Open House Festival

Burlington House: Royal Academy of Arts

gallery

Various architects, 1660

Piccadilly, W1J 0BD

Visit hidden spaces not usually open to the public, including the newly restored Royal Academy Schools and the original residence of the RA's 'Keeper'.

Getting there

Tube

Green Park, Piccadilly Circus

Bus

14, 19, 38, 6, 9

Access

Facilities

Create a free visitor account to book festival tickets

Drop in activities

Sat 21 Sep

10:00–18:00

Drop in: Keeper's House

10:30–15:30

Drop in: Fine Rooms

There will be six 10-minute spotlight talks throughout the day, taking place at 10.30am, 11.30am , 12.30pm, 1.30pm, 2.30pm and 3.30pm.

12:00–16:00

Drop in: Royal Academy Schools

There will be four 10-minute spotlight talks throughout the day, taking place at 12pm, 2pm, 3pm, and 4pm.

Activities

Sat 21 Sep

Guided tour

11:00–12:00

RA Library Tours

Please note that spaces are limited and must be booked in advance.

How to book

Please create a free visitor account to book your festival tickets.

Guided tour

13:00–14:00

RA Library Tours

Please note that spaces are limited and must be booked in advance.

How to book

Please create a free visitor account to book your festival tickets.

About

The Royal Academy

The Royal Academy of Arts is a place where art is made, exhibited and debated. Along with temporary art exhibitions, it houses a working art school, free displays of objects from the RA Collection, and shops, cafés and private member spaces.

Burlington House is the last surviving palace of four, which once lined Piccadilly in the 1660s. Originally owned by the Earls of Burlington, it was purchased by the government in 1854, and it served as the headquarters of various learned societies. In 1867, the Royal Academy was granted a 999-year lease. It then erected its top-lit Main Galleries, art school and a third floor, all designed by architect Sidney Smirke RA.

In 2001, the Royal Academy purchased 6 Burlington Gardens, located directly north of Burlington House. With Heritage Lottery Funding, a new, central route between the sites united the two-acre campus in 2018, the product of a transformational redevelopment by Sir David Chipperfield RA. The final stage of this project was the restoration and modernisation of the Royal Academy Schools, which was completed in May 2024.

Fine Rooms

The Fine Rooms have been described as some of the finest early eighteenth-century interiors in England, with decoration designed by William Kent. Now used as private entertainment spaces, they also include changing art hangs from the RA Collection.

A member of our Collections team will be hosting free, drop-in 10-minute spotlight talks throughout the day, taking place at 10.30am, 11.30am, 12.30pm, 1.30pm, 2.30pm and 3.30pm.

Royal Academy Schools

A key part of the Royal Academy since its foundation in 1768, the RA Schools is the longest established school of fine art in the UK.

This year, celebrate the RA Schools reopening after a restoration project to preserve the historic spaces. Explore the newly unveiled RA Schools library, wander through the historic Cast Corridor, and discover the Life Room where generations of students mastered life drawing.

A member of the RA Schools team will be hosting free, drop-in 10-minute spotlight talks throughout the day, taking place at 12pm, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm.

Keeper's House

The Keeper’s House has been a home for artists and art lovers for over 150 years. Built in the 1870s as the central London residence for the Keeper of the Royal Academy, today it is a dedicated, private space for members of the RA.

Step inside the Keeper’s House to explore its hidden cocktail bar, garden oasis, all-day café and exclusive club room, the Academicians’ Room. Works of art by Royal Academicians and emerging artists line the walls and you’ll have an opportunity to encounter our featured selling displays including work by Bob & Roberta Smith RA.

Royal Academy Library

Established at the time of the Academy’s foundation in 1768 to serve the needs of the Members of the Royal Academy and students in its Schools, the Royal Academy of Arts Library is the oldest institutional fine arts library in the United Kingdom.

Join Adam Waterton, the RA’s Head of Library Services, as he talks visitors through the RA’s architectural history. We are running two, bookable guided tours at 11am and 1pm. Please note that spaces are limited and must be booked in advance.

Online presence

www.royalacademy.org.uk

www.instagram.com/royalacademyarts

Nearby

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