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The Top Five Art Galleries In The UK

UK art gallery guide

The type of art you like can be deeply personal. You might be moved by classical paintings, portraits of religious figures, and perhaps tales from mythology. Here at Fotoviva we’re more into the photographic art side of things. Certain styles and colours may speak to you more than others.

There are also countless art categories ranging from contemporary, classical, abstract, to modern. The best way to discover art for yourself is to visit as many art galleries as you can. Europe is home to many amazing art galleries to start or continue your journey of artistic exploration. Here in the United Kingdom we have countless galleries that are worth seeing, most of which are free to enter. In this article, we will outline the top five art galleries in the UK.

Art Gallery Ranking

Other than personal artistic preferences, there are several ways to rank art galleries:

• Visitor count per year
• Unique exhibitions and pieces
• Amount of art work and size of collection
• Entrance fee
• Location, building, and environment

The Top Art Galleries In The UK

1. Tate Modern

• Location: London, England
• Visitor count based in April 2014 survey: 4,884,939
• Entrance fee: Free, except for special exhibitions
• Website: Click here

Tate Modern is the most visited modern art gallery in the world. It provides views of the Thames River and Millennium Bridge in London. This museum holds the national collection of British art from 1900 to the current day.

2. British Museum

• Location: London, England
• Visitor count based in April 2014 survey: 6,701,036
• Entrance fee: Free
• Website: Click here

The British Museum has a permanent collection numbering over 8 million works, which makes this one of the most largest and comprehensive assortments of art. The gallery’s collection is separated into geographical locations along with more specific departments, such as coins and medals. Not only will you find paintings and artwork here, but also sculptures, reconstructed architecture, and unique items such as The Rosetta Stone.

London National Gallery

3. The National Gallery

• Location: London, England
• Visitor count based in April 2014 survey: 6,031,574
• Entrance fee: Free
• Website: Click here

Located in the center of the famous Trafalgar Square, this art museum houses over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900. Here, works from masters such as Rembrandt and Van Gogh can be viewed.

4. National Portrait Gallery

• Location: London, England
• Visitor count based in April 2014 survey: 2,014,636
• Entrance fee: Free, except for select exhibitions
• Website: Click here

This is a unique art gallery in that it is focused on displaying portraits of the most influential individuals in British history. This includes painted portraits as well as photographs. Some of the individuals featured include Sir Ian McKellen and William Shakespeare.

5. National Galleries of Scotland

• Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
• Visitor count based in April 2014 survey: 1,460,324
• Entrance fee: Free
• Website: Click here

Combining many forms of art together, The National Galleries of Scotland comprise a set of three galleries: The Scottish National Gallery, The Scottish National Portrait Gallery, and The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.

Exploring The Many Art Galleries In The UK

Though these are a selection of the top art galleries in the UK, you should not limit yourself to these alone. There are many smaller art galleries you can explore all over the country. If you have a specific art style you admire, search for art galleries that showcase that art form. You can probably find some great galleries in your home town.

Art is an expression of personality and involves a vast amount of different works. Explore the UK art galleries and others in the world to find what really grabs you, and perhaps begin creating your own art.

contemporary art gallery interior


Visitor count information for museums obtained from:
Visitor Figures 2013. The Art Newspaper, International Edition. XXIII(256). Retrieved October 20th, 2014 from:

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