Discover iconic London venues that are set to reopen as world fights back from Covid

If your kids’ face (or even your own face!) has been buried in a smartphone for the last four months of quarantine, then maybe it’s time to look up.

And now you can thanks to some of the UK’s most iconic galleries reopening their doors.

Following in the footsteps of bars, restaurants, salons, and tattooists, the art world is also learning to adapt to the post-lockdown world.

So, while it will be possible to escape into the magic of otherworldly paintings and sculptures, the reality of extreme cleaning and social distancing will be very apparent.

Here, we take a peek at the how the future of galleries will look.

[Credit: Dil]

Tate Modern and Tate Britain

Perhaps London’s most iconic galleries, the Tate venues will reopen their doors across all locations – including Tate Liverpool and Tate St Ives – on July 27.

However, unlike pre-virus days, visitors must book a timed slot in advance so that social distancing measures can be enforced to manage crowds.

While they have given no specific commentary on wearing face masks, the government have announced that they are mandatory in shops from July 24, so it’s strongly recommended to get kitted-up with one before heading to the exhibitions.

All the pre-lockdown exhibits will remain in place, including the popular Andy Warhol installation at Tate Modern and Steve McQueen’s ‘Year 3’ at Tate Britain.

[Credit: Toa Heftiba]

Serpentine

Giving themselves a further week than the Tate, the Serpentine will reopen on August 4.

To align with new health and safety measures, guests will be expected to book a time slot ahead of attending and are under instruction to wear a face covering.

Visitors will be provided with mobile tickets for contactless scanning, and everyone will be asked to sanitise their hands upon entry.

There will also be a one-way route with floor markers and no access to public toilets.

All exhibitions are free of charge, so it’s worth checking out the latest offering from multimedia artist and filmmaker Cao Fei.

Her work looks at China’s internet culture, as well as the borders of dreams and reality, with new project ‘Blueprints’ exploring a dystopia filled with giant rampaging turtles.

[Credit: Benn McGuinness]

Barbican

Breaking the mould, the Barbican are already open, having resumed business on Monday.

However, they are introducing reduced capacity with pre-booked timed entry slots only.

The venue will also reopen their plant-filled conservatory, which boasts big leafy tropical greenery – but again you’ll need to book in advance.

Regrettably, their theatres, music venues, cinemas and public foyer remain closed.

The exhibition currently on show is ‘Masculinities: Liberation Through Photography’, a stunning collection of film and photography illustrating how masculinity has been coded, performed, and socially constructed from the 1960s to the present day.

[Credit: Olga Serjantu]

Whitechapel Gallery

Mirroring the Barbican, this East End gallery was back in action as of Tuesday.

Again, to minimise risk of infection, all guests must book online for a timed entry visit.

And just as hairdressers and stylists at salons are all currently in full PPE [Personal Protective Equipment], Whitechapel Gallery’s front-of-house team will be in too.

A new one-way system is being introduced and hand sanitiser stations will be provided.

We are particularly excited to check out ‘In The Eye Of Bambi’ exhibit, inspired by the Disney animation, and exploring how humans and animals struggle to co-exist.

[Credit: Anas Miah]

The National Gallery

London’s iconic gallery was the leader of the pack, reopening on July 8.

As is the new normal, bookings must be made in advance though entry remains free.

There will be a new one-way system, but with a choose-your-own-adventure twist as guests are able to pick from three routes – route A for Botticelli, Michelangelo and Raphael; route B for Hogarth and Turner; and route C for Rubens and Rembrandt.

Additional safety measures include reduced number of visitors to maintain social distancing, the introduction of hand sanitisers at regular intervals, increased cleaning throughout the venue, and PPE for staff including face masks, gloves and eye protection.

If it all still sounds a little overwhelming, remember there’s always the virtual option!