The best free art galleries for students in London
If you are an art student or just an art lover who loves spending their days walking around art galleries, you’ll definitely want to know where the free art galleries and exhibitions are in London.
The capital is famous for its cultural quarters and diverse arts scene, which is incredibly exciting. However, with a student budget, it can be difficult to find something to do that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
London is a vibrant city with plenty for you to explore, but here are the best galleries and exhibitions that you can visit for free:
The V&A | Knightsbridge
The Victoria and Albert Museum is the world’s leading museum of art and design. It houses a permanent collection of 2.3 million objects from a span of over 5,000 years of human creativity. Located in Knightsbridge, London, this famous museum has a variety of collections to view from fashion, fine art, design, architecture, sculpture, to theatre and performance. The entry is free for all ages, giving you no excuse to go and sit in one of the exhibitions to help get your creative juices flowing. This museum is open from 10 am – 5.45 pm every day, except on Fridays when the museum stays open until 10 pm.
The National Gallery | Trafalgar Square
The National Gallery, located in the famous Trafalgar Square, exhibits over 2,000 Western European paintings from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. The pictures in the collection belong to the public so admission is free. There are also free guided tours, audio guides, and family activities for children of all ages making it perfect to learn about some classic artwork. Walk around their architecturally beautiful halls, and get lost in between their stunning pieces of hanging artwork from famous painters like Leonardo Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Turner, Renoir, Van Gogh and Botticelli. You will have to pay to see the major loan exhibitions but general entry into the museum is free. This museum is open from 10 am – 6 pm every day except on Fridays when the museum stays open until 9 pm.
The Saatchi Gallery | Chelsea
Lose yourself for a day in The Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea, London, where you can view a spectacular collection of contemporary art that focuses on young and international artists that wouldn’t have been seen yet in the UK. This gallery is committed to inspiring a passion for contemporary art in all audiences and it also supports innovative art through educational programs, contemporary exhibitions and events. Start your day off there in the Gallery Mess Cafe before you start to walk around their 70,000 sq.ft exhibition space. Entry to this gallery is free to all and open seven days a week, 10 am – 6 pm.
Serpentine Galleries | Kensington Gardens
"I love the idea of circles and curved walls. They can create communities, but not just at the centre of the Pavilion. There can be micro-communities around the centre." Francis Kéré. With these words as inspiration, #BuildYourOwnPavilion is back! The Serpentine is inviting young people aged 8 – 16 across the UK to design public spaces for the cities of the future. What’s missing in your neighbourhood? Design Pavilions with your class, then snap and upload your designs to our website to share. Serpentine Pavilion 2017, designed by Francis Kéré © Kéré Architecture Photography © 2017 Iwan Baan @iwanbaan #SerpentinePavilion
The Serpentine is made up of two exhibition spaces that are located on opposite ends of The Serpentine Lake in Kensington Gardens: The Serpentine Gallery and The Serpentine Sackler Gallery designed by Zaha Hadid Architects. The gallery exhibits pioneering exhibitions of over 2263 artists over 45 years showing a wide range of emerging practitioners to internationally known architects and artists. The two galleries exhibit a range of 3D and architecturally ambitious collections that have been called the first of its kind. These programs are complemented by a range of sculpture projects, special artist commissions, digital commissions, public and educational programs and major outreach programs including the renowned Edgware Road project. Open Tuesday to Sunday, 9 am – 6 pm.
Whitechapel Gallery | Tower Hamlets
An Art Nouveau gallery situated on the north side of Whitechapel High Street that’s quoted to be the artists’ gallery for everyone. The Whitechapel Gallery is a benchmark for contemporary art internationally, plays a role in London’s cultural landscape and is pivotal to the continuation of growth to the world’s most vibrant contemporary arts quarter. For more than a century the gallery has shown the works of world-class artists such as Pablo Picasso and Jackson Pollock to contemporaries such as Gilbert and George and Mark Willinger. You’ll find yourself being amazed by the beautiful galleries and exhibitions, artist commissions, collection displays, historic archives amongst many more interesting features. This gallery has free entry and is open from 11 am – 6 pm Tuesday to Sunday, except on Thursdays when the museum stays open until 9 pm.
Tate Modern | Bankside
It has been said that your trip to London is not complete without a visit to the Tate Modern. Set in an old power plant on the banks of the Thames, Britain’s national museum houses contemporary and modern art from around the world. The awe-inspiring Turbine Hall runs the length of the whole building and you can see work for free by famous artists such as Matisse, Picasso, Pollock and Warhol. The Tate Modern is one of four art museums which also have free entry, these are the Tate Britain (also in London), Tate Liverpool and Tate St Ives. Open Sunday to Thursday 10 am – 6 pm and Friday to Saturday 10 am – 10 pm.