As well as keeping abreast of the best hotel rewards, any savvy traveller with plans to visit London must check out one of the city’s best galleries dedicated to contemporary art, the Saatchi Gallery!
This West London institution is known for exhibiting and promoting the works of unknown and emerging artists. The development team scout out the most interesting artists of today, which makes a trip to the gallery a unique experience for any art aficionado. Don’t be surprised if you spot the names of unfamiliar artists in the gallery – you may well be looking at the Next Big Thing in the art world!
The Saatchi Gallery in a nutshell
Charles Saatchi opened the Saatchi Gallery in 1985 to exhibit his own private collection to the public. Artists shown at the gallery have included Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin and Rachel Whiteread. In 2010, he gifted the gallery and his collection of over 200 works to the British public.
The gallery admits free entry, with exception to its special exhibitions. It is the only free-entry contemporary art gallery of its size in the world. It is located in one of London’s most affluent areas, Chelsea, which forms the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. This is actually the third location that the gallery has called home in its 35 years.
If you are looking at things to do near your Kensington London hotel, then add a trip to the Saatchi to the top of your agenda. The nearby King’s Road is a mecca for shoppers, and is where you can find a mix of designer labels, high-street staples and boutique eateries. Do factor in time for a stroll after your trip to the gallery!
What’s On at the Saatchi Gallery?
The current, hotly anticipated exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery will transport you back in time to the fascinating realm of Ancient Egypt. Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh commemorates the 100th anniversary of the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb by British archaeologist, Howard Carter.
The contents of the tomb were crafted over 3,000 years ago by the greatest artists at that time in Ancient Egypt. The artists were commissioned to produce various tokens and objects that it was believed would be essential for the young pharaoh to have with him in the afterlife. A little over 150 of these items are exhibited at the show.
Within the tomb, archaeologists discovered furniture to keep Tutankhamun comfortable. There were games to occupy him, paintings to entertain him, jewellery to adorn him. The tomb was plastered in trinkets cast from gold, precious jewels and every colour under the sun. Nothing was spared for young Tutankhamun!
Besides a selection of some of the best preserved artefacts from the tomb, the exhibition even features a model replica of Tutankhamun’s mummy and his death mask. The real remains and mask are still in Egypt, as they are far too fragile to travel, but the likeness is uncanny.
The touring exhibition has already been a success in Los Angeles and Paris, and continues its odyssey with a further six galleries after the Saatchi Gallery. Now, if you’ve managed to shave some pennies off your trip to London thanks to the Grand Royale London Hyde Park loyalty program, make sure you snap up some tickets before they all go!
As part of the exhibition, artists-in-residence at the Saatchi Gallery have created their own visual response to the artefacts and themes explored in the Tutankhamun exhibition.
Talks, events and membership
The Saatchi Gallery run a series of talks, debates and workshops throughout the year in relation to their current exhibitions. Check the website for further information including dates, prices and speakers.
If you plan to make a habit of visiting the Saatchi whilst reaping the benefits of the best hotel rewards, you might want to consider purchasing gallery membership. This gives you exclusive access to events such as launches, Members Lates and priority access to tickets. You also get discounts in the gift shop, restaurant and cafè, as well as reduced rates in local, secure carparks!
Eating and drinking at the Saatchi Gallery
Saatchi have appointed Searcys as their gallery restaurant, located in their lower ground floor cafè space. Save some time to stop by and enjoy a gourmet meal at their bar and brasserie. Or at the very least, clink a glass of champagne before dining back at your Kensington London hotel.
The menu is seasonal and celebrates sustainable produce. Highlights include roasted ham and cheddar on sourdough and Middle Eastern influences, such as the feta, spinach and za’atar sourdough pocket. They also have a selection of freshly baked cakes, an array of teas, and an extensive menu of wines and champagnes!
If you’re looking for a special souvenir to take back home for either yourself or a loved one, the Saatchi gift shop carries an eclectic collection of arty keepsakes. You can choose from graphic prints, tote bags, tee-shirts, books and jewellery.
Practical Information: Plan your visit to the Saatchi Gallery
- The Saatchi Gallery is located at Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road, London SW3 4RY.
- The gallery is open Mon – Weds; 9.30am – 7pm, Thu & Fri; 9.30am – 10pm, Sat; 9am – 10pm and Sun; 9am – 7pm.
- The closest Underground station is Sloane Square, less than 5 minutes’ walk away.
- London Victoria is the nearest mainline railway station and is a 15 minutes’ walk from the gallery.
- The gallery is well-served by London buses; routes 11, 19, 22, 49, 211 and 319 stop on King’s Road.
- Entry to the Saatchi Gallery is usually free. However, throughout the Tutankhamun exhibition charges apply.
- Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh runs until Sun 3 May 2020. Tickets for the exhibition must be purchased in advance. This can be arranged online. Do book early, to avoid disappointment.
- Assisted or ramp access is available at the main entrance. All floors have lifts and there is level access between the galleries on each floor. Wheelchairs are available upon request.