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“Royal Academy restaurant - ridiculously overpriced”

Royal Academy of Arts
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US$18.79*
and up
Summer Exhibition 2018 at the Royal Academy
Ranked #178 of 1,869 things to do in London
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
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.
Reviewed March 18, 2018

My wife and I went to see the Charles I exhibition - wonderful. We then made the mistake of going into the restaurant for tea. We paid £5 for an indifferent lemon drizzle muffin, £4.50 for an ordinary piece of treacle tart, £3.10 for a pot of English Breakfast tea and £2.90 for an Americano. This is just exploitation of a (fairly captive) audience. There are a couple of nice restaurants in Piccadilly between the Royal Academy and Green Park tube station with a better and cheaper selection of cakes ( and table service). We shall be patronising them in the future and I advise any other visitors to do likewise.

1  Thank Ivor G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kate T, Guest Relations Manager at Royal Academy of Arts, responded to this reviewResponded March 20, 2018

Dear Ivor, thank you for sharing your experience. I'm glad that you enjoyed the Charles I exhibition. It's a really splendid show. I'm sorry however that you felt the restaurant to present bad value for money. I will pass on your comments to the catering manager. I hope you and your wife are able to visit us again soon. Many thanks, Kate

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Reviewed March 17, 2018 via mobile

A short distance from Piccadilly you’ll find the Royal Academy. Entrance to the exhibition is by timed ticket. We brought ours a week in advance and they were running out of available times then so book in advance if you can as it seems to be very popular. After queuing for a while outside, we were finally allowed in at 10am (earliest available time). First impression was that it was very crowded in the first gallery. It did thin out afterwards but it was difficult at times to stand back and appreciate some of the art. Each item did have a little information but would have liked a little more context on some as I don’t want to have to rely on audio guides. You can’t dispute the quality of the collection, although as commented by others not that many seem to be from overseas. Took us about an hour and a half to go round and I did enjoy it but not sure is it’s great value at £18?

2  Thank David P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 17, 2018

This was the first time in 370 years, that artefacts collected by Charles I had been assembled in one place. You are not allowed to take photos, but a few people thought they were exempt from that rule!!! It can quite busy despite having timed tickets, and some people just do not have any manners, which can make the experience frustrating. On a Friday, you can visit up to 10pm, so that might be a good way to avoid the crowds. The exhibits on display were incredible, and it wasn't just pictures. I'm really pleased that I visited and would recommend it to anyone, as the collection is unlikely to be reassembled again.

1  Thank andyh67186334
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 13, 2018

Very Interesting To See,Though A Little Crowded Even With A Timed Ticket,Also A Little Expensive.Easy To Find Just Off Piccadilly Circus. You Can Visit The Cafe/Coffee Shop & Toilets For Free.

Thank john s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed March 12, 2018

A manageable sized exhibition with some magnificent portraits,especially those by Anthony van Dyke. However… The number of people allowed in on the timed visits made it very difficult to enjoy anything. Well done The Royal Academy on attracting so many people, but I arrived half-an-hour before my allotted time, and was not allowed in early, so I assumed the access would be very select, but it was an absolute bun-fight when I got in with people standing zombie-like listening to their audio guides especially in Gallery I which was so packed I passed through it very quickly.

My main criticism though was with the lighting, the exhibition was gloomy throughout. Gallery III The Triumph of Caesar by Andrea Mantegna was so badly presented it was unviewable in the dark space. Also with many of the larger pictures, because of the general gloom, when spot-lit, it was impossible to view the whole picture without enormous patches of reflected glare. With years of experience one would imagine the Royal Academy would have solved these sort of problems.

The overall darkness and large numbers made the exhibition unbearably claustrophobic and I could only cope with about 2 hours max.

(Ideally don't go on Mothering Sunday!)

2  Thank jezzaoutandabout
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kate T, Guest Relations Manager at Royal Academy of Arts, responded to this reviewResponded March 13, 2018

Thank you for sharing your review. Charles I is a very busy exhibition and I entirely understand that a busy show is not to everyone's taste. We do limit the number of tickets available and these tickets are timed. Additionally we have limited the number of group bookings that can be made (and reduced the size of those groups). A show like Charles I is never quiet but it is less busy after 4 pm. I'm sorry you felt uncomfortable.
In relation to your second point, the exhibition is intended to be quite dark, firstly from a environmental perspective (to preserve the artworks) but also from a design viewpoint; making the show a more theatrical experience. I'm sorry to hear you found this too dark. Whilst there will always be an element of personal taste in how an exhibition is displayed I have passed on your comments to the curatorial team (we have already for example slightly increased lighting in galleries 1 and 2).
Thank you for getting in touch. I hope you will be able to visit us again. Many thanks, Kate

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