As well as boasting some of Europe’s most iconic sights, London is home to an established art scene. Whether you’re looking for cutting-edge contemporary art or masterpieces that date back hundreds of years, London has a gallery for you.
For first-time visitors, the National Gallery’s 2,300-strong collection of paintings can often feel overwhelming. As well as allowing you to see the museum’s highlights in limited time, guided tours reveal the history and symbolism of iconic works, such as Paul Cezanne's Bathers (Les Grandes Baigneuses).
Housed in a former power station on the banks of the Thames River, Tate Modern is the front-runner in London’s modern art scene. Alongside permanent exhibits featuring work from Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, the cavernous gallery has a revolving display of temporary exhibits.
The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace
The Queen’s Gallery lets visitors combine British culture with classic art and is best combined with royal London experiences such as the Changing of the Guard ceremony. Open for most of the year, the permanent space showcases temporary exhibits dedicated to former British monarchs.
National Portrait Gallery
Home to portraits of iconic British figures such as William Shakespeare and the Duchess of Cambridge, the National Portrait Gallery houses the largest collection of portraits in the world. The works of artists longlisted for the annual BP Portrait Prize are exhibited for several months of the year.
Street Art in Shoreditch
Due to its cultural diversity and rich creative heritage, London’s East End is a street art hub. The transient nature of urban artwork makes it difficult to locate murals alone; guided tours reveal the best of the area’s street art and provide social context crucial to understanding the public graffiti.