Museums

Covent Garden is surrounded by esteemed establishments boasting some of the most exquisite collections in London.

Lovers of art can enjoy the nearby exhibits at the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery or simply stroll across the Strand to Somerset House, where the Courtauld Gallery exhibits a collection of famous Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masterpieces.

Bond, Buses and Britain

London Transport Museum

London Transport Museum brings to life the history of London’s public transport network — its buses, trains, tubes and taxis, from the 19th century to the present day, the Museum appeals to young people and adults alike.  With an emphasis on interactivity, the exhibits range from impressive historic vehicles to striking examples of the transport network’s famous poster art and graphic design.

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London Film Museum

The London Film Museum has an unprecedented number of James Bond’s infamous motorised purveyors of mayhem. Exhibits include the yellow and black 1937 Rolls-Royce Phantom III Sedanca de Ville driven by the eponymous baddy in Goldfinger, the classic Ford Mustang Mach 1 from Diamonds Are Forever, and the sleek Lotus Esprit S1 from The Spy Who Loved Me which converts into a submarine.

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British Museum

A short walk from Covent Garden stands one of the world’s greatest museums — a repository of extraordinary artefacts covering almost 2 million years of human history, all housed in a magnificent neo-classical building. With a permanent collection that includes the Elgin marbles, the Rosetta stone and the Sutton Hoo helmet, and a rolling programme of themed exhibitions that draw together items of historical importance from all over the world, the British Museum is a place where the past is brought to life in a spectacular way.

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The Galleries

National Gallery

At the edge of Covent Garden, dominating the top of Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery houses one of the world’s most impressive collections of Western European paintings. Owned by the nation, these works of art date from between the 13th and the 19th centuries, including masterpieces by many of the greatest talents ever to have applied paint to canvas: Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Titian, Goya, Degas, Cézanne, Turner. Among the most popular exhibits are Hans Holbein’s The Ambassadors, Claude Monet’s The Water Lily Pond and Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers.

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National Portrait Gallery

Facing out towards Covent Garden, the NPG is the world’s oldest gallery dedicated to the art of portraiture, with a collection dating from the 16th century to the present day. Founded in 1856, the National Portrait Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. With over 1000 portraits on display across three floors, from Elizabeth I to David Beckham, the Gallery has something for everyone. Artists featured range from Holbein to Hockney, and the Collection includes work across all media, from painting and sculpture to photography and video.

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The Courtauld Gallery

Come face to face with world-famous masterpieces such as Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergère and Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear. Visitors can enjoy The Courtauld Gallery's remarkable art collection, including their unrivalled Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings; including works by Monet, Degas, Gauguin and the largest collection of Cézannes in the UK.The displays range from the early Renaissance into the 20th century, with works by Cranach, Rubens, Modigliani, and Picasso. It houses a major collection of Old Master paintings and is one of the few museums in the country to display a rich selection of early 20th century.

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Something a bit different

Somerset House

Somerset House is a new kind of arts centre in the heart of London, designed for today’s audiences and creatives. Offering a diverse and dynamic public programme of contemporary arts and culture, they are also a home to a large community of creative businesses, artists and makers, including Somerset House Studios. Somerset House’s year-round cultural programme spans the contemporary arts in all its forms including events and exhibitions. From its 18th-century origins, Somerset House has been a centre for debate and discussion including the first home of the Royal Academy of Arts and other learned societies – an intellectual powerhouse for the nation.

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Sir John Soane’s Museum

Part time machine, part treasure trove, Sir John Soane’s Museum was the house of a famous neo-classical architect who, on his death in 1837, bequeathed the building and its extraordinary contents to the public on the condition that it be preserved exactly as he left it. Soane was an avid collector of books, art and antiquities, including Hogarth’s A Rake’s Progress, paintings by JMW Turner and Canaletto, the alabaster sarcophagus of Seti I, and thousands of architectural drawings and historical volumes. As well as Soane’s own collections, the museum hosts a full programme of temporary exhibitions.

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Museum of Freemasonry

At Museum of Freemasonry, their goal is to help you learn about freemasonry in all its cultural richness. If you’re a freemason, the Museum is a treasure trove for exploration. If you’re not a freemason, it’s the perfect place to visit and discover what freemasonry is all about. Their exhibitions and events illuminate the history of freemasonry, explore its traditions and values, and reveal its significance through the ages and around the world.

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Somerset House: I Should Be Doing Something Else Right Now

Somerset House Studios presents the second season of its new permanent exhibition space, Gallery 31. In light of recent world events, we have also expanded this exhibition theme online to frame our new cultural programme.

Gallery 31 is a new permanent exhibition space dedicated to profiling the Studios community and work developed through our residencies. With a rolling programme and a different theme each season, Gallery 31 presents a curated selection of new commissions alongside existing and in-progress works.

→ Discover What's On at Somerset House

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