collection of colourful, light-dappled paintings depicting everyday Spanish life at the turn of the century.

Address: Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN | Opening Hours: Sat-Thurs 10am-6pm, Fri 10am-9pm | Entry: Free / Exhibitions from £10

National Portrait Gallery

A nosy, mouthy, (and eye-y) neighbour of the National Gallery, the NPG has been serving up strong face in every corner of its four storey building ever since 1896. It’s fairly commonplace to feel like you’re being watched with over 195,000 faces looking out from within frames or atop busts. The most celebrated visage is that of William Shakespeare, but the entire gallery is a veritable who’s who of history and makes the perfect spot to come face to face with England’s ancestors.


Elizabethan Treasures | Until 19th May

A collection of rare and prized portrait miniatures from the Michaelangelos of the micro-art world, Hilliard and Oliver.

Only Human: Martin Parr | Until 27th May

One of the UK’s best known photographers is honoured in this exhibition, showcasing his satirical, deadpan images of human beings – from Vivienne Westwood to the man on the street.

Address: St. Martin’s Place, WC2H 0HE | Opening Hours: Sat-Thur 10am-6pm, Fri 10am-9pm | Entry: Free / Exhibitions from £14

The Photographers Gallery

Photographers gallery - art galleries in London

After snapping up a Tea Bar in Covent Garden, founder and director Sue Davies quickly developed it into the UK’s first dedicated space for photography and photographers. It’s now moved into an old textiles factory but continues to act as a centre of excellence, and research, into the 20th century’s iconic medium.


Jessa Fairbrother: Constellations & Coordinates | Until 28th April

In her first major solo show, Jessa Fairbrother’s otherworldly self portraits are embellished with hand-stitching or pinpricked patterns in an attempt to map her own inner ’emotional topography’.

Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2019 | Until 2nd June

Four shortlisted artists display their wide-ranging works, touching on weighty issues from abortion to human rights.

Dave Heath: Dialogues with Solitude | Until 2nd June

See how the self-taught, but widely influential photographer captured the sense of isolation and listlessness in post-war America.

Address: 16-18 Ramillies Street, W1F 7LW | Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 10am-6pm | Entry: Free / Exhibitions £4

Proud Galleries

Pride comes before a fall but the photographs are firmly in place at this boutique gallery on the Strand. Popular culture in all its forms is celebrated here, so expect to rock and roll your way through a gallery of famous faces and legendary locations.


The Dior Collection | Until 7th April

A set of iconic prints showcasing the stunning designs of French couturier, Christian Dior, from glossy editorial photoshoots to candid snaps from behind the scenes.

Address: 32 John Adam Street, WC2N 6BP | Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 11am-6pm | Entry: Free

The Queen’s Gallery

Once upon a time an exclusively royal affair but these days awash with the unwashed, the Queen’s Gallery is the dictionary definition of a fine art gallery – “a place that houses work created primarily for aesthetic and intellectual purposes”. The collection is, unsurprisingly, fit for a king (or queen) and contains a revolving exhibit of works owned by the royals to ensure their protection for, and presumably from, the Great British public.


Russia | Until 28th April

A survey of the entwined histories of the British and former Russian royal families over the past 400 years, through Fabergé eggs, diplomatic gifts and contracts – alongside Roger Fenton’s stirring photographs of the Crimean War.

Address: Buckingham Palace, Buckingham Palace Road, SW1A 1AA | Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 9:30am-5:30pm | Entry: £12

Royal Academy

Royal Academy - art galleries in London

Perhaps in a moment of his famed “madness”, King George III dipped into his own pocket to establish the RA in order to raise the professional status of artists and foster a national school of art. Off his rocker or not, it proved a big success and lives on to this day as a privately funded institution training, and promoting, artists and art appreciation. The RA has moved with the ebbs and flows of artistic taste, and its annual summer exhibition showcases the best new art on the scene. Its exhibitions have ranged from Hogarth to Hockney, whilst its permanent collection samples something from throughout Art History.


Bill Viola / Michelangelo | Until 31st March

Despite the small point of one having passed away 450 years ago, these two artists have a surprising amount in common – as you’ll see in this dramatic exhibition exploring physical limits and moments of transcendence.

