© Zach Nelson / Fodors Travel
Burlington House was built in 1664, with later Palladian additions for the 3rd Earl of Burlington in 1720. The piazza in front dates from 1873, when the Renaissance-style buildings around the courtyard were designed by Banks and Barry to house a gaggle of noble scientific societies, including the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Royal Astronomical Society.
The house itself is home to the Royal Academy of Arts. In a city with many major public galleries, the Royal Academy more than holds its own. The statue of the academy's first president, Sir Joshua Reynolds, palette in hand, is prominent in the piazza, while within the house are statues of the major painters J. W. M. Turner and Thomas Gainsborough. Free tours show off part of the collection and the excellent temporary exhibitions. Every June, the RA puts on its Summer Exhibition, a huge and eclectic collection of art by living Royal Academicians and many other contemporary artists.
Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BD, England
020-7300–8000; 020-7300–5839-lectures and family programs