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Cabinet Gallery by  Trevor Horne Architects | Photo 
© Tim Crocker
Cabinet Gallery by Trevor Horne Architects | Photo © Tim Crocker
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London's Coolest Secret Art Spaces

Picture of Freire Barnes
Art & Design Editor
Updated: 30 October 2017
London has some of the most exceptional national art collections in the world that you can see without paying a debilitating admission charge. But is also boasts some of the most unusual and extraordinary art venues off the beaten track. So take a detour from the art museums and enjoy our guide to some of the capital’s secret galleries.

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Banner Repeater, Hackney

Courtesy of Banner Repeater

Founded by Ami Clarke in 2010 on Platform 1 of Hackney Downs overground station, Banner Repeater is a gallery, reading room and experimental events space. In the former waiting room, the artist-led venue is an unexpected find that will introduce you to the work of recent graduates, alternative art writing and the critical landscape of London’s multifaceted art scene.

Hackney Downs Network Rail, Platform 1 Dalston Ln, London E8 1LA

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KÖNIG London, Marylebone

KÖNIG London

KÖNIG London | © Freire Barnes

In a former underground carpark, you’ll find König Galerie‘s new London gallery. Hailing from Berlin and known for working with interdisciplinary artists who create site-specific projects, don’t expect your typical gallery programme in the 3000 sq ft subterranean location, instead ongoing presentations will be accompanied by editions and objects from König Souvenir.

259-269 Old Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5RA

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Cabinet Gallery, Vauxhall

Cabinet Gallery by Trevor Horne Architects | Photo © Tim Crocker

Probably one of the most reluctant art galleries in London, Cabinet has moved around the city over the years, from Brixton to Old Street. Now directors Martin McGeown and Andrew Wheatley have relocated the gallery to a new building in Vauxhall specially designed by Trevor Horne Architects, meaning more people will begin to discover this hidden gem that showcases established fringe artists like Cosey Fanni Tutti as well as emerging talent.

132 Tyers Street, Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, London SE11 5HS

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Emalin, Shoreditch

Initially a nomadic enterprise that organised exhibitions in a variety of venues including a hotel and church, Emalin opened its permanent Shoreditch space in September 2016. Overseen by friends Leopold Thun and Angelina Volk, Emalin’s exhibition programme showcases cult performance artist Kembra Pfahler and Goldsmiths graduate Athena Papadopoulos.

Unit 4, Huntingdon Estate, Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6JU

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Domobaal, Bloomsbury

Lothar Gotz mural | Courtesy Domobaal. Photo: Andy Keate

A common thread with many galleries has been their humble beginnings, with many starting out in the dealer’s home. Some yearn to move to a classic white cube space, while others understand that the residential setting offers a unique approach to exhibiting art, just like Domobaal, who’s grand Georgian home in the heart of Bloomsbury makes for a very special art experience.

Domobaal, 3 John Street, London, WC1N 2ES

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Lily Brooke, Camberwell

Located within a residential property, this gallery only recently launched its permanent exhibition programme after working on an occasional basis, constrained by financial limitations. Now the Lily Brooke will showcase a variety of artists at different stages of their careers.

3 Ada Road, London, SE5 7RW

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Cecilia Brunson Projects, Bermondsey

Installation view of Claudio Tozzi | Courtesy Cecilia Brunson Projects

With big name gallery neighbours like White Cube, Cecilia Brunson Projects is located in a prime spot. What started curator Cecilia Brunson’s home has evolved into a contemporary commercial gallery space that focuses primarily on Latin American art. With an outpost in Santiago, the gallery also works with artists that engage with the idea of remoteness and peripheral existence that is connected with Chile.

Royal Oak Yard, Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3GD

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The Crypt, Marylebone

Curators are finding ingenious ways to reuse defunct spaces and a church crypt lends itself perfectly to sacred contemplation of art. Wanting to explore current themes and concerns in Contemporary British Painting, The Crypt‘s current programme, curated by Robert Priseman, provides a platform for painters working in a variety of styles.

St Marylebone Parish Church, 17 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5LT

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The Vaults, Waterloo

This subterranean arts space hosts a variety of events from street art exhibitions and interactive installations to pop-up mini golf courses and theatrical performances. Although one of those London secrets locals want to keep to themselves, The Vaults is a maze of underground spaces waiting to be explored and experienced.

Leake Street, SE1 7NN

The Vaults ceiling

You never know what will be on at The Vaults | © Will Hazel

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Large Glass, Kings Cross

Taking its name from a work by Marcel Duchamp, the commercial gallery can be found on Caledonian Road, away from the throng of the art world. Large Glass, with its diverse exhibition programme and dynamic events calendar, is a must-visit for any curious art lover.

392 Caledonian Road, London, N1 1DN

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