The Renaissance Nude | Until 2nd June

See how naked people looked in the 15th and 16th centuries, through the eyes of old masters including Raphael, Titian and Michelangelo.

Phyllida Barlow RA: cul de sac | Until 23rd June

A huge collection of immersive sculptures using industrial materials, inspired by the architecture of the Royal Academy itself.

Address: Burlington House, Piccadilly, Mayfair, W1J 0BD | Opening Hours: Sat-Thurs 10am-6pm, Sun 10am-10pm | Entry: Free / Exhibitions from £14

Somerset House

Originally the tudor crib to end all cribs, this imposing residence on the river Thames became a Stuart royal palace, a brief home of the Royal Academy, and now holds the offices of over a hundred creative organisations and artists, alongside numerous exhibition spaces for a range of different media. The Duke of Somerset, despite being executed before it was completed, would no doubt lose his head over how brilliant it’s become.

NOTE: The Courtauld Gallery is currently closed for major renovation works until at least 2020. Watch this space.


Hanna Moon & Joyce Ng: English As A Second Language | Until 28th April | Free

A ream of stunning images from two of the fashion world’s most exciting photographers, celebrating diversity behind, as well as in front of, the lens of the fashion industry.

The Anxious Ocean and The Moon Bathers | Until 5th May

A psychedelic vision of a post-human future, where everything is underwater and strange sea creatures walk in our place.

Address: Strand, WC2R 1LA | Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 8am-11pm | Entry: Free/£14+ for exhibitions

Tate Britain

The epicurean, slightly dotty uncle of the Tate Modern is concerned with one thing only – The Land of Hope and Glory (and the artists who come from within it). It’s quite the line up, so expect all the big names from 1500 to the present day; Turner, Constable, Bacon, Blake, and Emin. Quite the knees up.


Don McCullin | Until 6th May

A haunting, 250-strong array of prints from British photographer Don McCullin, from images of shellshocked soldiers in Vietnam to candid captures in some of the most deprived areas of England.

Van Gogh and Britain | Until 11th August

50 paintings from one of the world’s greatest artists, each telling a tale of how he inspired, and was inspired by, Britain and its artists. You should Gogh.

Address: Millbank, SW1P 4RG | Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 10am-6pm | Entry: Free / Exhibitions from £16

Tate Modern

Tate Modern - art galleries in London

Some people think modern art is just a load of Pollocks. And they’d be right. But he’s not the only artist you’ll find in this behemoth of modern and contemporary works. It holds the British Collection of pieces from 1900 to the present day, and is one of the largest modern art museums in the world. Housed within the old Bankside power station, it has become an iconic landmark on the Thames’ riverscape. The old turbine hall dwarfs its visitors and holds specially commissioned, larger-than-life exhibits. READ MORE


Pierre Bonnard: The Colour of Memory | Until 6th May

One of the 20th century’s great colourists, this collection of Bonnard’s works focusses on his paintings capturing intimate, everyday moments.

Franz West | Until 2nd June

A major retrospective of the punk sculptor, including papier mâché replicas of his work that you can pick up and interact with.

Dorothea Tanning | Until 9th June

A sprawling collection of 100 works of art from the surrealist artist, from her otherworldly paintings to a hotel room installation with bodies floating out of the walls.

Magic Realism | Until 14th July

A free, year-long exhibition, this collation of works from Germany’s Weimar Republic (1919-1933) reflects on the shift towards “cold veracity” and the unsettling in an era of huge political change.

Address: Bankside, SE1 9TG | Opening Hours: Fri-Sat 10am-10pm, Sun-Thurs 10am-6pm Entry: Free / Exhibitions from £16

Wallace Collection

A collecting hobby that got a little out of hand is now a major collection of 18th and 19th century works collected by subsequent Marquesses of Hertford, and bequeathed to the public. Housed within a imposing regency townhouse, the Wallace is famed for its triumphant collection of French decorative arts; the grandest one outside of Gaul. It’s a fancy family’s fancy private collection, so expect gilded frames, suits of armour, and offensive levels of wealth to dominate your surroundings on your sojourn through the wings.


