If you want to dive deep into the local London art scene you have found the right place. Galleries, museums, supplies, schools, shows, events and more will all be covered thoroughly right here.
We will start with the best London Art Galleries and Museums where you can see some of the city’s most impressive exhibitions and collections. Up next you will read about where you can get all of the materials and supplies you’ll need at some of the greatest art stores in your area.
Following that we will get into shows, festivals, and events that happen throughout the year. Art walking tours present a terrific opportunity to explore a range of styles in a short amount of time, and we’ll also point you in the direction of the city’s best sculptures and statues.
Local art classes and lessons will require their own section and there are numerous classes for both children and adults available. Some of our more seasoned readers may not want any lessons so we will also advise you where to discover art studios for rent in your area.
Our final section will include a list of the best custom framing shops near you. Towards the end there will be a local map with all of these spots pinned on it, and if you are curious check out our other posts on this country right there.
Best Art Galleries & Museums In London
The best London art galleries and museums are also some of the best in the world and we suggest you start with:
- Victoria and Albert Museum at Cromwell Rd
- Tate Modern at Bankside
- National Gallery at Trafalgar Sq
- Royal Academy of Arts at Burlington House
- Tate Britain at Millbank
- National Portrait Gallery at St Martin’s Pl
- Barbican Art Gallery at Barbican Centre Silk St
- The Design Museum at 224-238 Kensington High St
- Sir John Soane’s Museum at 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields
- Hayward Gallery at Southbank Centre Belvedere Rd
- Dulwich Picture Gallery at Gallery Rd
- The Saatchi Gallery at Duke of York’s HQ King’s Rd
- Whitechapel Art Gallery at 77-82 Whitechapel High St
- South London Gallery at 65-67 Peckham Rd
- White Cube Bermondsey at 144–152 Bermondsey St
The Victoria and Albert Museum has a permanent collection of about 2.3 million objects dating back over 5,000 years and holds the world’s largest collection of Beatrix Potter works. They offer free admission and programs like art lessons, seminars, talks, and monthly free events.
Tate Modern is one of the world’s largest museums of modern and contemporary art. There is no entrance fee to view the collection displays and the museum exhibits almost 70,000 artworks by prominent artists such as Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Claude Monet, Paul Klee, and others.
The National Gallery was founded in 1824 and houses a collection of over 2,300 artworks ranging from the mid-13th century to 1900. Highlights from the collection include Jan van Eyck’s “The Arnolfini Portrait,” Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Virgin of the Rocks,” Sandro Botticelli’s “Venus and Mars,” and Hans Holbein the Younger’s “The Ambassadors.” Each August they have a major event called the Inside Out Festival which is a month of free pop-up exhibitions, interactive activities, and giant replica paintings. They also provide a broad range of programs including art classes, workshops, talks, live music, and performance and you can always get in for free.
The Royal Academy of Arts is host to the annual Summer Exhibition which is the world’s largest open-submission art exhibition. They offer free admission and conduct exhibitions and events all year and even have a contemporary fine art school in your area. They also host major exhibitions by internationally recognized creators Tacita Dean and Renzo Piano. There are around 935 paintings, 350 sculptures, 700 plaster casts, 25,000 prints and sketches, and 5,000 vintage pictures in the museum’s collection.
Tate Britain is open to the public for free with the exception of some exhibitions which require a fee. They have the world’s largest free display of J.M.W. Turner paintings and Mark Rothko’s Seagram murals. You will also find pieces in their highlights collection by John Singer Sargent, Francis Bacon, Henry Fuseli, and Richard Dadd.
National Portrait Gallery holds one of the most extensive collection of portraits in the world with over 215,000 works. The Sir John Soane’s Museum is free to enter and houses Sir John Soanes’ collection of antiquities, furniture, sculptures, architectural models, paintings including works by Hogarth, Turner and Canaletto, and over 30,000 architectural drawings.
The Hayward Gallery features a varied range of art forms and topics with a combination of free and paid activities and events. They also provide local art classes and workshops for people of all ages.
Dulwich Picture Gallery houses an impressive collection of Old Masters paintings by Rembrandt, Poussin, Rubens, and Canaletto.
