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Dulwich Picture Gallery – And A Whole Lot More

Published 20 August 2012

When you think of London art galleries, the Tate Modern, the National Portrait Gallery and the Saatchi instantly spring to mind and are often the typical tourist’s first ports of call before they have barely touched down on the runway at Heathrow. But it’s important to escape the hustle and bustle of eager tourists and go a little further afield to experience something different to write home about.

That’s where Dulwich Picture Gallery has stepped in. Not only is it only 12 minutes from Central London but it acts as much more than a stuffy art gallery. Forget your shall-I-pretend-to-be-cultured galleries you find the world over. With an array of art classes, film nights, lectures and exhibitions there’s something to suit even the least artistic person in your midst.

More importantly, it won’t break your budget. With a ticket to the gallery, ‘Family Artplay’ is free twice a month, as well as Art in the Garden during the summer and courses for young people and adults starting at £40 for six weeks. GalleryFilm runs once a month, with free refreshments all night and a relaxed atmosphere within England’s first purpose built art gallery and creative space.

The gallery’s collections themselves are of course the main spectacle. With exhibitions boasting Andy Warhol’s print portfolio and John Sell Cotman’s works, (England’s most famous water-colourist, for those amongst us without a degree in History of Art), there’s at least a whole day’s visit to be squeezed out of this undiscovered South London gem.

Before your visit, be sure to check out the gallery’s latest addition – their online multimedia channel at http://www.dulwichpicturegallery.tv/thegallery. It has video clips in abundance with interviews and explanations from the staff about their most famous paintings, and a few surprise ones too. There are also stories and descriptions about the gallery’s past exhibitions in case there is anything particularly special which you have missed, as well as a stunning 360° tour of each room in the gallery and the stunning gallery surroundings to browse in the comfort of your own home. For those in touch with the podcast generation, you can download the gallery’s podcasts for free onto your MP3 player/iPod to listen to past gallery tours and recordings. With a Facebook, Twitter and YouTube page as well, there’s no excuse for not getting online and checking out the wide selection of well-known artists and pieces the gallery has to offer. Easy.

It’s important to note, as well as being at the forefront of modern day art showcasing, the gallery is conveniently located east of Brixton, a must for locals and tourists alike. With major pop culture references and a lively music scene, Brixton prides itself on its music venues and bar and pub scene, spiced up next to Brixton market, with its Caribbean and Jamaican influences always remaining a popular flavour.

With an exciting world of celebrated and undiscovered exhibitions and artists brought to life through practical classes and an exciting Internet community, it’s time to experience a different take on the London gallery scene. And it all takes place south of the river, within a vibrant and green community. There literally is something for everyone – take a look for yourself.

Post contributed by Yang and Rachael, who love everything about London. Yang works for Chillisauce.co.uk, an events agency specialising in creative stag do ideas and luxury travel. While she’s not at work, you can find her wandering around London.