Henry Moore: The Helmet Heads | Until 23rd June

A gloriously abstract collection of Moore’s sculptures that were directly influenced by the Wallace Collection’s armour displays.

Address: Hertford House, Manchester Square, W1U 3BN | Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 10am-5pm | Entry: Free


Ben Uri Gallery

Founded over 100 years ago, in the Jewish Ghetto of Whitechapel by Russian immigrant Lazar Berson, this art museum has always focused on the lives, careers, and works of refugee artists. True to its heritage, the gallery packed its bags and migrated to St John’s Wood, where now its 1300 works, covering 30 separate mediums, continue to showcase the artistic output of immigrant communities.

NOTE: The Ben Uri Gallery is currently closed for refurbishment until 8th April 2019.

Address: 108A Boundary Road, NW8 0RH | Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 10am-5:30pm, Sat-Sun 11am-5pm | Entry: Free

Camden Arts Centre

Camden Arts Centre - art galleries in London

Credit: Hydar Dewachi

What began as a local Arts scheme providing the Hampstead community with classes in everything from painting to pottery, grew, over the past 50 years, into an internationally acclaimed centre for the arts. Housed on the leafier side of Swiss Cottage this enclave of ever rotating, multi disciplinary artistry is a small and quaint affair with an onsite bookshop, cafe, and garden to boot.


Beatrice Gibson: Crone Music | Until 31st March

Two interconnected feminist films made in response to current US politics, combining intimate family footage with a reboot of a 90 year old thriller.

Address: Arkwright Road, NW3 6DG | Opening Hours: Tues-Sun 10am-6pm, Wed 10am-9pm | Entry: Free

Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art

The frontage exudes the class and posture of Georgian England, but step inside and you’ll tumble down into the kaleidoscopic world of Italian Futurist Art. Futurism was one of Italy’s most significant contributions to the 20th century and this museum is Britain’s only one dedicated to the movement. Expect sculptures, paintings, landscapes, and the downright bizarre – all from a young nation looking to find la dolce vita.


Fausto Melotti: Counterpoint | Until 7th April

Relatively lesser-known Futurist sculptor Fausto Melotti gets his own dedicated retrospective, with a collection of his geometric 1930s works inspired by the crossover between music and mathematics.

Address: 39A Canonbury Square, N1 2AN | Opening Hours: Wed-Sat 11am-6pm, Sun 12pm-5pm | Entry: £6.50/£4.50 (Concession)

House of Illustration

House of Illustration - art galleries in London

London’s only public gallery dedicated to graphic art was founded by a man who undoubtedly etched his creations onto your childhood, Sir Quentin Blake. As Dahl’s illustrator, his work has found itself onto almost every bookshelf in Britain and a small collection of his drawings are on permanent display in the House of Illustration. Set within the old granary buildings just north of Kings Cross, this museum is a dais to doodles – proving that even sketches have their place up on the wall.


Corita Kent: Power Up | Until 12th May

The first major gathering of the dramatic and colourful works of Corita Kent: pop artist, social activist, and nun.

Address: 2 Granary Square, King’s Cross, N1C 4BH | Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 10am-6pm | Entry: £7.50/£5.50 (Concession)


Dedicated totally to the three dimensional, the Pangolin details the historic development of British sculpture as well as showcasing the, ahem, cutting-edge of modern contemporary work.


Charlotte Mayer: The Space Between | Until 18th April

A stunning collection of giant, bird-like sculptures and tiny illustrations to honour the artist’s 90th birthday.

Address: Kings Place, 90 York Way, N1 9AG | Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 10am-6pm | Entry: Free

Victoria Miro

Representing 40 established and emerging artists, Victoria Miro is one of the largest commercial spaces in London – and a great place to wile away the afternoon pretending you can afford to buy even one item. The Wharf Road gallery is a converted furniture factory and now houses Grayson Perry’s 15m Walthamstow Tapestry amongst numerous other works including the garden itself, landscaped personally for the gallery.


Chantal Joffe opens 11th April.

