London - The Courtauld Gallery & Somerset House

Traffic at a busy London intersection near Somerset House.

There are so many must visit museums in London that it can be overwhelming (and expensive!) to fit them all into one vacation. At the top of my must list is a visit to The Courtauld Gallery. Housing one of the best collections of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works outside of France, The Courtauld features pivotal works by Manet and Van Gogh. When each painting represents the best of the artist's ouerve, the one or two hours you spend will feel like just a few minutes.

The entrance to London's Courtauld Gallery at Somerset House.
A wide angle view of Somerset House, home of The Courtauld Gallery, in London.
An artist sketches a pair of Degas statues at London's Courtauld Gallery.

Not only is the collection fantastic, but the space is a delight as well. The pastel walls, detailed crown work, and blond wood floors lend a bright airy feel to the gallery. It's a well proportioned museum that will leave you satisfied without the fatigue that comes with a visit to a bigger museum like London's massive National Gallery. Admission is cheapest on Mondays, £3 and the crowds are perfectly manageable, despite the discount. I promise it will be the best £3 you spend in London.

Don't miss Manet's masterpiece 'A Bar at the Folies-Bergère' while visiting The Courtauld Gallery.
A pair of Degas' famous bronze ballet dancer statues on display at London's Courtauld Gallery.
Even the ceiling is lovely at London's Courtauld Gallery.
Katy examines a map of The Courtauld Gallery while a Cezanne portrait looks on in the background.

The Courtauld Gallery sits inside the grand Somerset House, which is well worth a wander in its own right (check out all of the pretty staircases!) The cutting edge temporary exhibits in the main house are often free. The huge courtyard is converted into a skating rink in the winter, while featuring concerts and other cultural events during the rest of the year. If you have money to burn, splurge at the stylish Rizzoli Bookshop or fill up at the hipster-ish cafe.

There are multiple beautiful staircases scattered around the Courtauld Gallery and Somserset House.
Is it just me or are these two bros twinsies with Ted Mosby and Marshall Eriksen from the tv show 'How I Met Your Mother'.
A contemporary art exhibit housed in the historical basement of London's Somerset House.
An abandoned tube station near Somserset House in London, England.
After Somserset House we wandered a bit, meandering through the busy markets and shops of Covent Garden until we found ourselves at London's Chinatown. First some window shopping and then lunch at Viet Pho. I had the namesake soup, Katy some stir fried noodles, it was all just fine but nothing better than what can be found at home here in Bloomington.

Now entering London's Chinatown.
Fried donuts through a window in London's Chinatown.
Peking Duck on display in a Chinatown shop in London.
A walk through London's Chinatown.


  1. I recently visited both and agree, they are stunning. Lovely pictures.

  2. Beautiful photos as always! If you have the time on your visit to London, take a look at Leighton House Museum! It has the most beautiful and unique hall, and normally has some excellent exhibitions on Arabian and Middle Eastern artwork on display! You can see some photos of it here: http://amorexplore.co.uk/blog/if-you-do-one-thing-in-london-this-month-10/

    1. Thanks Kristen! Leighton House looks gorgeous. I hope I get back to London soon to see it!


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