Royal Academy of Arts

Address: Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BD, United Kingdom
Telephone: 020 7300 8000

- Expensive


A grand and historic venue for major art exhibitions.

Founded in 1768 by King George III, the Royal Academy of Arts belongs to an illustrious group of arts and science-related bodies created in the enlightened 18th century that have come together in Burlington House, an opulent mansion that dates from 1664 and which has been steadily embellished to become the present lordly building fronted with a cobbled courtyard just off Piccadilly. Inside there is an art school and a fine arts library, but the best reason to visit is for the 'blockbuster' art exhibitions staged in its grand Main Galleries (first floor) and the modern Sackler Wing extension (second floor). Chief among these is the annual 'Summer Exhibition' (7 June-15 August 2011) which is now in its 243rd year and showcases over 1,000 works picked from open submissions. I like it for the occasion and the peoplewatching as much as the art - and much of what you see is offered for sale too.

Value for money

Price advice

Entry is free but individual admission charges apply to all major exhibition spaces.

Expert tips

The big exhibitions can get very busy - especially as the closing date approaches; time your visit with care.

The best place for a cup of tea is the Sir Hugh Casson Room (ground floor) which is normally reserved for Friends of the RA but also opens to the public 4pm-6pm daily.

Recommended for

  • Couples
  • Culture vultures
  • Families with teenagers
  • Mature travellers
  • Singles
  • Art
  • History
  • Design and architecture