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Institute of Contemporary Arts

Founded in the 1940s by a group of progressive artists, the Institute of Contemporary Arts, or ICA as its known, continues their intended innovative visions by displaying intentionally radical contemporary arts of all varieties.

Encouraging discussion and debate, the ICA is just as dedicated to film screenings and live music performances as fine art exhibitions. In fact, they were one of the first venues to present both The Clash and The Smiths, which should tell you all you need to know about their insight and foresight to cultural innovation and trend. You also can’t get much better than this central location – just off Trafalgar Square.

Their changing exhibitions are always inspiring, and consistently multi-disciplinary, and they also often runs great off-site exhibitions, injecting the contemporary into unexpected locations across London, such as the Old Selfridges Hotel.

We’re particular fans of the ICA Café Bar, which is the perfect place for a great cocktail and snack before enjoying some up and coming live music, performance art, or lecture, and soak up the infectious energy of this decidedly hip, contemporary space.



Eat & Drink

Institute of Contemporary Arts

ICA Café Bar

This sleek, modern, and simple café bar is a particularly hot spot amongst London’s hip art crowd. Serving changing menus throughout the day, you can often receive discounted meals with your cinema screening tickets, but the drinks menu is what really brings in the crowd. We recommend checking it out on a Tuesday evening, when cocktails are 2 for 1 from 7-9pm.


Institute of Contemporary Arts


The ICA bookshop is the perfect place to pick up a few art centric gifts, but be warned, you’ll be tempted to walk away with a few items for yourself, too. With a lot of handmade objects and lesser known publications, the space has an independently curated feel, and although its small, it is inspiring.

Destination Ranking

  • 9 Overall
    • 19 Exhibitions & Programming
    • 50 Architecture & Spatial Design
    • 16 Eat & Drink
    • 27 Shop
    • 23 Digital Experience

General information


Institute of Contemporary Arts
12 Carlton House Terrace




020 7930 3647

Opening Hours

Tuesday – Sunday 11:00 – 23:00

General Admission

Free, excluding special events and film screenings.

Getting There

Tube: Charing Cross (Northern Line, Bakerloo Line), Piccadilly Circus (Bakerloo Line and Piccadilly Line).

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