There are several free activities to check it out on London, related to art+culture particularly, free exhibitions, free museums, free galleries, there are many to visit. I only dedicated a one day of my trip to the arts and one day was more than enough time to fully checkout these 3 places which in my opinion where the best but it will all depend on your preferences of course.
1. The British Museum >>
The British Museum is located just a bit north of Soho area, I highly recommend making the time to walk around the area, restaurants, bars, boutiques, small galleries and you can also check out chinatown. The British Museum building itself is worth the trip but I highly recommend going in, its free, so why not check it out. It’s a huge museum and mostly collections of ancient world art and artifacts, interestingly curated to take you through time around the different civilizations that highly impacted our present time.
I do recommend checking available seasonal exhibitions ahead of time, these do require an entrance fee but many times are sold out so if you are going make sure to check that out.
Entrance : 0$
Open daily from 10:00AM-5:30 PM
Fridays from 10:00AM-8:30 PM
To get there take the tube and exit on Totengham Court Rd.
2. Tate Modern >>
My favorite museum of all times after Pompidou in Paris. Maybe I am biased because I personally love many of the artists whose work is housed here and I am into cubism and surrealism but even if you don’t enjoy it as much as I do, it is definitely a must. Tate Modern has a collection of modern and contemporary international art from the 1500’s up until now, artist like Picasso, Ernst, Braque, Dali, Degas and current artists as well. It’s four floors of direct mediums, paper, canvas, sculpture, wood, textiles, everything modern. And on the third floor there is a small coffee bar which has a huge balcony that overlooks St Pauls Church and millennium bridge. Make sure to check it out.
How to get there: Take the tube to Southwark station
3. The British Library >>
I know you’re probably out on vacation, or backpacking or whatever and the last thing you want to do is spend time locked up in the library reading but I do recommend taking at least half an hour of your time to checking it out. I kind of stumbled upon it, it wasn’t really in my plans, but I remembered seeing a picture on pinterest at some point and I couldn’t remember what it was I just remember I liked it and said I would visit someday. That day was today and OMG I am so glad I did. The British Library on the outside is nothing spectacular except for its size but the inside houses the King’s Collection of books in a four leveled glass container. You don’t have access to these books of course but the tower is the library’s main focus, built around it pretty much. You can then check out the different classifications on the back of the building and walk around the library but you also don’t have access to many rooms, to be honest I just walked around a bit and had some coffee at the lower plaza which wraps around the glass tower. Quick stop but totally worth it.
How to get there: Take the tube to Kings Cross Station.
TIPS>> If you are here already, check out Platform 9 3/4 (Harry Potter shop) In Kings Cross Station.
4. University of the Arts -Chelsea >>
UAL is one of the most prestigious designs schools around the world and being the huge art and design freak I just had to come. I actually wanted to study here at some point so I figured I’d visit. The building itself is very interesting let alone the interiors and their local artists showcases and exhibits. The school at Chelsea campus also has a permanent light art installation on the exterior, so if you can I recommend checking it out at nighttime, it’s right next to Tate Britain so you can walk out there after your tour.
5. Saatchi Gallery >>
Located in central london as well, Chelsea area, Saatchi Gallery houses art from local unseen and young artists as well as international art that has not made out to the UK. This gallery has been a link and a way for these younger artists to get out to the world and showcase their work from here to other parts of the UK and eventually the world. Make sure to check out and support local art with a donation!
Monday-Sunday 10:00 AM- 6:00PM
How to get there: Take the tube to Sloan Square Station