Words by Rachel Sadler
Hattie Lloyd 25/10/22
For those wondering, this is not Slytherin’s hangout spot.
It’s an innovative pair of gallery spaces located in the idyllic Kensington Gardens, perched on the other side of the Serpentine Lake from Hyde Park.
The Serpentine has presented pioneering exhibitions, live events, architecture and more for half a century, showcasing both emerging and internationally recognised contemporary artists for free, all-year round. The galleries are situated a convenient five minutes walk from each other, on either side of The Serpentine Bridge, and have full disability access and facilities. The original South Gallery, established in 1970, exhibits from within a Grade II listed former tea pavilion; and The North Gallery, only going since 2013, is housed in a Grade II listed former gunpowder store. But despite their historic settings, what’s inside – and out – is cutting edge stuff.
The 2022 pavilion by Theaster Gates
See, each year, The Serpentine also commissions a different artist or architect to design an outdoor pavilion. It’s become the highlight of the architectural calendar since Zaha Hadid’s first Pavilion back in 2000, and if you’re visiting between June and October, it’s not to be missed. This year’s commission, Black Chapel, was designed by Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates. Inspired by sacred spaces and pottery kilns (classic), it played host to events throughout the summer, including Japanese tea ceremonies and Gregorian chanting.
Back indoors, The Serpentine Galleries have heaps of cool free events and exhibitions throughout the year. Currently on show you’ll find Steve McQueen’s haunting surveillance film of Grenfell tower six months after the fire (free to visit in the South Gallery, until 10th May).
Between gallery hopping, take a break at The Magazine restaurant, housed in a striking Zaha Hadid-designed extension. Combining exquisite culinary delights from Slovakian-born chef Tomas Kolkus and a minimum-waste contemporary menu, it’s guilt-free dining…
…at its finesssst.
NOTE: The Serpentine Galleries are free to visit and are open Tuesday – Sunday (and bank holiday Mondays). You can find out what’s on right HERE.
Serpentine South Gallery, Kensington Gardens, London W2 3XA | Serpentine North Gallery, West Carriage Drive, London W2 2AR
Love art? See what’s on at every London art gallery right now
The Nudge is an independent, searchable and highly-curated guide to the most interesting places to go and things to do in London, giving members unrestricted access to our full compendium of continually-updated restaurants, bars, events, exhibitions, date ideas, itineraries, member perks, weekend guides, monthly agendas and more – all delivered via our website, email newsletters & members’ app.
Join us to see what’s hot in London this week; to explore all of the recommendations & ideas stored within The Nudge’s website and members’ app; and to start making the most of life in London today. Start Free 14 Day Trial
West Carriage Drive, Kensington, W2 2AR
View On Map
Submit Member Review
Got A Tip? Email [email protected]
Log In to add this to My Saved Articles
Not a member and want to find out more then click here
7 Day Free Trial
Member Log In
We rely on member reviews to help keep The Nudge honest, accurate & continually up to date with the very best of London - so thank you!