Royal Academy: Best known for its annual extravaganza - the Summer Exhibition - the RA hosts a whole range of exhibitions. Upcoming shows not to be missed are Jasper Johns; ‘Something Re-sembling Truth’, and Dali/Duchamp, an exhibition that will explore how their outlook on art and life intersected.
V&A: A world leader for all things decorative arts and design. Admission is free, but for some of the more in-depth exhibitions, you’ll have to pay – like for the Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains exhibit, which we highly recommend. It also has some great cafes if you’re looking for somewhere to study off-campus.
Royal Court Theatre: Prides itself on being the ‘writer’s theatre’ showcasing some of the best scripts from upcoming and established play-wrights. Two of its plays – Cyprus Avenue, and The Children – featured in Guardian Theatre Critic Michael Billington’s top 10 list for 2016, and its production of the Ferryman earlier this year was so popular it has been revived for an extended run in the West End.
Tate Britain: Home to fantastic art and is another gallery that regularly throws its doors open late into the evening. Uniqlo Tate Lates take place on the last Friday of each month; go to enjoy live music, talks, and interactive workshops as well food and drink.
National Portrait Gallery: The cosier neigh-bour to the National Gallery, the NPG focuses just on portraits. The BP National Portrait Awards is being exhibited right now, brilliant for looking at the work of lesser known artists. Each Friday the gallery is open until 9 pm, a cocktail bar pops up, there’s live music, and a free drawing session (all materials provided) all as part of the Late Shift.
National Gallery: Right in the middle of London’s tourist heartland, the National Gallery houses everything fantastically alien-looking babies painted in the Middle Ages to the work of the Impressionists and Cubists, all for free. There are frequent excellent special exhibitions too; look out for Van Eyck and Pre Raphaelites, opening next week. The gift shop is great for arty posters (complete with handy student discounts) to liven up your new rooms.
Royal Opera House: The main venue for opera performances in London, the historical ROH runs an extensive programme of operas, ballets and contemporary genres ranging from classical productions to more experimental interpretations.
Donmar Warehouse: Located in Covent Garden, the Donmar Warehouse is home to exciting new writing, contemporary reappraisals of European classics and small-scale drama and musical theatre.
The Old Vic: Located in Waterloo – 10 minutes from Xenia Hall if you’re living that far out – the Old Vic puts on some of the most impressive pro-ductions in the capital outside the West End, for those of all ages.
The Young Vic: Also in Waterloo, the Young Vic Theatre was established in 1970 and showcases some fantastic theatre for fantastically low prices. The theatre claims to have the most ‘diverse and engaged audience in London’ and features a main auditorium with a seating plan that changes from production to production.
National Theatre: Reliably excellent, the NT is home to three theatres; the Olivier, Lyttleton and Dorfman. The roster is varied, from political dramas to blockbuster musicals, so there’s something for everybody.
Tate Modern: On the river at the South Bank, the Tate Modern is one of the most exciting venues in the capital for modern art. Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age Black Power, an exhibi-tion exploring the rich and varied legacy of the African American artists working during the Civil Rights Era is on at the moment.
English National Opera: The ENO is the second-largest opera company in London, but with all its performances sung in English. A good introduction to the world of opera, the ENO has a calendar of classical pieces and contemporary works.
The Barbican: With an auditorium housing the London Symphony and the BBC Symphony Orchestras, a theatre housing the Royal Shakespeare Company, as well as a gallery, cinema, and library, the Barbican is largest performing arts centre in Europe. Basically, it’s arts Mecca. It’s ‘What’s On’ section is jammed packed year-round so anything and everything you could hope to see is here. On top of that, it’s housed in a Grade II listed building which itself is worth a visit.
Whitechapel Gallery: Near Brick Lane where all the top curry houses in London are, the Whitechapel gallery is the one of the most interesting venues in the capital, a longtime champion of all types of con-temporary art, particularly film. The Whitechapel often has its finger on the pulse of what’s about to make it big in the world of art.