Hayward Gallery


Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX


020-7960 4200



Opening times:

Mon 12:00-18:00, Tue-Sun 11:00-19:00

How to get there:

Tube: Waterloo/Embankment

Entry fee:

Admission charge

Additional information:

Café and shop

The Hayward is one of London’s most important temporary exhibition spaces, featuring fine art shows of all periods but focusing particularly on the work of 20th-century and contemporary artists, sculptors and photographers. The gallery forms part of the South Bank Centre cultural complex, which includes the Royal Festival Hall, Poetry Library, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room, occupying a tract of land on the south bank of the river, near Waterloo station. This was the site of the 1951 Festival of Britain, a national celebration to lift post-war spirits, which promoted British art, design and industry. The Festival’s London centrepiece was the South Bank, the new Royal Festival Hall at its heart, with pavilions and walkways constructed around it, including the slender Skylon reaching into the sky, lit internally at night. After the dismantling of the exhibition’s temporary structures, the site was developed by the Greater London Council’s Department of Architecture, led by Geoffrey Horsefall. The long promenade along the Thames was retained from the Festival, behind which sit a series of concert halls, the Hayward Gallery and the National Film Theatre, accessed by concrete walkways and stairwells with confusing shifts of level.

The Hayward itself (named after the London County Council’s former leader, Sir Isaac Hayward) is a purpose-built exhibition space dating from the 1960s. An uncompromising Brutalist building of grey, wood-pressed concrete, it is a series of joined cubes with jutting strata, its interior levels linked by concrete ramps, topped externally by the Neon Tower, designed by Philip Vaughan and Roger Dainton in 1970 and erected in 1972. Made up of coloured fluorescent tubes which are activated by the strength and direction of the wind, it has become a familiar part of the London evening and night-time landscape. From the South Bank there are excellent vistas over the river to the ‘Gherkin’ and St Paul’s Cathedral. The Hayward’s architecture is loathed and admired in equal measure. Particularly dismal on a grey, rainy day, a scheme to improve the environment is underway, of which the Hayward’s 2003 glass-fronted foyer extension is a part, which includes a pavilion jointly designed by the New York artist Dan Graham and the architectural office Haworth Tomkins.

The Hayward’s excellent programme of temporary exhibitions is eclectic and varied. Since its very first show, a Matisse retrospective in 1968, it has built up a distinguished record of contemporary art and photography exhibitions, as well as group, themed and international shows. In recent years it has staged monographic exhibitions on Howard Hodgkin, Francis Bacon and Henri Cartier Bresson; a contemporary African art show, Africa Remix; and an exhibition to celebrate the National Art Collections Fund, displaying star items saved for the nation. In addition the Hayward stages the annual British Show, which promotes the work of the most significant emerging British artists; manages a programme of national touring exhibitions; and administers the large Arts Council Collection of over 7,500 British works, a loan collection begun in 1949 to which contemporary work is continually added.

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Details below are taken from our Blue Guide Museums and Galleries of London.  This is a 2005 title, here generally updated for website address and opening times, with useful comments from some of the museums themselves.  More recent information is given in Emily Barber's magisterial new Blue Guide London, "Exceptional update to a classic and useful guide to this amazing city" (Amazon reader review).

FULL LISTING of CURRENT EXHIBITIONS in London from Apollo Magazine »

Emily Barber recommends five major London museums »

Please do share your comments and updates with us via the form below the entry for each museum.


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Wimbledon Windmill Museum
Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum
2 Willow Road (National Trust)
William Morris Gallery
Whitechapel Gallery
Westminster Abbey Museum
Wesley's Chapel
Wellington Arch (English Heritage)
Wallace Collection
Victoria & Albert Museum
Tower Bridge Exhibition
Tower of London (Historic Royal Palaces)
Tate Modern
Tate Britain
Sutton House (National Trust)
Spencer House
Southside House
South London Art Gallery
The Courtauld Institute of Art (Somerset House)
Sir John Soane's Museum
Shakespeare’s Globe
Serpentine Gallery
Science Museum
St Bride’s Crypt Museum
St Bartholomew’s Hospital Museum
Saatchi Gallery
Royal Society of Arts
The Royal Mews
Royal London Hospital Museum
The Faraday Museum
Royal Hospital Chelsea
RCM Museum of Music
Royal Academy of Music Museum
Royal Academy of Arts
Red House (National Trust)
Ranger’s House (English Heritage)
Ragged School Museum
The Queen’s Gallery
Prince Henry’s Room
The Photographers’ Gallery
Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology
Osterley Park (National Trust)
Orleans House Gallery
Old Operating Theatre, Museum and Herb Garret
Natural History Museum
National Portrait Gallery
National Gallery
National Army Museum
Musical Museum
World Rugby Museum
Museum of the Order of St John
Museum No. 1 (Royal Botanic Gardens)
Museum of London
Garden Museum
Museum in Docklands (Museum of London)
The Royal Observatory
The Queen's House
Old Royal Naval College
Marianne North Gallery (Royal Botanic Gardens)
Marble Hill House (English Heritage)
Mall Galleries
Lord’s Tour and MCC Museum
London Transport Museum
London Fire Brigade Museum
London Canal Museum
18 Stafford Terrace – The Sambourne Family Home
Library and Museum of Freemasonry
Leighton House
Kingston Museum
Kew Palace (Historic Royal Palaces)
London Museum of Water & Steam
Kenwood House (English Heritage)
Kensington Palace (Historic Royal Palaces)
Keats House
Jewish Museum
Jewel Tower (English Heritage)
Jerwood Space
Imperial War Museum
ICA Institute of Contemporary Arts
Hunterian Museum
Horniman Museum
HMS Belfast (Imperial War Museum)
Hayward Gallery
Handel House Museum
Hampton Court Palace (Historic Royal Palaces)
Ham House (National Trust)
Guildhall Art Gallery
Guards Museum
Grant Museum of Zoology & Comparative Anatomy
Geffrye Museum of the Home
Fulham Palace
Freud Museum
Foundling Museum
Forty Hall & Estate
Florence Nightingale Museum
Firepower: The Royal Artillery Museum
Fenton House (National Trust)
Fashion and Textile Museum
Fan Museum
Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art
Eltham Palace (English Heritage)
Dulwich Picture Gallery
Dr Johnson’s House
Dennis Severs' House
Danson House
Cutty Sark
Contemporary Applied Arts
Chiswick House (English Heritage)
Chelsea Physic Garden
Chartered Insurance Institute Museum
Charles Dickens Museum
Carlyle’s House (National Trust)
Camden Arts Centre
Cabinet War Rooms & Churchill Museum (Imperial War Museum)
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Buckingham Palace
Brunel Engine House
Brunei Gallery SOAS
British Optical Association Museum
The British Museum
The British Library
Bramah Museum of Tea and Coffee
Black Cultural Archives
Museum of Childhood (Victoria & Albert Museum)
Bethlem Museum of the Mind
Benjamin Franklin House
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Barbican Art Gallery
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All Hallows Undercroft Museum
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