One of the leading cultural centres on Planet Earth, London is nothing if not somewhere packed full of marvellous art galleries. Here, then, is a list of surely the six best and biggest *free-to-enter* (!) galleries the city has to offer…
The National Gallery
The quintessential London gallery, the absolutely iconic National Gallery is where to head for simply some of the greatest landscapes and portraits ever committed to canvas. That said, though, the glorious two-centuries-old building that houses them all – thousands upon thousands of them – is arguably a work of art itself. Certainly worthy of incorporating into a touristy day concluding with, say, a delicious meal at a wonderful West End restaurant.
The National Portrait Gallery
Not to be confused with its sister gallery next door, the National *Portrait* Gallery may be closed at present, but reopening as it will next year, in 2023, it’s a unique and fascinating place to visit.
Why? Well, for its remarkable collection of portraits of the great, good, distinguished and notorious of English and British history – from before Tudor times right up to the present day. Make a beeline for it, then, as soon as it opens, wherever you’re staying – The Montcalm At The Brewery London City or anywhere else.
Royal Academy of Arts
Dating all the way back to 1768 (yes, that long ago), this place has been a heaven for great art from established and new artists for the entirety of its history, which is hardly a surprise, given it’s always been run by actual artists. In recent years, it’s increased the footprint of its Mayfair site, ensuring it now offers more free displays and great lunch, dining and shopping facilities. Really, it’s hardly surprising it has such huge renown throughout the art world.
The oldest of the UK’s collection of Tate galleries, this one is where to go (especially after a perfect, relaxing afternoon spent at Versace Spa) should you fancy seeking out choice samples of homegrown artworks, that date all the way from the start of the 16th Century up to, yes, the 21st Century. Famed for its domed roof and porticoed entrance, it really is a rather awesome venue in which to immerse yourself in the very finest art these small but significant islands have produced.
The other Tate gallery located in London is just as big a deal as its forebear, not least because it seems to be perennially the UK’s most popular visitor attraction. While it’s dedicated to making the greatest of modern art available to people (including a good many on mini-breaks spent at The Montcalm London, no doubt), everything housed within the walls of its brutalist but brilliant building will have been produced from the year 1900 onwards.
Finally, just a short stroll along the Southbank from the Tate Modern is the really rather wonderful Southbank Centre (an esteemed venue dedicated to all the arts), in which you’ll find this likewise highly renowned attraction. Again, its chief interest is contemporary art and in particular, perhaps, examples of fascinating brutalist architecture. So, while a good deal of what’s exhibited here may be a bit ‘out there’ for some, for others it’ll be right up their street, of course. Which adequately sums up the very best of what London’s finest – and most visited – galleries are all about. There’s something for everyone – and then some!