Royal Academy of Arts

Oluwatosin Michael
Feb 14, 2024 By Oluwatosin Michael
Originally Published on Oct 07, 2021
Exterior and courtyard of the Royal Academy of Arts in London.
Age: 5+
Read time: 3.7 Min

  • Known colloquially as the RA, the Royal Academy of Arts is a renowned institution in the heart of London’s Piccadilly, located in the magnificent Burlington House.
  • It is an independent and privately-funded institution led by some of the most prominent artists and architects working today.
  • Established over 250 years ago, the RA is home to Britain’s longest running art school and hosts exhibitions from the biggest names in art and architecture from around the world.

One of London’s most acclaimed art institutions, the Royal Academy of Arts, is not just a world-class gallery but also an academy and art school, promoting the practice of art as well as its visual appreciation. It was established in 1768 by President Joshua Reynolds and a group of prominent founders, including Thomas Gainsborough, Benjamin West, William Chambers, Angelica Kauffman and Mary Moser, its only two female founders. The RA is still today led by practicing artists and architects, a team of Royal Academicians nominated by their peers, and relies entirely on the support of visitors, sponsors, donors and Friends of the Royal Academy as an independent charity. In 2019, the RA elected its first ever female President, British abstract artist Rebecca Salter.

For more than 250 years, the Royal Academy has been hosting some of the biggest names in art from around the world and a huge range of blockbuster exhibitions from ancient sculpture and innovative architecture to the beloved Impressionists and most contemporary painters. Its stunning Burlington walls has housed some of the biggest art exhibitions in London from the likes of Claude Monet, Lucien Freud, Tracy Emin, Edvard Munch, David Hockney, Vincent Van Gogh, William Turner and countless more. Royal Academy of Arts events take place throughout the year for their academy artists and the general public, with one of their most famous events being the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition, which is the largest open-submission exhibition in the world. 

A child at a workshop at the Royal Academy of Arts hanging up some pictures.

This renowned London museum and gallery also offers a host of tailored events for students, children and families, with interactive workshops and talks throughout the year as well as their fabulous Art Detectives pack, encouraging children to engage with the pieces around them. The RA also hosts sensory sessions for those with certain special needs and community initiatives such as their Art Club, with creative sessions tailored to those suffering from homelessness. 

Whether your family are budding artists or reluctant gallery-goers, you’re bound to find something everyone can enjoy at the Royal Academy of Arts and its gorgeous Burlington House and Gardens. Afterwards, why not take a scenic stroll through St. James’s Park just nearby?

What to know before you go

  • The Royal Academy of Arts opening times are currently Wednesday to Sunday, 11am - 5pm.
  • There are multiple places to eat and drink on site within Burlington House. The main Royal Academy of Arts restaurant, the RA Café, serves salads, sandwiches, hot food and sweet treats on their open-counter food bars, and quick refreshments can be found at the Poster Bar, Senate Room and open air Courtyard Café and Bar.
  • There are baby-changing facilities at Burlington House and Burlington Gardens and high chairs are available at all on-site eateries.
  • Buggies can be brought into the exhibitions or stored in the cloakroom, along with bags and luggage.
  • The Royal Academy of Arts is fully accessible for wheelchair users and buggies. There are step-free access routes and lifts throughout the venue, accessible toilets on site, and assistant dogs are welcome. Wheelchairs and portable stools can be pre-booked and borrowed for your visit.
  • Induction loops, audio guides, BSL support and transcripts are also available for the exhibitions. The Royal Academy of Arts sensing spaces and multi-sensory workshops taking place throughout the year are also hugely popular.

Getting there

  • The Royal Academy of Arts is located at Burlington House, in the heart of Piccadilly and Mayfair.
  • The RA encourages visitors to cycle as much as possible and offers bike racks at the venue.
  • Parking can be found at Q-Park Burlington Street.
  • Green Park Tube station, serving the Jubilee, Piccadilly and Victoria lines, and Piccadilly Circus station, serving Bakerloo and Piccadilly lines, are both a five-minute walk to the venue. Bond Street and Oxford Circus are also both within half a mile of the Burlington Gardens entrance.
  • Bus routes 6, 12, 14, 19, 38, 88, 94 and 453 service the RA. The nearest bus stops are Regent Street/St. James’s (stop Y) and Old Bond Street (stop L).

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Written by Oluwatosin Michael

Bachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

Oluwatosin Michael picture

Oluwatosin MichaelBachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

With a Bachelor's in Microbiology from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Oluwatosin has honed his skills as an SEO content writer, editor, and growth manager. He has written articles, conducted extensive research, and optimized content for search engines. His expertise extends to leading link-building efforts and revising onboarding strategies. 

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