Free London Galleries

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Saatchi Gallery

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Saatchi Gallery
National Gallery
National Portrait Gallery
National Portrait Gallery
Serpentine Gallery
Tate Britain
Tate Modern
Wallace Collection
Wapping Project
White Cube Hoxton Square
Whitechapel Gallery
Saatchi Gallery
 

 

Nearly all of London's major public galleries are completely free so you know you're not compromising on quality by choosing the cheaper option. Lots offer free talks and tours if you time your visit cleverly. Some special exhibitions do attract an admission fee but there's more than enough in each gallery to keep you well and truly absorbed without having to pay to visit these.

 
 

Saatchi Gallery

Charles Saatchi's relocated gallery champions younger artists and is still free to all

Duke of York's Square, King's Road, Chelsea, London, SW3 4SQ

Tube: Sloane Square Station

 
 

The Saatchi Gallery re-opened on 9th October 2008 in the former military barracks of the Duke of York's Headquarters. The 70,000 square feet represents a significantly larger space than its previous 40,000 occupancy at County Hall. Ousted from the Southbank site in 2005, the re-location of the gallery had long been speculated upon and hotly anticipated. The former ad man Charles Saatchi made the transition to the art world in the 1990s, championing young artists and buying in bulk the works of Young British Artists like Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin. In keeping with this trait, the gallery includes a dedicated space for emerging artists from the Saatchi Online website.

 
 

Events at Saatchi Gallery

Exhibitionism Ongoing Editor's Top Pick - Recommended

6th April to 4th September 2016 | Mon to Thu £19 (Adults), £12 (Junior 6 to 17), Free (Children under 6), £17 (Concs), £50 (Family of 4). Fri to Sun & Bank Holidays: £12 (Adults), £15 (Junior), Free (Under 6), £19 (Concs), £55 (Family of 4)

 
Exhibitionism Saatchi Gallery 2016-04-062016-09-04 Where:
Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York's Square, King's Road London, SW3 4SQ
Category: Art Galleries
Richard Wilson: 20:50
OngoingFree Event

1st January 2014 to 31st December 2016 - Various Times | Free

 
Richard Wilson: 20:50 Saatchi Gallery 2014-01-012016-12-31 Where:
Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York's Square, King's Road London, SW3 4SQ
Category: Art Galleries
London Fashion Weekend
On Soon

22nd to 25th Sep 2016 - Various Times | Bronze ticket £20, Silver ticket £45, Gold ticket £60, Catwalk Front Row Bolt-On £15, Luxe ticket £130, Luxe Premium ticket £200

 
London Fashion Weekend Saatchi Gallery 2016-09-222016-09-25 Where:
Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York's Square, King's Road London, SW3 4SQ
Category: Art Galleries

Britain's biggest biannual consumer fashion showcase.

All events at Saatchi Gallery
 
 
 

National Gallery

This art collection belongs to the British public and is free to visit

Trafalgar Square, Westminster, London, WC2N 5DN

Tube: Charing Cross Station, Leicester Square Station, Embankment Underground Station, Piccadilly Circus Station, Covent Garden Station

 
 

The National Gallery dominates over London's Trafalgar Square as it dominates all other galleries in the city in terms of world renown. Some of the finest examples of European art, ranging from 1260 to 1900, are included among the 2300 paintings filling its halls and rooms. Holbein's 'The Ambassadors', 'The Hay Wain' by Constable, and Jan Van Eyck's 'Arnolfini Marriage' are just some of the major attractions. Works on display also include those of Botticelli, Monet, Constable, Van Gogh and Rembrandt. This really is the place to come for top quality artwork spanning a wide spectrum of styles and periods. From the Early Renaissance to the Post-Impressionists, every significant stage in the development of painting is represented in its collection, often by masterpieces. Originally established by Parliament in 1824, the collection belongs to the British public and every effort is made to encourage the public to visit, view and experience the art: free entry, free events, free talks and free tours support this ethos of encouragement and enthusiasm. Regular weekend activities include: guided tours at 11.30am, 2.30pm with extra tours at 12.30pm and 3.30pm on Saturdays, lunchtime talks on Saturdays at 1am, and Art Through Words sessions for visitors with a visual impairment at 11.30am on the last Saturday of the month.

