Royal Academy of Arts

Art , Galleries Mayfair
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(8 user reviews)
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John Bodkin
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Jonathan Perugia / Time Out
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Jonathan Perugia / Time Out
5/6
John Bodkin
6/6
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
Contact:
Address: Burlington House, Piccadilly
London
W1J 0BD
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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  • Time Out says
    • 3 out of 5 stars
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Pick a date

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  • Painting Until Sunday October 2 2016
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  • Until Sunday August 21 2016
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  • Classical and opera Saturday July 30 2016
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  • Thursday August 4 2016 - Saturday September 24 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

3.6 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:4
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:1
LiveReviews|8
1 person listening
Violet M
Tastemaker

Went to the RA Late: Venetian Magic event this last weekend. The event was put on in conjunction with their "In the age of Giorgione" exhibit. It was promoted as a sort of Venetian masquerade and boy, it did not disappoint! 


The Royal Academy itself it a beautiful feature, with ornate gilded rooms. It was amazing to see so many people dressed up in proper costume with fully decked out Venetian masks, wandering around these historic spaces. There were various rooms to entertain: a carnivale with DJs and actors performing dance pieces, another with props for taking photos, a room with a prosecco-bar and plush velvet sofas, a life-drawing room lit by (fake but still cool) candle light, and even a film viewing in another room. Guests also had access to the exhibit, but unfortunately I found it to be a bit disappointing. It could be that the rest of the rooms were so decadent and creatively done that the exhibit fell a bit flat for me.


Overall, it was an amazing alternative night out. Enjoyed being able to do something fun and exciting on a Saturday night that didn't involve a pub or a club. Would absolutely go to a late at the RA again! 

Angela L

I have been to the RA a couple of times now and I can safely say that they are really good at pulling you in!  I stayed away from the Ai Wei Wei exhibition (I am not interested in anything that makes an obvious political statement) but I couldn't say no to seeing Painting the Modern Garden - Monet to Matisse.  This exhibition brought together not only some of Monet's famous Japanese bridge over water lilies paintings but also his large paintings of water lilies in the pond being his last works.  Finally seeing some of these together in one room was personally a dream come true.  It also brought together the works of other Impressionists of the time, i.e. Matisse, Kandinsky and paintings of English and Scandinavian gardens.  Altogether you got to see a lot of different interpretations as well as aesthetics.  However to get there, I had to become a Friend of the RA which incidentally, is not cheap and does not include the Audio Guide :(  Disaster averted, I turned on Apple Music and listened to French classics to block out the white noise.  It worked quite well I have to say!  

Shona R
Tastemaker

My favourite ever museum in London, the Royal Academy of Arts. A spectacular museum on Piccadilly, 5 mins walk from Piccadilly Circus.


Exhibition of the year is on: Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse.


Book in advance as queues are always long.


Pop to Laduree in the Burlington Arcade which is almost next door (very pretty arcade and excellent macaroons)

LoveLondon
Tastemaker

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
Tastemaker

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
Tastemaker

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. 

jade

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.