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London's galleries range from specialising in the traditional to the very modern. Works of art by celebrated British painters as well as many well known foreign artists live in London's many galleries. We sometimes visit galleries as part of our social programme, so if you would like to go as a group check the programme when you are at the school. If you are looking for something in particular but are not sure where to go, please just ask in Reception and we will do our best to help.
The National Gallery
Occupying an excellent location overlooking Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery houses a superb collection of over 2,000 paintings. The Gallery was originally established by parliament in 1824 to allow the public the opportunity to study and enjoy the impressive collection of art. Since the nineteenth-century the collection has increased dramatically and now includes some of the finest examples of Western European art from 1260-1900. Works on display include those of Botticelli, Monet, Constable, Van Gogh and Rembrandt. Holbein's The Ambassadors, The Hay Wain by Constable and Jan Van Eyck's Arnolfini Marriage are just some of the major attractions of the National Gallery. Admission is free. The Gallery also has a good shop and a restaurant called Crivelli's Garden.
Tube: Westminster, Embankment, Piccadilly, Leicester Square, Charing Cross. Buses: Routes 3, 6, 9, 12, 13, 15, 23, 29, 87, 88, 91, 139, 159, 176 and 453 all stop nearby.
Click here to visit the National Gallery website.
The Courtauld Gallery is, compared to some of London's other galleries, a small collection of paintings, drawings, decorative arts, sculpture and more. It is part of the Courtauld Institute of Art which is one of the world's leading centres of art history. Situated in Somerset House, an 18th century palace on the banks of the Thames, the Courtauld Gallery is most famous for it's collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings. We would recommend this gallery if you prefer a smaller, more personal gallery without compromising on the quality of the collection.
Tube: Temple, Charing Cross, Embankment, Covent Garden. Buses: Routes 6, 9, 11, 13, 15, 23, 77a, 91, 176 and 388 all stop nearby.
Click here to visit the Courtauld Gallery website.
Overlooking the River Thames, Tate Britain was originally founded by the sugar magnate Sir Henry Tate. The Tate group now includes three other galleries around the UK (including the Tate Modern in London). Dedicated to exhibiting Britain's artistic talent, Tate Britain is home to one of the greatest collections 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.
Tube: Pimlico, Vauxhall, Westminster. Buses: Routes 2, 3, C10, 36, 87 (formerly 77A), 88, 159, 185, 436 and 507 all stop nearby.
Click here to visit the Tate Britain website.
National Portrait Gallery
Where else in London could you hope to find The Beatles, Henry VIII, Fatboy Slim and Joan Collins all hanging out together? The National Portrait Gallery was founded in 1856 by the historian Philip Stanhope, who campaigned for 'a gallery of original portraits that commemorated British history'. The primary collection now consists of 10,000 portraits, and over 250,000 archived images, of everyone from statesmen to showbiz stars and people from the media. The collection represents Britain from the late fourteenth-century to the present day and is arranged thematically to include the Tudors, politicians and pop stars, Victorian statesmen and the Civil War. The Ondaajte Wing features the only surviving portrait of Shakespeare taken from life and the famous Hans Holbein cartoon of Henry VIII. The Portrait Restaurant has good views of London.
Tube: Leicester Square, Charing Cross. Buses: 3, 6, 9, 12, 13, 15, 23, 29, 87, 88, 91, 139, 159, 176 and 453 all stop nearby.
Click here to visit the National Portrait Gallery website.
Located along the banks of the River Thames, Tate Modern opened as part of the millennium celebrations in 2000. Housed in the former Bankside Power Station, the gallery focuses on modern and contemporary art from 1900 to the present day. The collection includes works from Matisse to Moore, Dali to Picasso and Rothko. The awesome turbine hall creates a stunning entrance and a vast space in which to display temporary installations. There are three levels of galleries, enclosed by a spectacular two storey glass roof that provides fantastic views of London and a great café.
Tube: Southwark, Mansion House, St Paul's. Buses: Routes RV1, 45, 63, 100, 344 and 388 all stop nearby.
Click here to visit the Tate Modern website.
Yet another addition to the impressive line up of galleries and exhibition spaces situated along the Thames, the Gilbert Collection lives at Somerset House. Given to the nation by Sir Arthur Gilbert, this unusual and unique collection of gold and silver decorative arts is worth a visit. Set within 25,000 square feet of a vaulted architecture visitors will discover European gold and silver snuffboxes, Italian mosaics and portrait miniatures.
Tube: Temple, Covent Garden, Charing Cross and Embankment. Buses: Routes 6, 9, 11, 13, 15, 23, 77a, 91 and 176 all stop nearby.
Click here to visit the Gilbert Collection website.
Just a few minutes walk from Oxford Street is the Wallace Collection, one of the most outstanding private collections in the country. The Wallace family were colourful and cosmopolitan and had close, sometimes scandalous, connections with the English Royal and French Imperial families. It is housed in the beautifully restored Hertford House and contains some 18th century French paintings and Old Masters by Rembrandt, Titian, and Poussin.
Tube: Bond Street, Baker Street, Oxford Circus. Buses: Routes 2, 10, 12, 13, 30, 74, 82, 94, 113, 137 and 274 all stop nearby.
Click here to visit the Wallace Collection website.