 
 

Events at National Gallery

A View Into The Italian Renaissance: Veronese
Free Event

Wednesday 31st August 2016 - 1pm-1.30pm | Free

 
A View Into The Italian Renaissance: Veronese National Gallery 2016-08-312016-08-31 Where:
National Gallery, Trafalgar Square London, WC2N 5DN
Category: Art Galleries

An exploration of the renaissance in Italy.

Painters' Paintings: From Van Dyck to Freud Ongoing Editor's Top Pick - Recommended

22nd June to 4th September 2016 | Adult £12, senior £10, student £6

 
Painters' Paintings: From Van Dyck to Freud National Gallery 2016-06-222016-09-04 Where:
National Gallery, Trafalgar Square London, WC2N 5DN
Category: Art Galleries
George Shaw: My Back To Nature OngoingFree Event

11th May to 30th October 2016 | Free

 
George Shaw: My Back To Nature National Gallery 2016-05-112016-10-30 Where:
National Gallery, Trafalgar Square London, WC2N 5DN
Category: Art Galleries
Illuminated Illusions
On SoonFree Event

Sunday 4th September 2016 - 11am-1pm | Free

 
Illuminated Illusions National Gallery 2016-09-042016-09-04 Where:
National Gallery, Trafalgar Square London, WC2N 5DN
Category: Art Galleries

Create a glow-in-the dark masterpiece inspired by Pissarro.

Magic Carpet Storytelling (Under 5s)
On SoonFree Event

4th, 11th, 18th and 25th Sep 2016 at 10.30am-11am and 11.30am-12noon | Free

 
Magic Carpet Storytelling (Under 5s) National Gallery 2016-09-042016-09-25 Where:
National Gallery, Trafalgar Square London, WC2N 5DN
Category: Art Galleries

Stories inspired by pictures in the National Gallery.

All events at National Gallery
 
 
 

National Portrait Gallery

10,000 portraits of everyone from statesmen to showbiz stars

St Martin's Place, London, WC2H 0HE

Tube: Leicester Square Station, Charing Cross Station, Piccadilly Circus Station, Embankment Underground Station, Covent Garden Station

 
 

This isn't the place to come for serious works of exceptional artistic merit - the overriding aim of the National Portrait Gallery is to reflect the status of the sitter, not the artist - but where else in London could you hope to find The Beatles, Henry VIII, Sir Richard Branson and JK Rowling all hanging out together? The appeal of this gallery (opened in 1856) rests simply in its comprehensive commemoration of British history from the late 15th century to the present day through the medium of portraiture. The sense of progression and the feeling of familiarity with many subjects are what make the gallery so appealing. Having said that, critically acclaimed self-portraits by William Hogarth, Sir Joshua Reynolds and other notable British artists are also displayed alongside the 10,000 portraits of everyone from statesmen to showbiz stars and media barons. The collection represents Britain and is arranged thematically, starting with the Tudors and ending with present day politicians and pop stars. Look out for the only surviving portrait of Shakespeare taken from life in The Ondaajte Wing, the Hans Holbein cartoon of Henry VIII, the anamorphic portrait of Edward VI, and the sculpture of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in medieval costume. Photographs, caricatures, drawings and sculpture are included in the collection which also boasts 250,000 archived images. The National Portrait Gallery also hosts the annual Portrait Prize competition alongside ever-changing collections of contemporary work.

 
 

Events at National Portrait Gallery

BP Portrait Award 2016 OngoingFree Event Editor's Top Pick - Recommended

23rd June to 18th September 2016 | Free

 
BP Portrait Award 2016 National Portrait Gallery 2016-06-232016-09-18 Where:
National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place London, WC2H 0HE
Category: Art Galleries
Portrait Of The Day
Ends TodayFree Event

1st June to 31st August 2016 - 12.30pm | Free

 
Portrait Of The Day National Portrait Gallery 2016-06-012016-08-31 Where:
National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place London, WC2H 0HE
Category: Art Galleries
Portrait Of The Day
On SoonFree Event

1st to 30th September 2016 - 12.30pm | Free

 
Portrait Of The Day National Portrait Gallery 2016-09-012016-09-30 Where:
National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place London, WC2H 0HE
Category: Art Galleries

A half-hour talk by a member of the Gallery's Visitor Services Team on a chosen portrait in the collection.

