Best art exhibitions in London 2021

Don't miss out on the best London art exhibitions, in recently reopened galleries or from the comfort of your own home.
A repeated motif of Marilyn Monroe's face is shown in brightly coloured variations on the left and in greyscale on the right.
Andy Warhol, Marilyn Diptych, 1962. Image courtesy of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Inc, Artists Right Society, New York and DACS, London, 2019.

Many galleries in London have an exciting lineup of exhibitions allowing you to get your art fix. 

London's galleries are due to reopen on 17 May at the earliest, following the proposed easing of coronavirus restrictions. Check back nearer the time for confirmation and be aware that some venues listed may still be closed after that date. You may also need to book tickets in advance, even if entrance is free.

New exhibitions in London

Get ready to admire amazing artworks with some of these top exhibitions in London.

1. Faces of a Queen at Queen's House Greenwich

See all three versions of the famous Armada Portraits of Queen Elizabeth I, as Queen's House Greenwich brings the elaborate works together for the first time. Faces of a Queen explores how the works mark the failed attempt of the Spanish Armada to invade England in 1588, and examines how each of the portraits differs. Ongoing 

2. Raphael Cartoons at the V&A

Feast your eyes on one of the greatest treasures of the Renaissance, the Raphael Cartoons at the V&A. View all seven of the full-scale designs for tapestry painted by Raphael. Raphael Court, home to the cartoons, reopens following a nine-month refurbishment to mark the 500th anniversary of the artist’s death. From 14 Nov

3. Andy Warhol at Tate Modern

Modern art doesn't get much more iconic than Andy Warhol's vibrant pop-art prints. Tate Modern takes you through a journey of the artist’s works – including the iconic Campbell’s soup cans and Marilyn Monroe images – as it reflects on his personal story during times of social, political and technological change. Until 15 Nov

4. Summer Exhibition 2020 at the Royal Academy of Arts

Postponed from summer for the first time in history, the Royal Academy of ArtsSummer Exhibition 2020 brings together artworks from big names and emerging stars. You can view works by artists including Tracey Emin, Ai Weiwei and Gillian Wearing, or treat yourself to your very own artwork to take home. Until 3 Jan

5. Titian: Love, Desire, Death at National Gallery

Visit the National Gallery for a groundbreaking exhibition of Titian’s works. The 16th-century painter is put in focus with Titian: Love, Desire, Death, showcasing six paintings based on myths and legends from Ovid’s Metamorphoses that are reunited for the first time in more than 400 years. Until 17 Jan

6. Steve McQueen Year 3 at Tate Britain

See the Steve McQueen Year 3 exhibition by the Turner Prize-winning artist and Oscar-winning filmmaker at Tate Britain. McQueen invited every year three pupil in London to have their photograph taken to showcase the capital's future, and the results are now on display for all to see. Until 31 Jan

7. Unfinished Business: The Fight for Women's Rights at the British Library

Hear the voices and stories of women through the ages with Unfinished Business: The Fight for Women’s Rights at the British Library. Learn how women have fought for equality with passion, imagination and humour, and view campaigns by organisations including gal-dem, Bloody Good Period and STEMettes. Until 21 Feb

8. Turner's Modern World at Tate Britain

Discover major works by J.M.W. Turner at Tate Britain, including The Fighting Temeraire 1839 and Rain, Steam and Speed 1844. Find out what it meant to be an artist during the industrial revolution with Turner’s Modern World, and see how that period of time brought a new perspective on life. Until 7 March

9. Zanele Muholi at Tate Modern

Visit Tate Modern to see an exhibition by Zanele Muholi, showcasing the lives of South Africa’s Black LGBTQIA+ communities. View more than 260 photographs from several different series produced by Muholi, which capture passionate moments, traumatic events and powerful self-portraits. 5 Nov-17 Mar

Exhibitions to enjoy from home

Wherever you are, you can access these London exhibitions from the comfort of your own home.

10. Picasso and Paper at The Royal Academy of Arts

Embark on a paper trail of Pablo Picasso’s works with a 40-minute video tour of the Royal Academy of Arts’ recent exhibition Picasso and Paper. Spot some of the 300 works, including studies for Guernica, collages and cut-outs from the artist’s 80-year career.

11. BP Portrait Award 2020 at National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery’s annual BP Portrait Award exhibition moves online this year, due to the gallery’s three-year refurbishment. Move yourself through the gallery, stopping to see the portraits, which were selected from nearly 2,000 entries from across the world.

12. Stories of Black Leadership II: Breaking Barriers at Black Cultural Archives

Explore the lives of five pioneering Black British women who have overcome adversity to be leaders in their fields and in the public realm, with Stories of Black Leadership II: Breaking Barriers. This online exhibition is made up of a series of photo portraits by award-winning photographer Joy Gregory and is presented by Black Cultural Archives

13. The Black House at Michael Hoppen Gallery

Be transported back to London in the 1970s, as you discover what life was like for Black youths living in a hostel, The Black House, in Holloway Road. Colin Jones’ photographs for this Michael Hoppen Gallery online exhibition create a snapshot of social history from the time, following the men who lived going about their everyday lives.

14. Can't Stop Our Flow at J/M Gallery

See how Black artistic expression is celebrated with the online Can't Stop Our Flow exhibition. Discover works from 11 artists from the UK, Caribbean and Africa, including Oluwole Omofemi, Catherine Lucktaylor, Onome Otite and Yermine Richardson

15. The Hidden City by Emile Holba in the City of London

Seek out secret spots in the City of London with a series of photography exhibitions as part of The Hidden City by Emile Holba. The 2019 winner of the British Journal of Photography Portrait of Britain Awards delves into untold stories of the Culture Mile, the peculiarities of Barts Pathology Museum and goes behind the scenes at the Museum of London.

16. Illuminated River

Fancy a trip along the Thames without moving an inch? Spot the Illuminated River art installations across four London bridges with a virtual Google Arts & Culture tour. Switch between London Bridge, Canon Street Railway Bridge, Southwark Bridge and Millennium Bridge using a nifty 360-degree tool.

If you're in London, why not see it for real with a walk along the Thames.

17. Unquiet Moments: Capturing the Everyday at The Courtauld Gallery

The Courtauld Gallery’s doors may be closed, but you can still see its masterpieces up close on a virtual tour around seven rooms that house works by Édouard Manet and Vincent van Gogh. Also browse its online exhibition, Unquiet Moments: Capturing the Everyday, which celebrates moments of everyday life, from joy to despair.

Discover more fun things to do from home with our Virtually London guide

Find more of the latest exhibitions in London with our pick of the best museum exhibitions, or download the Visit London app for more inspiration.