Art Lovers from around the world travel to London specifically to see some of the most extensive, famous, and fabulous collections of art to be found anywhere in the globe. What makes London’s galleries even more impressive is that the majority of them are entirely free to visit! So for art lovers or those just wishing to while away a quiet afternoon in a quiet gallery (even just to get out of the rain!), here is our list of the best free galleries in London.
The National Gallery – Displaying over 2,000 works of art from the middle ages through to today, the National Gallery holds pieces created by some of the most famous artists of all time including Van Gogh, Turner and Renoir.
Opening Hours: Daily 10:00 – 18:00 (Fridays until 21:00)
Nearest Underground Station: Charing Cross, Leicester Square
The National Portrait Gallery –Displaying the world’s largest collection of portraits, the National Gallery holds pieces from the Middle Ages through to the modern day. For lovers of Kings and Queens, the Portrait Gallery has them all available for view along with official portraits of notable names and faces from through the centuries representing various areas of life and work such as politics, science, literature, royalty, and celebrity.
Opening Hours: Daily 10:00 – 18:00 (Thursday and Friday until 21:00)
Nearest Underground Stations: Charing Cross, Leicester Square
The Serpentine Gallery – A contemporary art gallery set into the heart of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. Modern art is displayed here alongside contemporary with pieces on show from names such as Andy Warhol. The gallery is constantly changing and ever evolving and many works of art are often installed outside the gallery into the parkland.
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 10:00 – 18:00
Nearest Underground Stations: Lancaster Gate, South Kensington, Knightsbridge
The Tate Britain – Holding the largest collection of British art to be found anywhere in the world, the pieces here date back to the year 1500. Artists who are represented here include Whistler and Hogarth as well as modern pieces by Frances Bacon and Damien Hirst. For Turner Lovers, the Tate Britain holds the largest collection of JMW Turner in the world.
Opening Hours: Saturday to Thursday 10:00 – 18:00 (Fridays until 22:00)
Nearest Underground Stations: Pimlico, Vauxhall
The Tate Modern – The world’s largest and most visited modern art gallery. The Tate Modern holds modern and contemporary art from around the world and boasts pieces by some of the most famous artists of all time including Picasso, Dali, Warhol, Pollock, Matisse and Bonnard, just to name a few!
Opening Hours: Sunday to Thursday 10:00 – 18:00 and Friday to Saturday 10:00 – 22:00
Nearest Underground Stations: Southwark, Blackfriars
The Wellcome Collection – Described by the venue itself as a place for the “incurably curious” to “consider what it means to be a human” the Wellcome Collection holds a mix of galleries, events and reading rooms filled to the brim with medical artefacts and artworks that explore connections between medicine, life and art.
Opening Times: Monday – Saturday 10:00 – 18:00 Sunday 11:00 – 18:00
Nearest Underground Stations: Euston, Euston Square, Russell Square
The Wallace Collection – A national museum housed in a beautiful Georgian London town house. The collection comprises of art pieces, wall silks, armouries, treasures, furniture, porcelain and paintings including pieces previously owned by both Madame de Pompadour and Queen Marie-Antoinette! Famous works of art on display here include ‘The Laughing Cavalier’ by Hals and ‘The Swing’ by Fragonard.
Opening Hours: Daily 10:00 – 17:00
Nearest Underground Stations: Bond Street, Baker Street
The Guildhall Art Gallery and Roman Amphitheatre – Displaying a collection held by the City of London Corporation, the Guildhall Art Gallery was founded in 1886 and holds works that go back to the 17th century. In addition to the fantastic gallery, visitors can also step into the ruins of London’s Roman Amphitheatre! Uncovered by archaeologists who had been working at the side in the 1980’s (in preparation for building the new Guildhall Art Gallery) this amphitheatre was uncovered and exposed to the public for the first time since its’ original usage nearly 2,000 years ago!
Opening Times: Monday – Saturday 10:00 – 17:00. Sunday 12:00 – 16:00
Nearest Underground Station: Bank, Moorgate
The Whitechapel Art Gallery – Located in the trendy East End (and the starting point of our East End Street Art tour!) the Whitechapel Gallery has stood here for over a century, displaying works by world-famous artists such as Picasso, Frida Kahlo and Jackson Pollock, just to name a few. Galleries, exhibitions, archives and displays are open to the public, bringing contemporary international art to an accessible format for visitors.
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 11:00 – 18:00 (Thursday until 21:00
Nearest Underground Stations: Aldgate, Aldgate East