The V&A is a must if you are interested in fashion, decorative arts and sculpture. They have recently re-opened their photographs gallery which includes key works by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Man Ray and Afred Stieglitz. The V & A is also the home of the beautiful National Art Library which houses a huge selections of fine and decorative arts reference books. Look out for their Friday Lates events and the shop is a must (one of the best places to pick up interesting gifts!)
V & A – Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL.
Camden Arts Centre is a contemporary arts space with an exciting international arts programme. The shows are often thoughtful and intelligent within a relaxed atmosphere. There is a good little bookshop and a café that holds barbecues in the Summertime and various art eduation courses. Despite its name, Camden Arts Centre is actually closer to Hampstead than Camden so can be combined with a walk on the heath
Arkwright Road, London NW3 6DG. tel – 020 7472 5500
The Hayward Gallery is one of London’s largest contemporary exhibition spaces. Recent and future exhibitions include Pipilotti Rist, David Shrigley and Jeremy Deller. Located within the ‘Brutalist’ Southbankcentre it is worth stopping off at the Concrete café/bar which serves coffee, seasonal stews and soups and freshly made cocktails (happy hour is from 5-7pm)
Hayward Gallery, South Bank, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX. tel – 020 7928 4123
The Serpentine Gallery is located in the attractive Kensignton Gardens in Hyde Park. There is an exciting rolling programme of contemporary exhibitions with the addition of a Summer Pavillion (where every year a different architect is commissioned to deisgn a pavillion in the adjacent gardens) The bookshop, Koenig Books , is small but brilliant.
Serpentine – Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, London W2 3XA. tel – 0207 402 6075