Materials & Supplies Near You
There are quite a few stores in this city to buy art supplies and materials like:
- Cass Art at 24 Berwick St
- Jackson’s Art Supplies at 1 Farleigh Pl
- Green and Stone at 251-253 Fulham Rd
- Cowling & Wilcox at 112 Shoreditch High St
- London Graphic Centre at 16-18 Shelton St
- Great Art London at 41-49 Kingsland Rd
- Ap Fitzpatrick at 142 Cambridge Heath Rd
- London Art Shop at 132 Finchley Rd
- L Cornelissen & Son at 105 Great Russell St
- Southbank Art Co at 21 London Rd
Cass Art offers over 10,000 product lines from the world’s leading vendors including names like Winsor & Newton, Faber Castell, and Fabriano. Jackson’s Art Supplies specializes in custom orders for the art materials you require for your practice.
In addition to being a great shop to buy art materials near you London Graphic Center provides printing services. Great Art London sells supplies for all techniques including conventional fine arts, painting, drawing, sculpting and graphics, drawing and model making. They also supply all the needed materials for your own customized canvasses, framing, and installation.
Ap Fitzpatrick provides a bespoke service that includes everything from making stretchers with particular surfaces to bespoke copper panels and offering technical consultations on mural commissions and varnishing, restretching, and repairing canvases. Southbank Art Co also offers custom framing.
Shows, Festivals & Events
Some of the best shows and events held here are:
- London Art Fair in January
- Mayfair Art Weekend in June
- Inside Out Festival in August
- Frieze London in October
The London Art Fair is an annual event held each January at the Business Design Centre in Islington. Presented by over 120 galleries and private collectors expected to find lectures, curated sections, and more.
Mayfair Art Weekend is an annual celebration of the world’s internationally renowned gallery district held in June. The event collaborates with a number of local art galleries to provide a comprehensive program of free exhibitions, events, performances and talks.
Inside Out is a free festival that brings art, entertainment, and culture to the streets. Featuring a pop-up exhibition of National Gallery masterpieces in Trafalgar Square during August.
Frieze London is an international contemporary art fair in your area at Regent’s Park every October. The festival features over 170 contemporary art galleries as well as specially commissioned projects, talks, programs, and an artist-led education program.
Art Dealers & Appraisers
You might be able to add new works to your collection or find out the true value of something when you visit art dealers and appraisers near you like:
- Mark Mitchell Paintings & Drawings at 17 Avery Row Brook St
- Aleph Contemporary at 5F 169 Piccadilly
- Whitford Fine Art at 55 Cadogan Sq
- Julian Simon Fine Art at 13 Georgian House Bury St
- Simon C Dickinson at 58 Jermyn St
- Haynes Fine Art at 70 Pimlico Rd
Aleph Contemporary provides collectors with a tailored service based on their preferences, budget, and goals. Curatorial advice is available for presentation, conservation, restoration, framing, mounting, transit, storage, and insurance. They can function as agents in the acquisition and sale of art, both privately and at auction, and can provide independent assessment and valuation as necessary.
Julian Simon Fine Art specializes in English and Continental paintings from the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries. Simon C Dickinson offers a discreet alternative to buying and selling at auction while negotiating purchases and sales on a commission basis. They also provide services in buying, selling, collection management, and appraisals.
Haynes Fine Art is the largest provincial fine art dealer in the UK of quality 19th to 21st century paintings outside of London. They provide a wide range of services including art conservation and restoration, consultancy, appraisal, probate, and full-service framing.
Take a local art walking tour to see a lot of unique things in a couple of hours:
- Urban Street Art Tours at 160 Brick Ln
- Camden Street Art at Hawley Mews Camden Town
- Alternative London Street Art Walking Tour at 19 Hessel St
Urban Street Art Tours will introduce you to the world of street art near you in the East End. Camden Street Art Tours will take you to a side of Camden you never knew existed with 2 hour walking tours led by experts who will guide you through over 100 pieces of street art and graffiti and explain you about the incredible people who made them.
Alternative London Street Art Walking Tour will take you into the vibrant East End to discover the capital’s culture, creativity, and community. They provide a wide range of interactive tours as well as unrivaled graffiti and street art workshops.
Sculptures & Statues
Some of the statues and sculptures in your area are incredible:
- World Cup Sculpture at Green St
- Henry Bartle Frere Statue at 140 Victoria Embankment
- Pan Statue at S Carriage Dr
- Newton after Blake at 96 Euston Rd
- The Burghers of Calais at Abingdon St
The World Cup Sculpture is a bronze statue of the 1966 World Cup Final placed near the former Boleyn Ground, home of West Ham United Football Club. It was unveiled in 2003 and was sculpted by Royal Sculptor Philip Jackson.
