Paint the Town: London Summer Art

The Connaught's En Plein Air class

Summer is one of the most exciting times for art in London—the warm weather and long days make excellent conditions for viewing outdoor works, navigating museum and gallery walks. Here’s our picks of what not to miss with some dining ideas nearby; looking at art is hungry work.

Sculpture in Regent’s ParkFrieze’s first-ever summer exhibition in Regent’s Park from July 5 to October 8 will bring together 25 sculptures by acclaimed 20th-century and contemporary artists. Frieze Sculpture is a great way to get a taste of Frieze Masters and Frieze London, before the renowned art fairs open their doors in October. Highlights of the sculpture trail include works by John Chamberlain, Urs Fischer, Gary Hume, Michael Craig-Martin, Eduardo Paolozzi and Ugo Rondinone. Top tip: there’s also a free app offering a guided tour with descriptions of the works. Treat yourself to high tea at The Langham, in the charming Palm Court.

Summer Pavilion at the Serpentine Galleries in Hyde Park — Every year we look forward to this temporary architectural delight in the midst of Kensington Gardens. This year’s design by the acclaimed architect Diébédo Francis Kéré, brings together a unique sense of light and life. Don’t miss the Park Nights lectures and Radical Kitchen, a series of picnic-based talks. While you’re there be sure to check out the Greyson Perry “The Most Popular Art Exhibit Ever” at the Serpentine Gallery (for more info, see our last London column). Grab a bite or something to drink beneath the marshmallow-shaped dome designed by Zaha Hadid, AKA the Magazine Restaurant just up the road.

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The Royal Academy of the Arts — We also love the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy, the world's largest open-submission exhibition, with over 1,000 works in all styles and media, made by artists from all backgrounds, selected and hung by artists, with most available for purchase. Afterwards, head to Piccadilly to try the new Duck & Waffle Local, sister to the popular eatery in Heron Tower or for London’s most delectable Danish pastries, another newcomer, bakery Ole & Steen, direct from Copenhagen. Finally, do not miss the Giacometti at the Tate Modern, the first major retrospective of the artist in London (or the UK for that matter) in 20 years, and it’s a stunner—sculpture, drawings, and paintings—his genius is everywhere. Solid coffee and great views at the Tate Modern Cafe in the new wing.

Painting Masterclasses at The Connaught — For an artsy DIY, The Connaught is collaborating with 90-year-old Chelsea art store Green & Stone, to offer guests “En Plein Air” Painting Masterclasses. Equipped with an easel and a curated set of art supplies, and guided by artist Alex Fowler, students will receive composition advice and learn color application techniques to create a masterpiece to take home. Each class is priced at £250 per person and includes coffee, tea and pastries on arrival, art materials supplied by Green & Stone and an artist’s apron. Also, guests of The Apartment penthouse suite will even find their very own easel, personalized apron, and palette to paint from the comfort of their room. Green & Stone can also arrange professional coaching or, for those who prefer to be the subject, source a notable artist to draw the guest’s portrait. For more information and reservations please call +44 (0)20 7107 8945.

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