An Art Lover’s Tour of London, Somerset & Wiltshire
London's art scene is awash with talent. Combine seeing greats of the Renaissance with the best modern artists of our time on this six-day art lover's tour of London.
Itinerary at a Glance:
- Visit the Wallace Collection before the doors are open to the general public
- Enjoy canapes and cocktails at London's iconic National Gallery
- Roam the grand Apsley House, home to a little-known but excellent art collection
- Take art-inspired afternoon tea
- Head to the English countryside for art, architecture and landscapes
- Peruse the works at the royal residence Hampton Court Palace
When To Travel
Day 1: The Wallace Collection & the National Gallery
This morning you will be treated to a tour of the Wallace Collection before the renowned Marylebone museum is open to the general public. The Wallace Collection is home to an outstanding array of internationally recognised masterpieces of the arts., including paintings, sculptures, furniture, arms and armour and porcelain, there is something here to suit all interests. Finishing the tour with a classic English breakfast in the gallery's own conservatory restaurant in the stunning courtyard is the perfect way to fuel up before your next adventure.
From the Wallace Collection you will embark on an exclusive tour around some of central London's most prestigious galleries with your private guide. This is a truly special experience as you will get to meet the curators and get an expert's insight into the works on display.
After getting an understanding of the more 'under the radar' art in central London, it's time to get a private tour around the iconic National Gallery, which displays over 2,000 Western European paintings from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. Discover some of the world's most famous and treasured art by Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Gainsborough, Turner, Renoir and Van Gogh. It is a truly astonishing dive into some of the world's most magical and revered art that you could imagine.
This evening, you will get the chance to experience a private fine dining experience within the National Gallery itself. Sip on a cocktail under the gaze of Raphael's Madonna and savour a canape alongside the Bathers at La Grenouillere - this is a moment you will never forget!
Day 2: Art Classes, Afternoon Tea & Access All Areas Theatre
After being inspired by some of the world's greatest artists the previous evening, today it's time to try your own hand at creating art on your art lover's tour of London. After breakfast, your morning begins with a private drawing class of some of London's great sites. Set up al fresco on the banks of the River Thames for a masterclass that will bring out your inner artist. This wonderfully creative experience gives you a new perspective on the iconic sites of London as well as being somewhat meditative; as David Hockney once said, 'drawing helps you to put your thoughts in order. It can make you think in different ways.'
After your art class, you'll make your way to visit the grand Apsley House. Home of the first Duke of Wellington and his descendants and standing right in the heart of London, this grand Georgian building keeps one of the finest art collections in London. A true hidden gem, Velazquez and Rubens adorn the glittering interiors, providing an exquisite back drop to the numerous objects from emperors, tsars and royalty that were gifted to the Duke during his time here.
To top off your incredible start to the day, this afternoon you can enjoy the classic tradition of afternoon tea - with an artistic twist! A colourful collection of delicacies inspired by the Retro art of the 70s and 80s will tempt and tantalise you. Stylish, imaginative and most of all, delicious!
This evening your art lovers tour of London looks to another of the arts as you take a backstage tour of one of the world's leading theatres as it prepares to open its doors for the evening performance. Find out about the theatre's rich history, the recent redevelopment of the Royal Opera House and the background of the current productions. As the Royal Opera house is a fully working theatre you may end up seeing the Royal Ballet rehearsing, the royal artists preparing their costumes or the magnificent backstage technology in operation.
Day 3: Classics at Hampton Court Palace & Modern Street Art
This morning you will be collected by your private guide and driver and taken to Hampton Court Palace, the home of Henry VIII that sits on the edge of a vast and verdant park. Many people forget the quality of art that is on show at Hampton Court but it's not to be missed, with the range including prints, watercolours, pen and ink drawing and, of course, artworks from the Royal Collection. Think Rembrandt, Caravaggio and van Dyck - there is a masterpiece at every turn.
Having been a royal residence from the early 1500s until the 1730s, the palace was home to connoisseurs of the art world and as such assembled one of the most exquisite art collections of its kind in the world. A highlight is 'The Triumphs of Caesar' by Andrea Mantegna, one of the most integral artists of the early Italian Renaissance. To make the tour extra special you will have one of the world's leading art critics join you, imparting his incredible knowledge, insight and enthusiasm.
This afternoon, to contrast with your morning, you will be taken on an expert-led private tour of London's street art. Did you know that London is home to the largest and (arguably) best collection of street art in the world? That is, if you know where to look… You'll be taken on a guided tour to learn about this art for that is accessible to everyone and that allows people to feel free to express themselves in an alternative way. It gives London a unique personality and a wonderful contrast to the world-beating historical art that we have on show.
Day 4: Art and Architecture in Somerset
Today you'll be swapping London for the English countryside on your art lover's tour as you will head out of town with your private driver to Somerset. Your destination is the pioneering Hauser & Wirth Gallery. You will have a private tour around this world-class gallery and multi-purpose arts centre, which is a destination for experiencing art, architecture and landscape and which also supports an immersive artist-in-residence programme that encourages artists to be inspired by the idyllic surroundings.
After plenty of time to peruse, enjoy lunch at the Roth Bar & Grill that forms the heart of Hauser & Wirth. Combining gastronomy with contemporary art, this is a fresh and casual dining experience serving delicious and seasonal food.
Tonight you'll stay at a boutique townhouse that has been beautifully designed and with every single detail thought through. Stylish yet welcoming, and cosy yet polished, this is one of our favourite properties in the countryside. Small and unassuming, it also adjoins a restaurant that's home to one of the country's best chefs and his first venture outside of the capital. Championing farm-to-table principles and showcasing the best of Somerset's produce, a meal here makes for a memorable and special occasion. The intersection here between everyday life, food and art surrounds you and will provide conversation late into the candlelit night…
Day 5: Bespoke Jewelry & Country Galleries
It's time for a change of scenery this morning as you make your way to a private class in silversmithing by a local artist who creates unique hand-made, bespoke jewelry. Each piece begins in its natural raw state and is developed as a watercolour painting before it becomes recycled into an original piece of jewellery.
This afternoon, visit a local art gallery in the green county of Wiltshire. Set in an area of outstanding natural beauty; providing visitors with a unique gallery experience; and fften running talks and workshops, Messums is very much about engaging with the artistic endeavour and processes of various artists and creatives.
Day 6: Head for Home
Unfortunately, today is the last day of your art lover's tour of London, which means that it's time to head back to London to begin your journey home.
Breana, Rita and Susie are our experts for this itinerary and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.