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“A "Classist" institution, from my experience. Go to the free art at National Gallery/Tate Britain etc instead.”

Royal Academy of Arts
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$15.93*
and up
Sherlock Holmes Film Location Tour in London
Ranked #98 of 1,608 things to do in London
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Founded in 1768, this thriving center of artistic excellence is the oldest fine arts institution in Britain, whose exhibitions attract over a million people each year.
New Forest, UK
Level Contributor
41 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“A "Classist" institution, from my experience. Go to the free art at National Gallery/Tate Britain etc instead.”
Reviewed May 30, 2013

I love art and history, and this passion has taken me to many museums and galleries around Britain and other countries.

I visited the Royal Academy of Arts in order to purchase some prints from the shop, and then perhaps visit the rest of the displays.

Whilst in the shop there was a sign pointing to a "pop up" cafe (their words not mine). I needed a coffee, so followed the signage down a corridor from the shop.

I ordered a coffee from the counter, in a room with ample chairs, tables and space.

Imagine my disgust when a woman approached (whom was sitting at a table in the cafe) during my placing the order and saying "Are you a member?". She was obviously there to make a point (of what for why?).

However so was I there to make a point thereafter.
I just turned to her and said "No" and carried on ordering my coffee.

I asked her if the Royal Academy was a "classist" institution?

Whilst the RA is an 'independent' institution they are a charity. And as such they need a reminding the last thing they should do is have an arrogance of self importance, a trait that we hope would be assigned to old school aristocrats.

The RA makes a big thing on "membership". I said to the woman that no such sign existed saying "cafe for members only" from the general shopping area. I said why advertise it in a public space.

The attitude I experienced, I felt, was more akin to 40 years ago in an apartheid South Africa.

I had my coffee, and I then decided to decline paying my £10 it would have cost to see the displays.

So I never saw the displays in the end. My advice therfore is to stick to the free art displays in other galleries in London and experience broader displays.

Visited May 2013
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3 Thank Mike F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Melton Mowbray, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
131 reviews
60 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Go to see the George Bellows exhibition”
Reviewed May 26, 2013

Fantastic. What a painter. We loved this. Great American art. The RA is always a great place to go but this exhibition is exceptional. And the shop here is always a Must See!

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
Thank louise s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
14 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“The lost art of tea making”
Reviewed May 7, 2013

The RA has staged many enjoyable exhibitions over the years, the most recent being the excellent George Bellows show which in my opinion was far better than the Manat. Some while ago I took out membership which includes use of their exclusive Members Room. In fact,this had became my `club' when I was up in town.The afternoon cream teas were a treat with their real leaf tea brewed to perfection. Now when you ask for a cup of tea you get a cup(or pot) of hot water with a tea bag thrown in. And the prices gone up as well. I have since learnt that the catering is under new management. I trust the RA hasn't decided to squeeze a few more pence out of the people on who they most depend -their members.Surely it doesn't take to much effort to make a proper cup of tea.

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
Thank N H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
london
Level Contributor
2,205 reviews
1,015 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 936 helpful votes
“Fantastic exhibits but poor lighting and it was just too busy”
Reviewed May 4, 2013

I went twice to see the Manet exhibition. Such a lot of care and effort was put into the curation of the exhibition and so it was excellent from that perspective but the lighting combined with small font made it really hard to read the narrative even with excellent eyesight ant it was just too busy to be comfortable. There were not enough large print brochures to go around.

Visited April 2013
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Thank sheepygold
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St. Albans
Level Contributor
135 reviews
49 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
“One of London's best galleries”
Reviewed May 4, 2013

We're Friends of the Royal Academy and so go quite frequently. The exhibitions are fantastic and also they do very informative audio guides that give fascinating background and guide you round the exhibition in about an hour. For a quick visit the Sackler Gallery upstairs usually has an interesting collection.

Visited April 2013
Helpful?
Thank TomGSt_Albans
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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