Picasso Portraits Editor's Top Pick - Recommended

6th October 2016 to 5th February 2017 | £17.50, concs £15.50

 
Picasso Portraits National Portrait Gallery 2016-10-062017-02-05 Where:
National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place London, WC2H 0HE
Category: Art Galleries
Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize Editor's Top Pick - Recommended

17th November 2016 to 26th February 2017 | £3 (Adults), £2 (Concs), Free for members

 
Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize National Portrait Gallery 2016-11-172017-02-26 Where:
National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place London, WC2H 0HE
Category: Art Galleries
All events at National Portrait Gallery
 
 
 

Photographers' Gallery

Relocated, reopened and still committed to free admission

16-18 Ramillies Street, Soho, London, W1F 7LW

Tube: Oxford Circus Station

 
 

The Photographers' Gallery reopened in Spring 2012 as Britain's leading centre for contemporary photography continues to run various projects in the meantime, most notably the Deutsche Borse Prize, the photographer's equivalent of the Turner. Now in its new location on Ramillies Street, visiting the exhibition is free and, for those into photography, it's a must-see. A cultural oasis in the centre of the city, with a commitment to continued free admission.

 
 

Events at Photographers' Gallery

Working With Archives
On SoonFree Event

Thursday 1st September 2016 - 6.30pm | Free, booking essential

 
Working With Archives Photographers' Gallery 2016-09-012016-09-01 Where:
Photographers' Gallery, 16-18 Ramillies Street London, W1F 7LW
Category: Art Galleries

For photography professionals and enthusiasts.

Set Design For Photographers
On Soon

Saturday 3rd September 2016 - 11am-5pm | £135, concs/mems £120

 
Set Design For Photographers Photographers' Gallery 2016-09-032016-09-03 Where:
Photographers' Gallery, 16-18 Ramillies Street London, W1F 7LW
Category: Art Galleries

Learn how to build a set for photography shoots.

The Blind Photographer
On SoonFree Event

Thursday 8th September 2016 - 6.30pm | Free, booking essential

 
The Blind Photographer Photographers' Gallery 2016-09-082016-09-08 Where:
Photographers' Gallery, 16-18 Ramillies Street London, W1F 7LW
Category: Art Galleries

Celebrate the launch of the book about blind and partially-sighted photographers

Thinkers In Residence
On Soon

Thursday 15th September 2016 - 12noon-8pm | phone for prices

 
Thinkers In Residence Photographers' Gallery 2016-04-282016-09-15 Where:
Photographers' Gallery, 16-18 Ramillies Street London, W1F 7LW
Category: Art Galleries
Donovan In Magazines: Panel Discussion
On Soon

Wednesday 21st September 2016 - 6.30pm | £10, concs/mems £7

 
Donovan In Magazines: Panel Discussion Photographers' Gallery 2016-09-212016-09-21 Where:
Photographers' Gallery, 16-18 Ramillies Street London, W1F 7LW
Category: Art Galleries

A presentation and a discussion reflecting on Terence Donovan's work in magazines.

All events at Photographers' Gallery
 
 
 

Serpentine Gallery

Home of the long-running Summer Pavilion, the Serpentine is free all year round

Kensington Gardens, South Kensington, London, W2 3XA

Tube: Lancaster Gate Station

 
 

The Serpentine provides a platform for contemporary artists, both British and international, with changing exhibitions. There's a permanent work comprising eight benches, a tree-plaque, and a carved stone circle by artist and poet Ian Hamilton Finlay in the grounds of the gallery which is dedicated to the Serpentine's former Patron Diana, Princess of Wales. In July, the annual Summer Party is a highlight on the party circuit, attracting celebrities, fashionistas and models showing the latest designer dresses. Rather more artistically important is the Summer Pavilion; each year a distinguished architect is invited to build a temporary structure which sits alongside the gallery for the summer months. Often controversial and always a talking point, the Summer Pavilion is arguably one of the most interesting exhibitions that the Serpentine presents.

