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Current London Sightseeing Tips

Currently in London and have come across some new-to-me info:

  • The Courtauld Gallery will be closed effective Monday, September 3, for at least two years.

  • The Design Museum (now near Holland Park) is very interesting. I didn't see the fashion-related special exhibition, just the donation-requested permanent display. It took me about 4 hours, but I read everything. You can wind your way through Holland Park afterward; It's not Kew, but it is nice.

  • Also relatively near the Design Museum is the Leighton House Museum, the final home of the artist Frederick Leighton. £9 (£7 for seniors). He was very fond of Middle Eastern decor, and the tiles alone were worth the price of admission to me. The removable furniture from the house was auctioned off after Leighton's death, but they've had some success buying back several pieces, and some others have been copied from photographs. Quite a lot of Leoghton's artwork is also on display. I am not a fan of "House of xxxx" attractions, but for me this was very enjoyable.

  • The Tate Modern has an interesting special exhibition on Picasso in 1932. £22 (seniors £20), not including the £4.50 audioguide. That seems pretty pricey, but it's not a small exhibition. With the audioguide and reading all the posted text it took me over 2 hours. Recommended for Picasso fans. I enjoyed despite not being big on Picasso, but it helped a lot that I took advantage of a £10 deal for the first Friday of the month. No more of those; September 9 is the last day.

Posted by
9551 posts

Leighton House was on my list last Fall when I was in London but I ran out of steam before I got to it, lol!! It's good to hear your assessment of it. They do have special exhibits at times and that was what I had seen recommended by a Regency blog I read. I probably would have managed it if I hadn't done a self-guided walk thru Kensington from another blog first! Just couldn't. walk. another. step.

I didn't know about the Design Museum, so I'll add that on to the continuing list, haha!

Posted by
3056 posts

Oh no, the Courtauld closed for 2 years. I really love the compactness, venue, breadth and quality of this collection. I’ll need to read up on what is planned for this extensive closing.

Posted by
20849 posts

I went to the Courtauld today and was glad I had. It didn't make a particularly positive impression on me the first time around (30 or 40 years ago), but I guess I've come to appreciate art more, and any museum with a good Lucas Cranach is alright by me.

I don't know what the closure is about; the building seemed in good condition, though the only toilets are down in the basement along with the cafe. Maybe they're going to expand the display space.

Another tip: The 2018 London Design Biennale will be at Somerset House September 4-23. I don't know what it entails, but dozens of countries will be represented. Cost is £19.50 (seniors £16.50, children under 12 free).

Posted by
661 posts

Thanks for the tips! We will be in London in October and I was bummed that the Courtauld Gallery would be closed. But some good news.... I discovered that the National Gallery has a "Courtauld Impressionists: From Manet to Cezanne" exhibition from 9/17/18 - 1/20/19. Tickets are £7.50.

Posted by
20849 posts

That's great. I really appreciate it when some of the key works from a closed gallery can be seen elsewhere.

The Tate Modern has one of Monet's waterlily paintings on display. It's labeled "Courtesy National Gallery".

The leader of my Highgate Village walking tour recomended Kenwood, in Hampstead. He said the art collection is very good. I've never been there and don't think I'll manage it this year. In theory one could combine it with a visit to Kew Gardens, though.