Founded in 1947 by a collective of poets, artists and critics, the Institute of Contemporary Arts was intended to drive the London arts scene forward into brave new territory. The ICA has floundered somewhat in recent years, its status as art's rebel institution holding less sway in a scene awash with controversy-seeking work. Located on The Mall since 1968, the venue programmes arthouse cinema, performance art, philosophical debates, art-themed club nights, cutting-edge bands and anything else that might challenge accepted notions. There's also an excellent bookshop and sunlit café-cum-bar.
|Opening hours:||Tue (Free), Wed, Fri-Sun 11am-6pm; Thu 11am-9pm. Bar: Tue-Sun 11am–11pm.|
|Transport:||Tube: Charing Cross|
|Price:||£1 Day membership, free Tue, under 18s and concs|
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Average User Rating
4.6 / 5
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The ICA still makes me feel a bit giddy, like the early days of living in London. It's location alone - across from St. James's Park, down from Buckingham Palace and a hop away from Trafalgar Sq - makes it a special place to visit. However, it is instantly less assuming than it's regal neighbours and brings a brilliant slice of culture to central London. Cinema, exhibtion, cafe, shop - you can spend a good few hours in the ICA. Day membership is £1 but you get free access to exhibitions with any cinema ticket so it's well worth having a gander whilst in for a flick.
It's actually quite rare to find a place like the ICA in London. Fair play that London does have places that are quirky yet traditional but the ICA stands out by being exceptionally cool. Having a cinema is definitely an icing on the cake for someone like me who is always craving for a place I could 'escape' to that is cool, understated yet elegant.