For over 250 years, the Royal Academy of Arts has championed Britain’s visual art scene. The Mayfair mansion is home to a world-renowned permanent collection, and features works by artists such as Constable, Turner, and Emin. Its annual exhibitions also draw critical acclaim, showcasing contemporary art from around the world.
Combine a quick visit to the Royal Academy of Arts with exploration of other central landmarks on a city tour, or take advantage of free tours offered by the academy for deeper insight. True art appreciators can dedicate a good few hours to perusing the free-to-enter main collection, or even treat themselves to exhibition access. Keen-eyed visitors may recognize the Burlington House premises from the Sherlock Holmes movies, and can learn more on a tour of filming locations.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Royal Academy of Arts collection is a must-see for arts enthusiasts.
- Access to the main collection is free, but exhibitions incur a charge.
- Book ahead to secure entry to specific exhibitions.
- The Royal Academy of Arts is fully accessible, and offers an inclusive program for disabled guests.
How to Get There
Burlington House and Gardens lie equidistant between Piccadilly Circus, Green Park, Oxford Circus, and Bond Street. Several local buses serve nearby Regent Street, and the Royal Academy of Arts has its own stop on Old Bond Street. Hop-on hop-off services also stop closeby.
When to Get There
The Royal Academy of Arts is open every day except Christmas and the New Year holidays, and closes late every Friday. Begin the weekend with an evening of dinner and drinks in the historic premises, or avoid the crowds by arriving early on a weekday.
London’s Art Scene
You can’t wander far in the capital without stumbling across a dedicated arts space. In addition to iconic venues such as the Royal Academy of Arts, Tate, and National Gallery, London is home to many alternative spaces that provide insight into the city’s diverse culture. Head into the suburbs to discover highlights such as Peckham’s Bold Tendencies, Hackney’s Guest Projects, or Bethnal Green’s Resistance Gallery.