July will see the reopening of some of our favourite art galleries.
Londoners have been starved of art exhibitions and mesmerising galleries for too long, but thankfully July is looking brighter for art lovers. We’ve rounded up all the return dates for the city’s best art galleries, and it’s looking like you’ll be thoughtfully nodding at paintings in a matter of weeks. Check out the reopening dates here!
Hauser & Wirth (opening July 1)
The Mayfair gallery has been open for private viewings since June 15, but they’ll reopen to the public at the beginning of July. Visitors are being asked to book a timed slot in advance, and read the visitor guidelines before making a visit.
Royal Academy of Arts (opening July 9)
Initially, visiting will be limited to just the Friends of the RA, but the rest of us won’t have long to wait, with July 16 the grand reopening date for the rest of the public. The Royal Academy will be back with slightly altered visiting hours; it’ll only be open four days a week (from Thursday to Sunday) and with shorter visiting hours, 11am to 4pm each day.
Further changes extend beyond the visiting hours. Everyone hoping to attend the Royal Academy, even Friends, will need to book their ticket in advance to get in, as the gallery is limiting the number of people allowed in at any one time. Groups must be from a single household (up to a maximum of six visitors), and tickets can be moved to another date or refunded up to the day you’re planning to go. Meanwhile, healthcare workers can get in for free, so long as they display a valid employee ID upon arrival. All visitors will be asked to wear face coverings during their visit.
Once you’re inside the gallery, though, you’d be allowed to stay as long as you like in order to truly soak up the artistic brilliance. As to what you’ll see once inside, the Royal Academy has hinted at a “reduced programme”, but is still running the fascinating Picasso and Paper exhibition which began before lockdown – comprising some 300 works from across the artist’s 80-year career. Meanwhile, the annual Summer Exhibition – which, in happier years, would be running currently – has been pushed back to autumn for the first time in history, with a new start date of October 6.
Whitechapel Gallery (opening July 14)
Back in a mere two weeks, the Whitechapel Gallery have extended their pre-lockdown exhibitions programme through the summer. Radical Figures, which casts an eye over the painting of our current millennium, will have timed entry, and you’ll need to book to see the gallery’s free displays too. A whole programme of health and safety measures has been designed to keep visitors healthy, including one-way routes, limited staff in public spaces, separate, dedicated entrances and exits, and a strict cap on visitor numbers. Should you visit, you’ll be furnished with hand sanitiser and optional masks at the front desk.
The Wallace Collection (opening July 15)
The Wallace Collection will be back on July 15, but with some by-now-familiar precautions in place. Namely, a cap on visitor numbers, timed entry, social distancing measures, and a fixed one-way route around the collection. Wearing a mask is encouraged but not required, as is sanitising your hands as often as possible, and the cafe and cloakroom won’t be open. The gallery’s warmly-received exhibition Forgotten Masters: Indian Painting for the East India Company will be reopening a little later, on July 29. Tickets to The Wallace Collection are free, but must be booked in advance, and you’ll need to turn up on time to get in – they also have new opening hours, from 11am-3pm daily.
Tate Modern (opening July 27)
Just as sweet as the news of Tate Modern’s return is the happy fact that entry will remain free even during these uncertain economic times. The UK’s top visitor attraction will follow social distancing measures, and you’ll need to book a timed ticket ahead of your visit – they aren’t available just yet, but will be going on sale soon. Further measures such as contactless payments, one-way systems, and hand sanitiser stations will also form part of the new landscape. Find our visitor guide to Tate Modern here.
Tate Britain (opening July 27)
All of Tate’s UK galleries – including those in St Ives and Liverpool – will be back on July 27, which means the return of Tate Britain too. As with Tate Modern, you can expect one-way systems and timed entry, with free tickets being made available very soon.
Serpentine Gallery (opening August 4)
Back with a single exhibition – Blueprints, a multimedia display from Chinese artist Cao Fei – the Serpentine Gallery returns on August 4. They’ll be limiting the number of visitors per day, but the exhibition will remain free to visit, which is nice. You’re asked to wear a face covering throughout your visit, and tickets will be scanned from your mobile to minimise contact between staff and guests. A one-way system is in place, and you will be asked to sanitise your hands upon entry at a hand sanitiser station – one last thing to note is that the toilets won’t be open to the public, so plan your bathroom breaks very wisely. More information here.
Zabludowicz Collection (opening September)
Housed inside a Grade-II listed former Methodist chapel, the Zabludowicz Collection specialises in modern art. They’re currently slated to be closed until September, with no exact return date specified yet.
Dulwich Picture Gallery (opening TBD)
No reopening date has been announced for the South London gem, but whilst we wait for an announcement, you can check out their array of classic works online.
NOW Gallery (opening TBD)
Out in Greenwich, NOW Gallery are still waiting to return, with no reopening date given just yet. In the meantime, however, you can check out the gallery’s colourful installation from artist Emmanuelle Moureuax on an online tour.
Saatchi Gallery (opening TBD)
Another gallery with no current date to reopening, the Saatchi Gallery is busy working away on a opening plan, which we’ll update you with in due course. For now, their mesmerising Tutanhkamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh exhibit can be explored online.
National Portrait Gallery (closed until spring 2023)
This one was in the offing well before the lockdown began, but the closing date was brought forward a few months by the pandemic. Owing to a three-year renovation – which will involve building a new main entrance, reopening the East Wing, and rehanging each of their 195,000 portraits – you won’t be visiting the National Portrait Gallery again for almost three years. At least it’ll all be shiny and new next time you visit though! Read all about the transformation here.
Also published on Medium.