Home to world-class museums and galleries, London is an art lover’s paradise, but when you only have 24 hours, where do you start?
From 4pm, the general public can rub shoulders with artists and architects at the Keeper’s House. Through a discreet door to the right of the Royal Academy of Art’s main entrance, signposted only by an illuminating Tracey Emin neon work, the former home of the RA’s keeper is a beautifully restored haven for socialising on the hoof. In David Chipperfield’s luxurious interiors, you can choose from the intimate Belle Shenkman Room that overlooks the walled garden, dinner in the restaurant that’s adorned with architectural casts or a post-exhibition drink in the vibrant Shenkman Bar.
One of the first London galleries to challenge the art museum model, Gagosian Britannia Street opened in 2004 in the middle of the King’s Cross development. The former garage was transformed into 1,400 square metres (15,069 square feet) of naturally lit gallery space by architects Caruso St John, who also designed The New Art Gallery in Walsall. The three interconnecting spaces lend themselves perfectly for ambitious exhibition projects by gallery artists, so expect to see immersive painting installations by Katharina Grosse or be dwarfed by Richard Serra’s monumental steel works.
Discover the street-art-laden East End of London, with a walking tour that takes in some of the area’s most famous art. Shoreditch Street Art Tours is one of the best as the company keeps up to date with the freshest work in the area. The tour operator will also teach you about the history of Shoreditch through its contemporary artists.
Named Michelin Pub of the Year in 2017, the Marksman was given both a culinary and interiors revamp by chefs Tom Harris and Jon Rotheram in 2015. The duo, with their acclaimed experience at St John and Fifteen respectively, has created a simple yet innovative menu that includes the delectable beef and barley buns served with horseradish. Make sure to check out the Martino Gamper-designed dining room upstairs, where the restaurant hosts regular cookbook dinners with guest chefs.
Have a dining experience as if Francis Bacon still strutted around Soho at this charming bistro-esque haunt. Since 1986, the restaurant, which is spread over two floors of an 18th-century townhouse, has been serving up traditional dishes like roast grouse with bread sauce, and pear and sherry trifle. Booking is essential. If you have time, peruse Andrew Edmunds Prints & Drawings next door, which specialises in English and French 18th- to 19th-century satirical and unusual works.