 
 

Events at Serpentine Gallery

Alex Katz OngoingFree Event Editor's Top Pick - Recommended

8th June to 11th September 2016 | Free

 
Alex Katz Serpentine Gallery 2016-06-082016-09-11 Where:
Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens London, W2 3XA
Category: Art Galleries
Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2016: Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) OngoingFree Event Editor's Top Pick - Recommended

10th June to 9th October 2016 | Free

 
Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2016: Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) Serpentine Gallery 2016-06-102016-10-09 Where:
Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens London, W2 3XA
Category: Art Galleries
Saturday Talks: Claude Adjil On The Serpentine Summer Houses 2016
On Soon

Saturday 3rd September 2016 - 3pm | phone for prices

 
Saturday Talks: Claude Adjil On The Serpentine Summer Houses 2016 Serpentine Gallery 2016-09-032016-09-03 Where:
Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens London, W2 3XA
Category: Art Galleries

Assistant Curator Claude Adjil leads a tour of the Serpentine Summer Houses.

Saturday Talks: Melissa Blanchflower On Alex Katz: Quick Light
On SoonFree Event

Saturday 10th September 2016 - 3pm | Free

 
Saturday Talks: Melissa Blanchflower On Alex Katz: Quick Light Serpentine Gallery 2016-09-102016-09-10 Where:
Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens London, W2 3XA
Category: Art Galleries

The curator leads a tour of the exhibition.

Park Nights 2016: BBC Radio 3's Late Junction, With Bas Jan, Yeah You And More
On Soon

Friday 23rd September 2016 - 8pm | £5, concs £4

 
Park Nights 2016: BBC Radio 3's Late Junction, With Bas Jan, Yeah You And More Serpentine Gallery 2016-09-232016-09-23 Where:
Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens London, W2 3XA
Category: Art Galleries

A live recording of BBC Radio 3's Late Junction, featuring live sets by musicians and artists. All the performances recorded at this Park Night will be broadcast during the following week.

All events at Serpentine Gallery
 
 
 

Tate Britain

One of four Tate galleries in the UK and home of the Turner Prize

Millbank, Westminster, London, SW1P 4RG

Tube: Pimlico Station

 
 

Overlooking the River Thames, Tate Britain was originally founded through the philanthropy of the sugar magnate Sir Henry Tate. The Tate legacy now encompasses three other galleries around the UK, including Tate Modern also in London. Dedicated to showcasing Britain's artistic talent, Tate Britain is home to the greatest collection of British art from 1500 to the present day. Since it opened in 1897, the collection has expanded to include works from Blake, Rossetti, Spencer and Stubbs. It also hosts the Turner Prize - the contemporary art world's premier award. Turner's Gallery (another tribute to the artist himself) is a virtual reconstruction of the room in which Turner showed his own paintings.

 
 

Events at Tate Britain

Painting with Light Ongoing Editor's Top Pick - Recommended

11th May to 25th September 2016 | Adult £18, concession £16

 
Painting with Light Tate Britain 2016-05-112016-09-25 Where:
Tate Britain, Millbank London, SW1P 4RG
Category: Art Galleries
Pablo Bronstein Ongoing Editor's Top Pick - Recommended

26th April to 9th October 2016

 
Pablo Bronstein Tate Britain 2016-04-262016-10-09 Where:
Tate Britain, Millbank London, SW1P 4RG
Category: Art Galleries
Art and Alcohol OngoingFree Event Editor's Top Pick - Recommended

16th November 2015 to 24th September 2016 | Free

 
Art and Alcohol Tate Britain 2015-11-162016-09-24 Where:
Tate Britain, Millbank London, SW1P 4RG
Category: Art Galleries
BP British Art Displays: A Walk Through British Art
OngoingFree Event

14th May 2013 to 31st December 2016 - 10am-6pm | Free

 
BP British Art Displays: A Walk Through British Art Tate Britain 2013-05-142016-12-31 Where:
Tate Britain, Millbank London, SW1P 4RG
Category: Art Galleries
David Tremlett: Drawing For Free Thinking
OngoingFree Event

19th September 2012 to 31st December 2016 - Various Times | Free

 
David Tremlett: Drawing For Free Thinking Tate Britain 2012-09-192016-12-31 Where:
Tate Britain, Millbank London, SW1P 4RG
Category: Art Galleries
All events at Tate Britain
 
 
 

Tate Modern

Europe's most popular art gallery is free to visit

Bankside Power Station, 25 Sumner Street, Bankside, London, SE1 9TG

Tube: Blackfriars Underground Station

 
 

