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London Museum & Art Culture at No Cost, ZEALnyc’s Spring Guide to London Travel Series

Lorna Cumming-Bruce, Contributing Writer London Bureau, March 1, 2016

As any savvy New York traveler knows, London is anything but cheap! And if your travel plans include sleeping, eating and touring, you may find you don’t have a penny to spare. But traveling culture vultures out there need not fear. London is one of the most important destinations for the museum and art lover, and ZEALnyc shows you how to spend a rainy (or sunny) day immersed in this rich scene without ever reaching for your wallet! Read on …

Major Museums You Just Can’t Miss

London has miles of museum corridors available to tramp for free. The question here is not where but which. Whether you want ancient sculpture (British Museum), Old Masters (National Gallery), a dose of British art history (Tate Britain), Turner Prize winners (Tate modern), photography legends (National Portrait Gallery) or iconic designers (V&A), London has what you want and more. All for free, every day of the week.

tate modern

Tate Modern, London

Important Collections You Should Consider

Lesser-known museums made up of private collections may be small, but offer rich pickings, and once again at no cost! Take a step back into old England at the Wallace Collection or the John Soane’s Museum, two beautiful townhouses stuffed with the art and design of aristocratic family collections. Return to the present day with a look around the infamously contemporary collection of Charles Saatchi at the Saatchi Gallery. Finally, be sure not to miss the Fleming Collection – the brainchild of an old Scottish bank whose northern home is celebrated in this gem of a museum.

John Soane's Museum, London

John Soane’s Museum, London

Be In-The-Know with These Galleries

As an important location on the international art market, London hosts a wealth of gallery spaces. By keeping an eye on some of the key dealerships, you’re in with a chance of seeing some fantastic art, all for free (viewing that is – if you plan a purchase, that will cost you)! Be sure to check out what the major auctioneers are showing when you’re in town. Christie’s and Sotheby’s are the kind of establishments where you find once in a lifetime showings of blockbuster pieces. For a reliably novel viewing, head to one of the capital’s many contemporary spaces, Whitechapel Gallery is a particular favourite, whilst Hauser and Wirth, Lisson Gallery, The Wapping Project and White Cube are worth a visit too (as much for their architectural design as their contents). Take a break from the art trail with a walk through Kensington gardens to The Serpentine. Or take in a more traditional art experience by popping in to Philip Mould, Richard Green or Colnaghi.

Become an Expert with Special Events & Free Talks

For a chance to really get behind the skin of the London arts scene, head to one of the free talks on offer. These are available at various locations – try the RA, Courtauld, Southbank Centre, Barbican or the fantastic Wellcome Collection for a chance at nabbing a free ticket to one of their highly sought after events.

And if that isn’t enough free art, remember to look around as you wonder the streets between museums and galleries. From John Edward Carew to Antony Gormley, the city’s brimming with artistic creations, no entrance fee necessary!



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