My friend and I paid a visit on a beautiful clear spring day recently as we had both never been to either gallery, and surprisingly had not visited the park for some time either.
There are a few underground stations within easy walking distance depending on which end of the park you want to enter from. We came from the north side and the closest station, Lancaster Gate and it was a lovely 10 minute walk getting there.
The Serpentine Gallery was formerly a tea pavillion and was opened in 1970 housing the works of up and coming artists, and the most recent exhibition of a Swedish painter Hilma Af Klint called Painting the Unseen. Her works were never displayed while she was alive and her will stipulated that they not be shown for at least 20 years after her death.
The Serpentine Sackler Gallery on the other side of the lake was a former gunpowder storage (also known as The Magazine) in the Napoleonic wars and is a Grade II listed building restored by the gallery and the Royal Parks, with an extension to include The Magazine restaurant designed by the late architect Zaha Hadid. It was opened to the public in September 2013. I'm sorry to say that I didn't know it was there until recently.
We had planned to have lunch at The Magazine after visiting the Serpentine gallery so went early as we had not made a reservation. We didn't need one but I would suggest that if you don't want to be disappointed it would be worth booking in advance particularly on a warm summer's day. It was a beautiful fluid space with plenty of natural light. What was a great way to wile away a couple of hours over a glass or two of Provence Rose.
I'm so glad to have discovered these little gems in the middle of a park in the heart of London and look forward to revisiting again.
Kofler & Kompanie, who run The Magazine have a summer event coming up to support Crisis, the homeless charity - it looks like something most foodies will appreciate!
"This summer marks the 25th birthday of Kofler & Kompanie, and what better way to celebrate than with an incredible line up of chefs, taking the concept of al fresco dining at The Magazine to a whole new level.
Taking place over nine Friday nights between June and August and featuring some of the UK's most exciting young chefs, The Park Table is one long curving table seating 50 diners with the stunning backdrop of the late Zaha Hadid designed Magazine restaurant and Serpentine Sackler Gallery. The Magazine Chefs Emmanuel and Felix have also invited some of tomorrow’s hopeful stars to participate, with trainees from the Skylight Café at Crisis, the homeless charity to work alongside them. All profits will go to Crisis for what promises to be an unforgettable dining experience."
The galleries and restaurant are closed on a Monday. Hours are between 9am and 6pm.
Hilma Af Klint - The exhibition closes on 15th May so if you want to see it now's the time to go.
Next up at the gallery - New York painter Alex Katz 2nd June - 11th September 2016