Housed in the former Bankside Power Station, Tate Modern pays homage to art from 1900 to the present day. Located along the banks of the River Thames, the gallery opened to great acclaim in 2000 and has since welcomed millions of visitors through its imposing doors. If you are visiting for the first time, you should approach from Blackfriars station, crossing Norman Foster's 'Blade of Light' footbridge walking towards this spectacular modernist masterpiece with the dome of St Paul's Cathedral behind you. The awesome Turbine Hall creates a stunning entrance and a vast space, used to display temporary installations on a grand scale. There are three levels of galleries enclosed by a spectacular two-storey glass roof that provides fantastic views of London and a great cafe. Full of the jokey eccentricities of contemporary art, it's one of the few art galleries that children and teenagers will enjoy, but it also offers the full set of iconic twentieth century artists, from Matisse to Moore, Dali to Picasso. Justifiably the most popular art gallery in Europe.

 
 

Events at Tate Modern

Summer Families Gallery Material World
Now OnFree Event

28th July to 4th September 2016 - 10am-6pm | Free

 
Summer Families Gallery Material World Tate Modern 2016-07-282016-09-04 Where:
Tate Modern, Bankside Power Station, 25 Sumner Street London, SE1 9TG
Category: Art Galleries

An opportunity to handle art materials as an artist would.

Georgia O'Keeffe Ongoing Editor's Top Pick - Recommended

6th July to 30th October 2016 | Adult £19, concession £17, under 12 Free

 
Georgia O'Keeffe Tate Modern 2016-07-062016-10-30 Where:
Tate Modern, Bankside Power Station, 25 Sumner Street London, SE1 9TG
Category: Art Galleries
Artist Rooms: Phyllida Barlow OngoingFree Event Editor's Top Pick - Recommended

11th January to 31st December 2016 | Free

 
Artist Rooms: Phyllida Barlow Tate Modern 2016-01-112016-12-31 Where:
Tate Modern, Bankside Power Station, 25 Sumner Street London, SE1 9TG
Category: Art Galleries
Artist Rooms: Louise Bourgeois OngoingFree Event Editor's Top Pick - Recommended

17th June 2016 to 17th June 2017 | Free

 
Artist Rooms: Louise Bourgeois Tate Modern 2016-06-172017-06-17 Where:
Tate Modern, Bankside Power Station, 25 Sumner Street London, SE1 9TG
Category: Art Galleries
Elegies
OngoingFree Event

28th May 2014 to 31st December 2016 - Various Times | Free

 
Elegies Tate Modern 2014-05-282016-12-31 Where:
Tate Modern, Bankside Power Station, 25 Sumner Street London, SE1 9TG
Category: Art Galleries
Niki De Saint Phalle And Richard Serra
OngoingFree Event

28th May 2014 to 31st December 2016 - Various Times | Free

 
Niki De Saint Phalle And Richard Serra Tate Modern 2014-05-282016-12-31 Where:
Tate Modern, Bankside Power Station, 25 Sumner Street London, SE1 9TG
Category: Art Galleries
Surrealism And Beyond
OngoingFree Event

28th May 2014 to 31st December 2016 - Various Times | Free

 
Surrealism And Beyond Tate Modern 2014-05-282016-12-31 Where:
Tate Modern, Bankside Power Station, 25 Sumner Street London, SE1 9TG
Category: Art Galleries
All events at Tate Modern
 
 
 

Wallace Collection

Art classes, workshops, talks and tours all on offer for free

Hertford House, Manchester Square, Marylebone, London, W1U 3BN

Tube: Bond Street Station

 
 

Free art classes and workshops, talks and tours, bring alive to visitors the varied works of art on display in Hertford House - the original family home of The Marquesses of Hertford and Sir Richard Wallace. European paintings, miniatures and sculpture, French 18th-century furniture, Sevres and Meissen porcelain, goldsmiths' work and Oriental and European arms and armour combine to form one of the finest collections of art amassed by one family. Sir Richard Wallace - the illegitimate son of the 4th Marquess of Hertford - built up the original collection left to him by his father. Several Old Master paintings, notably 'The Laughing Cavalier', works by Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Reynolds, Rubens, Gainsborough, Titian and Romney make this gallery a worthy rival of others in the city. Renovations to the town house, which uniquely occupies the whole side of a garden square, include a glass-roofed courtyard - home to Oliver Peyton's brasserie - four new galleries and educational facilities. The acquisitions, bequeathed to the nation by Wallace's widow in 1897, are all free to view. There are regular tours during the week and weekend tours take place on Saturdays at 11.30am and Sundays at 3pm.

