Eddie Saint-Jean is an arts/culture/heritage writer and the editor of London magazine What’s Hot London? He’s a London expert who writes articles and guides about the capital’s historical and cultural attractions.
London’s Cultural Centres
Somerset House is a sprawling arts centre with a fascinating history. This neoclassical-Georgian building forms a grand-looking quadrangle with an equally grand courtyard and hosts a wide range of cultural events throughout the year. Centuries ago, its undoubted magnificence attracted owners such as Elizabeth I and visitors like Admiral Horatio Nelson.
Within its grounds, you’ll find the Courtauld Gallery which has a permanent collection of Impressionist and Post Impressionist works. The Art Cafe just opposite the gallery is perfectly located for a coffee break or lunch.
For more about the Courtauld Gallery’s Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art, read my article
Southbank’s blocky Brutalist architecture is its stand out feature. It gives it the look of a dystopian kingdom quite separate from the rest of London. But this cultural hub is also a centre for art, film, theatre, poetry and the performing arts.
In Southbank you’ll find the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, BFI Southbank, the National Theatre, the Hayward Gallery and a buzzing second-hand book market under the bridge and just opposite BFI Southbank.
For more about Southbank’s Brutalist architecture, read my article