Hertford House, Manchester Square, W1 020 7563 9500 www.the-wallace-collection. Org Open 10-5 daily A stately Georgian house is the setting for this outstanding collection, left to the nation in 1897. Highlights include Frans Hals's hugely famous, flamboyantly moustached Laughing Cavalier, and a touching painting by Rembrandt of his son Titus. Two brilliant portraits by Van Dyck hang close by. There are also several lively painted sketches by Rubens, including an Adoration of the Magi and the celebrated Rainbow Landscape.
The Wallace Collection also celebrates the artistry found in the weaponry of Europe and the Middle East in past centuries, and includes a pair of pistols with stocks intricately carved with images of Samson and Hercules. The glass-roofed central courtyard is where you'll find Cafe Bagatelle, a very civilized and relaxing spot for afternoon tea. Serpentine Gallery contemporary art & architecture Kensington Gardens, W2 020 7402 6075 www.serpentinegallery. Org Open 10-6 daily Located in a former tea house in Kensington Gardens, the Serpentine has built a reputation for putting on solo shows by some of the big guns of contemporary art.
Each year, moreover, a different architect is invited to create a one-off summer pavilion in the grounds just outside the gallery – Zaha Hadid, Daniel Libeskind and Oscar Niemeyer have created brilliant structures in previous years. The Wallace Collection » Moving Old Masters travelquaz