Category Archives: museums

Faces of Britain

The BP Portrait Award show is typically an easy-to-digest affair at the National Portrait Gallery. Craig Wylie look home £25,000 for his winning entry (left) and gets a £4,000 commission. Museumgoers even have a say, voting for the BP Visitors’ Choice award. More of Britain’s finest at the bottom of the post. 

The museum is on the backside of the much larger, slower-to-digest National Gallery, which faces Trafalgar Square. (Pigeons! The pigeons!) But also on the square is a “scandalous” sculpture of a disabled pregnant woman by Marc Quinn. 

Getting there: Northern or Bakerloo lines to Charing Cross, then walk north past St. Martin’s in the Fields.


Modern English

This summer the Tate Modern is featuring Cy Twombly, big street art and urban photography. Could it get any better? Did we mention it has a decent café and plenty of nice restrooms? The balconies are a great place to sit and snack and look at the North Bank. Starchitects Herzog & de Meuron handled the renovation with panache and aplomb. If everyone’s up for it, walk to the museum over the Sir Norman Foster-designed, pedestrian-only Millennium Bridge from St. Paul’s.

Getting there: (Via the bridge) District/Circle lines to Blackfriars, walk to St. Paul’s then south.(Via Southbank) Northern line to London Bridge, walk west along Southbank


Courtyard by Foster

“I viewed the morning with much alarm. The British Museum has lost its charm.” So wrote George Gershwin in the song “A Foggy Day” — decades before Sir Norman Foster built the charming new central courtyard. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the courtyard is open until 11 p.m.! Right now, there’s a juicy show featuring American art: “The American Scene features around 150 outstanding prints by 74 leading modern American artists, including George Bellows, Edward Hopper, Grant Wood, Josef Albers, Alexander Calder, Louise Bourgeois and Jackson Pollock.” Really nice gift shops and the ultimate in translation hardware.  

Getting there: Take the Northern line tube to Tottenham Court Road. Or get out one stop earlier at Goodge Street, which has a working elevator instead of escalators, and walk down Tottenham Court Road. 


Getting there is half the fun


Smack dab in Covent Garden is the London Transport Museum. It’s filled with things that go vroom for little (and grown-up) transport fans. Very good gift shop with a nice selection of posters. The museum is near the Royal Opera House. And while there aren’t any loverly singing guttersnipes out there nowadays, there are usually street performers (fire jugglers, musicians) and a few places to sit and have a snack.

Getting there: Northern line to Leicester Square or Piccadilly line to Covent Garden