No trip to London is complete without at least a stunning look beyond Burlington House which is home to, among other things, the Royal Academy of Arts.
Built in the Palladian style circa 1720 for the Earl of Burlington it is one of the few buildings to have survived from that era. Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child welcomes you at the entrance to the gallery and is part of a permanent collection. It is one of only four works by a sculptor whose office is outside Italy.
The Academy is a stone’s throw from Green Park or Piccadilly tube stations or a short and pleasant walk if you’re staying at one of the hotels in Mayfair. This can be combined with other interesting places nearby such as Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square and Soho. The many shops on Oxford street, Bond street and Regent street are literally on the corner when you have as much culture as you can take in and it’s worth spending a whole day because you never know where you might be interrupted next.
The Royal Academy is famous for its 240 years of summer exhibitions.
It is a large collection of paintings and sculptures by living Royal academics and a large number of other contemporary and unknown artists. The rest of the year the Academy hosts temporary exhibitions, details of which can be obtained from a concierge at one of the Mayfair hotels during your stay. It’s worth investigating as soon as you arrive because popular artists sell out fast. Prices vary depending on the exhibition but start at £ 12 – that’s a small price to pay for a small piece of history that will stay with you forever.