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Burlington House (Piccadilly)
(44) 020-7300-8000 | www.royalacademy.org.uk
HOURS/TIMESMon.-Thurs.: 10:00am-6:00pm; Fri.: 10:00am-10:00pm; Sat.-Sun.: 10:00am-6:00pm (Last admissions for all times are 30 min. prior to closing)
PRICETours of permanent Collections: Free; Special exhibitions: Varies
RESERVE IN ADVANCERecommended - advance tickets available
WAIT TIME WITHOUT RESERVATIONCan be up to 2 hours
HIGHLIGHTSSummer Exhibition; John Madejski Fine Rooms
TUBEPiccadilly Circus; Green Park
Founded in 1768, the Royal Academy of Arts has stuck to its founding objectives for almost three centuries: to display the country’s finest artworks and to train the next generation of artists and architects. Housed in an elegant Georgian mansion off Piccadilly, the permanent collections run from the 18th century to the present. The Academy also houses a world-class research library, a café (with lovely outdoor garden tables), and its renowned school of art and architecture.
GO HERE WITH
An art buff; a date; a friend; yourself
WHY WE LIKE IT
The space is beautiful: the building is set back from Piccadilly, and the modern fountain display in the courtyard is a wonderful place to sit and people-watch. The permanent collection is also quite interesting and seldom crowded. We managed to see the Summer Exhibition, the world’s largest open exhibition of art dating back to 1769, and this was a huge treat–if only our art budget were just a tad larger! (All art sold during the Summer Exhibition finances the education arm of the Academy.)
WHAT WE WOULD CHANGE
The special exhibitions–especially the Summer Exhibition–can get really crowded, so perhaps tighter regulation of timed entries.
GOOD TO KNOW
For popular exhibitions, it’s a good idea to book in advance (via website or phone). Advance tickets are timed entry (make sure you’re there on time!), but once through the door, you can stay as long as you like. Day-of tickets are guaranteed to be available, but waits can be very long. (No advance booking needed for the tours; simply meet in the lobby at one of the following set times: Tue.: 1:00pm; Wed.-Fri.: 1:00pm, 3:00pm; Sat.: 11:30am). All members of the Royal Academy are required to donate at least one of their own pieces to the collection, thus ensuring that they hold one of the finest British art collections in the world.
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