Address: 16 Wharf Road, N1 7RW | Opening Hours: Tue-Sat 10am-6pm | Entry: Free

William Morris Gallery

William Morris Gallery - art galleries in London

The original hipster, Morris eschewed Victorian trends in favour of more “retro” Medieval vibes – before going on to propagate the socialist movement in Britain and then sow the seeds of fantasy literature by translating Icelandic epic poetry. His life was as intricate and interconnected as his infamous wallpaper designs, and this delightful museum celebrates every facet of his fascinating existence.


Cultural Revolution: State Graphics in China from 1960s-1970s | Until 27th May

A visually striking collection of propaganda posters, home-made paper cuttings and portraits of Mao Zedong during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.

Haiku Adventure: The Craft of Games | Until 15th September

Find out exactly what video games and Japanese Edo-era woodblock prints have in common at this interactive installation detailing the development of Haiku Adventure, a new game inspired by the art of ukiyo-e prints.

Address: Lloyd Park, Forest Road, E17 4PP | Opening Hours: Tues-Sun 10am-5pm | Entry: Free




An unusual little gem in Bermondsey, where work from emerging artists is displayed inside a whitewashed house, complete with fireplaces and radiators. Here you’ll find contemporary art at the cutting edge; from mixed-media portraits to site-specific installations.


Substantifs opens 4th April.

Address: 45 Grange Road, SE1 3BH | Opening Hours: Thurs-Sun 3-7pm | Entry: Free

Dulwich Picture Gallery

The oldest public art gallery in England, this imposing Regency triumph stands proud in well-to-do Dulwich. Home to an impressive collection of historical works, this is a classic gallery experience. Expect Dutch paintings of cows on bridges, splendid nudity in reenactments of Greco Roman mythology, and a handful of Italian masters.


Harald Sohlberg: Painting Norway | Until 2nd June

The UK’s first major exhibition on the Norwegian landscape artist, 150 years after his birth.

Address: Gallery Road, SE21 7AD | Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 10am-5pm | Entry: £16.50/£8 (concessions)

Newport Street Gallery

Formaldehyde-bathed bovines and spin-painted pictures, sharks sliced in half, and a golden hooved calf, mountains of artwork all tied up with string, these are a few of Damien Hirst’s favourite things. As one of the richest living artists and most enthusiastic collectors, Hirst is no stranger to the contemporary scene and his personal collection, on show at the Newport Street Gallery, contains over 3,000 works from Bacon, Banksy, Emin and even Picasso.    


John Bellany and Alan Davie: Cradle of Magic | Until 1st September

A retrospective of two of the biggest artists from the Scottish Renaissance of the mid 20th century. Expect a mad, colourful mash-up of Celtic and Byzantine religious art, jazz, automatism and fishermen.

Address: Newport Street, SE11 6AJ |  Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 10am-6pm | Entry: Free

South London Gallery

South London Gallery - art galleries in London

Camberwell’s contemporary art gallery has always been at the forefront of the South London art scene. Originally the gallery of a local working men’s college, it has always sought to celebrate current artists. That trend continued and, in 1995, it was the first venue to showcase Emin’s infamous “tent”. It now houses a number of permanent exhibits with revolving temporary installations.


Haegue Yang: Tracing Movement | Until 26th May

A series of specially commissioned, site-specific sculptures by the South Korean artist, including two giant structures that are periodically moved around the space by performers.

The Source: Works from the South London Gallery Collection | Until 26th May

Taking over the SLG’s new gallery space in the old fire station, The Source brings many of its first exhibits back into the light, telling the story of how locals and artists managed to open the place back in the 1890s.

Address: 65-67 Peckham Road, SE5 8UH | Opening Hours: Tue 11am-6pm, Wed 11am-9pm, Thurs-Sun 11am-6pm | Entry: Free

White Cube Bermondsey

Europe’s biggest commercial gallery has come under its fair share of criticism. Owned and run by an old Etonian and known for displaying works in a cold and clinical manner, it’s easy to see why. But representing the likes of Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst, you can guarantee that the stars of British contemporary art will shine bright on any visit. The whitewashed walls, and strip lighting, can make it feel like a bit like a trip to the hospital (or asylum depending on your view of the work), but this institution of the ever fractious art scene is well worth a wander.


