Serpentine Galleries

Located on either side of The Serpentine lake in the heart of Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, the twin Serpentine Galleries display world-renowned contemporary art, architecture and design exhibitions throughout the year and are free for anyone to enter and peruse. The work contained in the galleries is of course exquisite, running from Andy Warhol to Chris Ofili, but the setting itself is also worth a visit in its own right. Secluded by the water and with an outdoor pavilion that hosts a café during the summer months, it’s a reflective and tranquil spot to pause while wandering the gardens. Every spring, the annual Serpentine Pavilion is constructed by a different, distinguished architect (past years have included Smiljan Radic, Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei, among many illustrious others) which is ten open to the public from June to September. In fact the original Grade II listed Serpentine Gallery (opened in 1970) was formerly a tea pavilion and underwent a major renovation in 1998 under the Patronage of Diana Princess of Wales. The Serpentine Sackler Gallery, designed by Zaha Hadid, was opened to the public in September 2013 and is just across the water: an1805 Grade II listed former gunpowder store, this is the first time it has been in public in its 208 year history. Restoration and extension efforts have enabled this building to offer nearly 900 square metres of expanded galleries and social space, as well as a permanent restaurant, The Magazine.

There is also a famous, annual Summer Party held in July and a highlight on the social circuit, attracting celebrities, fashionistas and models among the artists and architects. A rotating exhibition schedule ensures that you’ll be at limited risk of finding yourself in a repeat viewing while up-and-coming artists all get a fair shot at being shown in the small but airy and extremely well-frequented space.