Even those who have solely business justifications for their overnight stays at London Heathrow hotels like the Atrium may often find themselves with time to burn in the capital due to a cancelled meeting, missed flight or other last-minute changes in plan. Alternatively, you may reserve a room with us for a recreational visit to London – in which case, why not take in an art gallery or two?
There is simply no superior place in the world to London when you wish to visit multiple hugely stimulating and interesting contemporary art galleries as part of your trip. Here are some of the most unsung of those that the British capital has to offer.
South London Gallery
Established in 1891, the one-time South London Art Gallery may have been destined to remain ‘just another’ staid art gallery in the capital, until – in 1992 – it changed its name to simply ‘South London Gallery’ and embraced the then-emerging era of rebellious ‘Britart’. The Peckham Road institution continues to hold all manner of sophisticated exhibitions.
Formerly helmed by the renowned academic Professor Stuart Hall, Iniva – also known as the Institute of International Visual Arts – is an especially intellectually rigorous place to appreciate art, particularly given its emphasis on reflecting the diversity of British culture since it was launched in 1994. You’ll find it at the Rivington Place arts centre in Shoreditch, near Old Street and Liverpool Street tube stations.
Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art
Parasol Unit, located at 14 Wharf Road, is among the many new contemporary art galleries to have opened in the capital in the 21st century, having been instrumental in the careers of such artists as Charles Avery, Yang Fudong and Cecily Brown. It is important to note that the gallery is presently closed for the summer, but will reopen in late September for the exhibition Heidi Bucher.
White Cube is owned and run by the Old Etonian art dealer Jay Jopling, and has operated at a variety of sites in London and beyond down the years, including Hoxton Square, which closed in 2012. Today, the gallery has two London sites, at Bermondsey and Mason’s Yard, which are together currently hosting the exhibition Memory Palace until 2nd September.
Camden Arts Centre
It may not exactly resemble a cutting-edge contemporary art gallery from the outside – its building having housed Hampstead Central Library for many years – but Camden Arts Centre is definitely a rewarding place to look at art, thanks to its light and airy gallery spaces and a superb restaurant and bookshop. It has been hosting a wealth of thought-provoking exhibitions since opening in 1965.
If there’s one city in the world that knows how to ‘do’ contemporary art, it is London – so when you book a room in any of the many comfortable and well-situated London Heathrow hotels such as the Atrium, which not take the chance to explore some of the capital’s artistic gems?