Tracey Emin: A Fortnight of Tears | Until 7th April

Proving herself once more as one of the art world’s most, er, Emin-ent figures, the award-winning artist gets a solo exhibition here spanning painting, photography and neon – including a gallery of self-portraits taken during bouts of insomnia.

Address: 144-152 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3TQ | Opening Hours: Tue-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 12pm-6pm | Entry: Free



Chisenhale Gallery

Sat inside a 1930s veneer factory, Chisenhale Gallery produces and commissions contemporary art in the heart of the East End. Its focus is on emerging and under-represented artists so expect the new and the different in this champion of the people.


Mandy El-Sayegh opens 12th April.

Address: 64 Chisenhale Road, E3 5QZ | Opening Hours: Wed-Sun 12am-6pm | Entry: Free

Guildhall Art Gallery

Guildhall Art Gallery - art galleries in London

Established in 1886 as ‘a collection of art treasures worthy of the capital city’, the Guildhall Gallery is exactly that – a sumptuous assembly of art that you’d expect the captains of industry from centuries past to have amassed. Big sexy frames, portraits of gentlemen with enormous wigs, and an impressive number of Pre-Raphaelite masterpieces are the mainstay of their throng which seeks to show off in telling the story of London town.


Seen and Heard: Victorian Children in the Frame | Until 28th April

Putting Victorian kiddiwinks back in the picture, this exhibition brings together idyllic depictions of 19th century childhood – at a time when the concept was first coined.

Visions and Visionaries | Until 28th April

A dreamy, surreal collection of illustrations and drawings from the pre-Raphaelites to modern-day artists, all based around myth and fable.

Address: Guildhall Yard, EC2V 5AE | Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 12pm-4pm | Entry: Free

Maureen Paley

Paley was a bit of a pioneer in the contemporary art scene, being the first to exhibit in London’s East End. Now representing over 40 individuals, her gallery showcases their work and makes for a varied stroll through some of the UK’s most exciting and decorated contemporary artists. There are two Turner prize winners and even more nominees on show. Which should turn heads.

WHAT’S ON: Main Gallery Only

Address: 21 Herald Street, E2 6JT | Opening Hours: Wed-Sun 11am-6pm  Entry: Free

Modern Art

Modern Art - art galleries London

A gallery running frequent exhibitions – frequently running three displays at a time – it’s a beautifully minimalist space that plays host to all kinds of abstract and provocative contemporary art, supporting a roster of emerging sculptors, photographers and painters.


Anna-Bella Papp: ‘Plans for an unused land’ | Until 13th April

An elegant series of white, fired clay, hand-sculpted tablets depicting the artist’s home in Romania.

Katinka Bock, Esther Kläs, Helen Mirra, Hayley Tompkins | Until 13th April

An avant-garde collection of large-scale sculptures from four esteemed contemporary artists.

Address: 50 – 58 Vyner Street, E2 9DQ | Opening Hours: Wed-Sat 11am-6pm | Entry: Free

Whitechapel Gallery

Founded in 1901, this gallery set out to give great art to the masses. Since then it’s had some pretty impressive mates round for tea. Picasso’s Guernica popped by; Pollock, Hockney, and Lucian Freud all logged stays; and currently it displays a mix of modern and contemporary masters.


Is This Tomorrow? | Until 12th May

A group of 10 artists present their collaborative visions of the future, in large-scale installations, film, and simple objects.

Address: 77-82 Whitechapel High Street, E1 7QX | Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 11am-6pm | Entry: Free



Design Museum

Design Museum Kensington - art galleries in London

Nominated for European Museum of the Year in 2018, the Design Museum is, as you’d expect, very well put together. In the bustling cultural quarter of Kensington, its three floors and two basements serve up permanent exhibitions, learning centres, glass-walled design studios and temporary gallery spaces. The permanent gallery is the only one in the UK to be dedicated completely to contemporary design.


David Adjaye: Making Memory | Until 5th May

A look at seven of this celebrated architect’s most striking structures, and how architecture can be used to tell stories.

