Dulwich Picture Gallery

Lonely Planet review

The UK’s oldest public art gallery, the small Dulwich Picture Gallery was designed by the idiosyncratic architect Sir John Soane between 1811 and 1814 to house nearby Dulwich College’s collection of paintings by Raphael, Rembrandt, Rubens, Reynolds, Gainsborough, Poussin, Lely, Van Dyck and others.

Unusually, the collectors Noel Desenfans and painter Sir Peter Francis Bourgeois chose to have their mausoleums, lit by a moody lumière mystérieuse (mysterious light) created with tinted glass, placed among the pictures.

The gorgeous, wood-panelled 17th-century Christ's Chapel boasts an impressive copy of the Transfiguration by Raphael. It hosts regular concerts on Sunday evenings; check the gallery's website for details. The gallery also runs fantastic temporary exhibitions (additional £5 entry). Free guided tours of the museum depart at 3pm on Saturday and Sunday. The museum is a 10-minute walk northwards along Gallery Rd, which starts almost opposite West Dulwich train station. Bus P4 conveniently links the picture gallery with the Horniman Museum .