 
 

Events at Wallace Collection

Sensation! Still Life
Free Event

Wednesday 31st August 2016 - 1pm-4pm | Free

 
Sensation! Still Life Wallace Collection 2016-08-312016-08-31 Where:
Wallace Collection, Hertford House, Manchester Square London, W1U 3BN
Category: Art Galleries

A talk for blind and partially sighted visitors.

The Little Draw
On SoonFree Event

4th September, 2nd October and 6th November 2016 - 1.30pm-4.30pm | Free

 
The Little Draw Wallace Collection 2016-01-032016-12-03 Where:
Wallace Collection, Hertford House, Manchester Square London, W1U 3BN
Category: Art Galleries
The Middle - Tom Ellis at the Wallace Collection On SoonFree Event Editor's Top Pick - Recommended

15th September to 27th November 2016 | Free

 
The Middle - Tom Ellis at the Wallace Collection Wallace Collection 2016-09-152016-11-27 Where:
Wallace Collection, Hertford House, Manchester Square London, W1U 3BN
Category: Art Galleries
All events at Wallace Collection
 
 
 

The Wapping Project

Power station turned exhibition space is one of London's most unique art experiences

Wapping Hydraulic Power Station, Wapping Wall, Tower Hamlets, London, E1W 3ST

Tube: Rotherhithe Overground Station

 
 

Built in 1890 and originally used to power machinery using steam and later electricity, this unique space is now a thriving centre for the arts. After its closure as a pumping station in 1977, it emerged as a multi-purpose exhibition and performance space. What makes this east London venue so interesting is that, as well as featuring newly commissioned, ever-changing works by visual artists, choreographers, composers, writers, poets, designers and film makers, it still boasts much of the original hydraulic equipment and machinery. The Wapping Project - unlike the Tate Modern which removed all of its turbines - has made a feature of its inheritance. Bathed in atmospheric pools of natural light, pressure pipes, rusty chains, huge hooks, valves and bare brick walls form the backdrop for changing exhibitions of paintings, photographs and performances. The original square boiler house, with its cracked, crumbling walls makes a refreshingly real gallery space. A restaurant and bar are also open in the Engine and Turbine Houses, while the historic pub The Prospect of Whitby can be found on the other side of the road.

 
 
 

White Cube Hoxton Square

Free-to-view, cutting edge art in hipster East London

48 Hoxton Square, Hoxton, London, N1 6PB

Tube: Old Street Station

 
 

A leading part of the ferociously fashionable East London art scene, the first of White Cube's two galleries is invariably filled with some of the world's most cutting-edge art. Owner Jay Jopling is as A-list as the artists he collects. Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Antony Gormley, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Gilbert & George and his former wife Sam Taylor-Wood are all represented and their works shown at the two galleries and beyond. Together with the second gallery (at Mason's Yard, Piccadilly), White Cube has over 1,000 square metres of exhibition space. Head down to either gallery for the opening nights of new shows to enjoy free beer with the cream of London's starving young artists. 

 
 
 

Whitechapel Gallery

Britain's first purpose-built arts gallery

77-82 Whitechapel High Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E1 7QX

Tube: Aldgate East Station, Aldgate East Underground Station, Aldgate Station

 
 

Designed in a distinctive Arts and Crafts architecture style by Charles Harrison Townsend, the Whitechapel, Britain's first purpose-built arts gallery, is renowned both for the beauty of its light, airy space and for embracing the local community in its work. Founded in 1901, extensive refurbishment saw the gallery double in size when it reopened in April 2009. The gallery does not have a permanent collection, preferring instead to host a constantly evolving programme of works and there is always something free to see. Community projects and retrospective exhibitions now rest alongside landmark examples of contemporary work. The Pop Art 'This is Tomorrow' exhibition of 1956 is often hailed as the gallery's most iconic event, although there are a number of other exhibitions worthy of note. Picasso's 'Guernica' was displayed here in 1938, Jackson Pollock had work exhibited at the gallery in the 1950s, David Hockney's first show was held here in 1970 and Lucian Freud had a major exhibition in 1993. With its pillared supports and high ceilings, The Lower Gallery, in particular, is a fantastic exhibition space.

 
 
 
 
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