Address: 224-238 Kensington High Street, W8 6AG | Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 10am-6pm | Entry: Free/~£16 temporary exhibitions

Graffik Gallery

Street art off the street is the focus of this gritty and urban gallery. Derived from the Italian to scratch, this ancient form of expression has taken on a new lease of life in our modern times. Whether it’s a growing art form or just an aberration on our city streets, it certainly packs a punch and this collection gives you a vast overview of the city’s strongest pieces – without ever making you step outside.

WHAT’S ON: Main Exhibition Only.

Address: 284 Portobello Road, W10 5TE | Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 11am-6pm | Entry: Free

Leighton House Museum and Art Gallery

Leighton House Museum - art galleries in London

When a noted painter and lord of the realm commissions you to design his house, you’d better bring your A-game. Well, George Aitchison did just that and his creation is now a Grade II listed building, widely revered for its Orientalist and aesthetic interiors – and the home of the Leighton House Museum. The permanent gallery, predictably, contains numerous works from Leighton himself; so expect to cast your eye over lavish oil panoramas of Greek myths, lords and ladies, and ecclesiastical scenes.

WHAT’S ON: The main collection sits alongside a revolving selection of one-off events including live music, art classes, and kite workshops.

Address: 12 Holland Park Road, W14 8LZ | Opening Hours: Wed-Mon 10am-5:30pm | Entry: £9/£7 (Concessions)

Saatchi Gallery

A controversial centre headed by a controversial curator, the Saatchi Gallery has always sought to challenge. Thankfully, viewing its collection is no such thing – it’s the only completely free contemporary art gallery of its size in the world. Its guiding principle has always been to operate as the quirkier B-side to places like the Tate Modern – so expect to find new and unknown works from artists all hoping to be the Hockney of tomorrow.


It’s The Surreal Thing | Until 14th April

Sr. X’s quirky, surrealist street art, taking inspiration from pop art, propaganda and the golden age of advertising.

Kaleidoscope | Until 5th May

A three-metre high, psychedelically shimmering kaleidoscope. That you can walk into. READ MORE

We Live In An Ocean of Air | Until 5th May

Traditional art: you go into the gallery, and look at the paintings. The security guard yawns.

This art: you go into the gallery, put on a pair of virtual reality goggles – which also track your breathing and heart rate – and step into the canvas, after which you have a personal encounter with the largest organism to ever exist (the giant sequoia tree) and marvel as you are connected to it through the very air you breathe. The security guard does not exist. There is only you and the tree.

‘Arctic: New Frontier’ by Yuri Kozyrev and Kadir Van Lohuizen | Until 5th May

These guys won the Carmignac Photojournalism Award, which allowed them to go on an incredible double polar exhibition, and document their journey. This is what they saw…

Address: Duke of York’s HQ, Kings Road, SW3 4RY | Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 10am-6pm | Entry: Free

Serpentine Galleries

These two contemporary galleries connect thanks to a snaking bridge that crests the Serpentine – hence the name. In celebration of their idyllic, Eden-esque setting, every summer the gallery commissions a temporary structure to fill its outdoor pavilion.


Emma Kunz: Visionary Drawings | Until 19th May

Mesmerising, geometric sketches from the late Swiss artist, drawn throughout her career in the early 20th century.

Address: Kensington Gardens, W2 3XA | Opening Hours: Tues-Sun 10am-6pm | Entry: Free


V&A Museum - art galleries in London

Like the Queen whose name it bears, the V&A is imposing, vast, and spans decades. With 145 galleries and over 5,000 years of art in its collection, it really is an encyclopaedia of design. Since its inception in 1852, the museum has always adopted a policy of “wide art”; attempting to inspire, dazzle, and entertain with its eclectic collection. Today is no different and you can travel the world and back without ever leaving the building (except to look at the courtyard).


Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams | Until 14th July

A showstopper of an exhibition, combining jaw-dropping evening gowns with vintage perfume bottles; rare prints; original sketches and more, celebrating one of the world’s most famous couturiers.

Address: Cromwell Road, SW7 2RL | Opening Hours: Sat-Thurs 10am-5:45pm, Fri 10am-10pm | Entry: Free / Exhibitions from £12


Main image: Royal Academy

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