Royal Academy of Arts

  • Art
  • Galleries
2 Love It
John Bodkin
Jonathan Perugia / Time Out
Jonathan Perugia / Time Out
John Bodkin
Jonathan Perugia / Time Out

Britain's first art school was founded in 1768 and moved to the extravagantly Palladian Burlington House a century later. It is now best known for the galleries. Expect to pay for blockbusters (like 2008's popular 'From Russia' show) in the Sackler Wing or main galleries, while shows in the John Madejski Fine Rooms are drawn from the RA's holdings – ranging from Constable to Hockney – and are free. The Royal Academy's biggest event is the Summer Exhibition, which for more than two centuries has drawn from works entered by the public as well its Royal Academicians. The nozzles of the courtyard fountain are layed out to match the position of the stars and planets on the night in 1723 when Sir Joshua Reynolds, artist and RA Founding President, was born.

Venue name: Royal Academy of Arts
Address: Burlington House, Piccadilly
Opening hours: Mon-Thu, Sat, Sun 10am-6pm; Fri 10am-10pm
Transport: Tube: Piccadilly Circus
Price: Admission Charge between £14-£10, concs £6-£9
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  • Until Wednesday April 20 2016
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  • Friday February 12 2016 - Sunday February 21 2016 Free
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  • Painting Saturday July 2 2016 - Sunday October 2 2016
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  • Painting Saturday September 24 2016 - Monday January 2 2017
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  • Painting Saturday October 29 2016 - Sunday January 29 2017
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Average User Rating

2.8 / 5

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Wonderful space with great exhibitions and I really loved their 24 hour openings following the demand for Ai Wei Wei exhibitions. I think more galleries across London should do the same. There's a different feel late at night and your mind perceives things differently then. 

Joss B

The RA is a lovely place but it can be a bit hit and miss at times with the shows, and the facilities are under going a needed redesign to cope with numbers. Currently they have a number of exhibits on, Ai WeiWei, Edmund De Waal and the Waterloo Cartoon among them, and all worth seeing - u can find on Time Out more detailed reviews of Ai WieWie. The de Waal is also a must see, though will cost members and non members alike £5 and is only open on Thursday-Saturday as it is set through the 2 rooms of the RA's working library, a room that is a beauty in its own right. If you read the Hare with the Amber Eyes, you will want to visit as it is an exhibition of white that accompanies his his new book on his journey with white and porcelain. Included are works by de Waal, a sculpture from 1BC South Arabia, Turners water colour palate and the Hare with the Amber Eyes itself. The way the pieces de Waal has chosen as spread through the library make it hugely engaging and a semi treasure hunt.

David M

The Rubens exhibition at the Royal Academy of the Arts was absolutely fantastic! 

I advise every art lover to visit the exhibitions. The gallery is near Piccadilly Circus in the very heart of London.

Tara P

The academy itself is beautiful with lovely interior design. However, I wasn’t impressed with 2015’s summer exhibition.

It seemed thrown together and there was little cohesion or explanation. Had I not been a guest at a free event I would have been very disappointed with my experience, as the content was not up to the standard I would expect of a leading gallery; we spent no longer than 20 minutes in the rooms because there wasn't much of interest to see.

I'm unlikely to be paying to return. However, art is subjective, so maybe see for yourself. 


As this is advertised as a free gallery i went along to check it out...there were 3 or 4 paintings on a wall behind a stairwell that were free to view, all the exhibitions were £20 or more. This shouldn't be listed as a free gallery at all.