England Museums and Galleries
20 Bourdon St., Mayfair
London is so packed with incredible galleries and cultural institutions that it’s daunting to know even where to begin. Which is why we’d point you here. Lynsey Ingram’s tiny gallery is almost hidden down Bourdon Street, but once you find it, you’ll discover an exciting collection of post-war prints from artists like Francis Bacon, Will Cotton, and Peter Doig. Ingram worked for Sotheby’s for years before going it alone, and her knowledge and eye is evident here. And aside from the art, it’s stocked with catalogues and comfy chairs, and Ingram herself is usually on hand for any questions about the works you find most interesting.
The Sir John Soane Museum
13 Lincoln's Inn Fields, City of London
One of the most wonderful house museums in London, this 19th-century home, designed by the famous architect himself, is exactly as he left it 180 years ago. In his life, he was a well-traveled collector, which is reflected in the way he liked to cram his collections of Etruscan figurines and 16th-century Roman plaster casts on every available surface. In short, it's a multi-story cabinet of curiosities, packed with history and inspiration.
The Store at 180 The Strand
180 The Strand, Westminster
Hidden in this iconic Brutalist building is a hub of creativity curated by the current doyenne of cool, shop owner Alex Eagle. Many fashion companies are set to move in here (including the British Fashion Council), though Eagle is still free to host and create just about anything she desires—currently it's The Infinite Mix a powerful show of video installations put on by the Hayward Gallery. Stay tuned for everything from fashion presentations, to pop-ups, concerts and more. At the heart of this creative hub is a leafy café with incredible views of the Thames, where London's creatives convene.
Timothy Taylor Gallery
15 Carlos Pl., Mayfair
Step through the door of this beautiful Mayfair building and into a super sleek space for some great modern and contemporary art. There are some big names here, including Andy Warhol.
The Wallace Collection
Hertford House, Manchester Square, Marylebone
A family of great art collectors—the Marquesses of Hertford and Sir Richard Wallace—accumulated art by some of the world's most renowned artists of the 14th to the 19th centuries. Work by Titian, Rembrandt, Rubens, Fragonard, and Watteau is all displayed in their former home. Major pluses: Admission is free and the cafe is stunning.
20 Bedford Sq., Fitzrovia
Owned by famed fashion photographer, Nick Knight, this gallery-film studio-shop has a conceptual take on fashion. While the studio's bread and butter is cutting-edge fashion video, it's also something of a clubhouse for London's fashion intelligentsia, where designers like Gareth Pugh, Mary Katrantzou, and Giles Deacon show their work first. During LFW, it's also a major hub, hosting talks, parties, etc.
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
21 New Globe Walk, Southwark
The reconstruction of the original Shakespeare theater is one of the Bankside's most beautiful and character-laden structures. Much of the theater is standing only, which just adds to the authenticity. In addition to shows, tours of the building and exhibitions on Elizabethan theatre and Shakespearean London are on offer.
Kensington Gardens, Kensington
The Serpentine Galleries are a must-see for contemporary art lovers. Located in a former teahouse, the original Serpentine Gallery continues to champion cutting-edge modern art, and if you walk across Serpentine Lake, the collection extends to the new Sackler Gallery, which was designed by Pritzker Prize–winning architect Zaha Hadid. Take the time to explore the grounds, including the Gallery’s Pavilion, which provides a site for architectural experimentation with temporary structures that is always worth checking out.
Museum of London
150 London Wall, City of London
Along with their extensive, eclectic collection, and ever-changing exhibits, the museum runs free kids activities every Sunday during term-time and every day during the school holidays.
Dulwich Picture Gallery
Gallery Rd., South London
Situated in a particularly green neighborhood in South London, the Dulwich Picture Gallery is the first of its kind in England, and houses a stellar collection of masters' work from Rubens to Poussin, along with an always-exciting rotation of contemporary and classic exhibitions.
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