The Henry Bartle Frere Statue was sculpted by Thomas Brock in 1887 and was unveiled on June 5, 1888. The Pan Statue, also known as the Rush of Green, was created by Sir Jacob Epstein in 1961 and is located near Edinburgh Gate on the south side of Hyde Park.
Newton after Blake by Eduardo Paolozzi can be found on a high plinth in the piazza outside the British Library. The Burghers of Calais is a sculpture by Auguste Rodin who created his original sculpture in 1889 to stand outside the town hall in Calais, and he later made four casts.
It was purchased by the National Art Collection Fund in 1911 and installed at Victoria Tower Gardens.
London Art Classes
Some of the best art schools and classes near you for kids or adults can be found at:
- Lavender Leonardos at 99-109 Lavender Hill
- University of the Arts London at 272 High Holborn
- Art Academy London at 165A Borough High St
- Sunny Art Centre at 30 Grays Inn Rd
- Nelson Ferreira Art classes at 566 Chiswick High Rd
- Royal Drawing School at 19-22 Charlotte Rd
Lavender Leonardos provides art classes for children and adults of all skill levels. They provide group or private classes on a weekly term time or on a flexible schedule as well as holiday and seasonal classes.
The University of the Arts has been ranked second in the world for Art & Design Universities and provides a wide range of courses in art, design, fashion, communication, and performing arts. They also have open day programs for anyone who is interested in studying at UAL.
Art Academy offers courses in your area for students of all skill levels and needs including a BA or foundation degree, evening sessions, weekend classes, and short courses. Sunny Art Centre provides a variety of art and design courses for adults as well as options for kids and teens, including private classes, short courses, and live drawing classes. They also offer art workshops and courses for businesses and corporations every day including Saturdays and Sundays.
The Royal Drawing School offers daytime and evening classes for adults and children of all ages and abilities. Along with their public workshops they provide a postgraduate-level drawing program, fully-funded international artists’ residencies, and a young artists program for 10 – 18-year-olds with an aptitude for drawing. Private lessons are also available.
The Victoria and Albert Museum, The Royal Academy of Arts and The Hayward Gallery from main list above also offer local art classes.
Studios For Rent Near You
Those of you who are ready to start a big project can try to rent art studio space at:
- Space at 129, 131 Mare St
- Make Space Studios at 213 Newnham Terrace
- Bow Arts Studio at 183 Bow Rd
- Acme at 44 Copperfield Rd
- Clockwork Studios at 38B Southwell Rd
- Wimbledon Art Studios at 10 Riverside Rd
- Delta House Studios at Riverside Rd
A frame can take a normal looking picture a long way, and some of the best places for custom picture and art framing in London are:
- Canford & Co at 307 Lillie Rd
- Soho Frames and Print at 8 Silver Pl
- The London Framing Studio Ltd at 113 Lavender Hill
- Well Hung at 239 Hoxton St
- Newframes at 25 Beak St
- J White Framing at 491 Latimer Rd
Canford & Co provides frames in a wide range of colors, finishes, widths, and patterns. They also have a selection of vintage and antique china and glass and can apply a variety of decorative techniques to make your art appear its best.
Soho Frames and Print offers same-day and emergency picture framing as well as quick turnaround on printing and frame services. The London Framing Studio offers canvas stretching, conservation framing, delivery and collecting, mount cutting, and reglazing.
Newframes carries a broad choice of moulding for over 1,000 variations. Other places that we have mentioned throughout this post that do quality custom picture and art framing in your area include Southbank Art Co and Haynes Fine Art.
You might also want to check out our posts on:
- The Best Museums, Appraisers & Schools in Birmingham
- The Best Museums, Appraisers & Schools in Manchester
- The Best Museums, Appraisers & Schools in Dublin
- The Best Museums, Appraisers & Schools in Paris
Have Fun Enjoying The London Art Scene
Well guys, we tried to cover the full art scene near you to the best of our abilities. We listed the best local galleries, museums, events, shows, supply stores, dealers, appraisers, walking tours, sculptures, classes, studios, and framers in your area.
If you made it all the way to the end then you probably love art as much as us. It would be awesome if you would let us know about any of your own tips and tricks in the comments at the end of the post, and don’t be shy to mention if we got anything wrong or if anything we posted has become dated.
Have fun going to the galleries, museums, buying supplies or doing anything that has to do with art in London!