Guildhall Art Gallery

Art Mansion House Free
5 out of 5 stars
(5user reviews)
Guildhall Art Gallery
© Sam Roberts

The City of London’s Guildhall Art Gallery has been rehung with a focus on nineteenth-century paintings by Constable, Leighton, Millais, Rossetti, Holman Hunt and others. Downstairs, there are absorbing paintings of London from the 1660s to the present, from moving depictions of war and melancholy working streets to the likes of the grandiloquent (and never-enacted) George Dance plan for a new London Bridge. The collection’s centrepiece is the massive ‘Siege of Gibraltar’ by John Copley, which spans two entire storeys of the purpose-built gallery. A sub-basement contains the scant remains of London’s 6,000-seater Roman amphitheatre, built around AD70; Tron-like figures and crowd sound effects give a quaint inkling of scale.


Venue name: Guildhall Art Gallery
Address: Guildhall Yard
off Gresham St
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 10am-5pm; Sun 12pm-4pm
Transport: Tube: Bank
Price: Free
Do you own this business?
Static map showing venue location

Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:5
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
1 person listening

One of the most underrated galleries in London. Apart from having a magnificent collection of Victorian British paintings including many Pre-Raphaelites (Millais, Hunt or Rossetti) and a great number of pieces showing London in those days, it’s the only gallery in the world with a Roman amphitheatre hidden in its basement. I love coming back as it's free and never busy while the exposition slightly changes every now and then, so you can see new stuff from the collection of over four thousand pieces (Victorian fashion lovers will especially love it. I really recommend joining the free guided tour (there are four every day, at 12.15, 1.15, 2.15 and 3.15) to find out more about the building, the accidental discovery of the Roman ruins and to learn who inspired the original Alice in Wonderland illustrations. And don’t forget to look at the black rounded line on the square in front of the gallery building. It marks how far the Roman arena did stretch, hard to believe even after seeing its old walls.


I’ve uncovered a real gem hidden in The City, and if you love London as much as I do, then I’m sure you’ll love this often overlooked gem too. Here’s why:

Sitting in the City of London with a charming courtyard and next to the handsome Guildhall Town Hall, Guildhall Art gallery has amassed a hugely impressive collection of exquisite artwork depicting life in London in the 1600’s through to the present day. From scenes of war to ordinary street life, you get a real sense of life back in the ages. You don’t have to be an art fanatic to appreciate the art on display. The stories behind the painting are easy to grasp and not abstract as those found in the Saatchi or Tate Modern.

Aside from the paintings, there are many must-sees within this hidden gem of a gallery.The main showpiece has to be enormous, eye-catching oil canvas drawing depicting a battle. Apparently, parts of the gallery was designed accommodate it. You’ll also get to see the scant remains of a Roman amphitheatre underground too. Also, keep an eye out for seasonal exhibitions which are free.

I really loved that you’re able to see for yourself what London looked like through the ages and see how London has grown to what it is today. If you’re visiting, take a look at the panoramic drawing of London in 1616, the time when St Paul’s had no dome and there were buildings built on London Bridge. Then compare it today’s landscape. It’s truly fascinating.

If you loved the Museum of London in the Barbican then you’ll absolutely love Guildhall Art Gallery too. A must visit for all Londonphiles. And it’s FREE!


Another wonderful place in London to visit and enjoy vast paintings and wonderfully high ceilings in a very grand setting. Then after you've had your fill of fine art, wander downstairs and check out the Roman Amphitheater where you can see the remains of what the Romans constructed as a place to 'enjoy' gruesome animal fights and live executions...and all for free, what a great find.


What a gem in the city!
They scan your handbag like at the airport at the entrance, but after that you are free to explore (for free too) this spacious, gorgeous gallery full of Victorian paintings in the main gallery and some interesting exhibitions downstairs. 

Plus you can see some pretty old London bits in the London Roman Amphitheater that I believe was discovered when they were renovating the gallery itself (It's almost like finding the biggest ever Viking ship while renovating the Viking ship museum - but that was in Reykjavik.

Funnily enough, looking at some of those idealized Victorian depictions of women cuddling and whatnot I found myself thinking - but is this art? Perhaps I spent too much time at Tate Modern!

Don your Sunday best, see the gallery and then mingle at the pretty square with all those important city people lunching there during the breaks in their very important jobs.