A guide to London's cultural institutes
If you're getting bored of all things British, dive headfirst into another culture with the exciting programmes offered by institutes representing nations from Russia to India
Located in the heart of South Kensington, France's premier cultural arm in London is a bustling hub. If you're waiting for your French lesson - it's your one-stop shop for learning the language with the best teachers in London - the beautiful library or lobby are great places to lounge. The largest French library in the UK is great for brushing up on your Baudelaire, but it's the cinema we particularly recommend. Film screenings span classics, indie hits and new releases. Keep an eye out for the Q&As, which attract some notably starry creatives to intimate discussions. Recently we've seen talks from Kristen Scott Thomas, Helena Bonham Carter and Léa Seydoux.
Location: 17 Queensberry Pl, Kensington, London SW7 2DT
Goethe-Institut, South Kensington
The Goethe-Institut's mission is 'to promote the study of German abroad and encourage international cultural exchange', and there's no doubt that if you want to start brushing up on your German in London, this is the place to go. However, they also hold regular fascinating talks and exhibitions on various aspects of German culture, from translation workshops to book launches. They also frequently co-produce film seasons and other events out of house, like their current Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub season at the ICA.
Location: 50 Princes Gate, Exhibition Road, SW7 2PH
Instituto Cervantes, Temple
Apart from coming fro Spanish lessons, the Instituto Cervantes hosts regular lectures, launches and exhibitions. This is the place to come for a more in-depth understand of movements and figures in Spanish politics, literature and the arts whom you would never have heard of otherwise. Events also often have a wider focus on Latin America. There's often Spanish-language theatre in its in-house auditorium, and (of course) a great library for learning your grammar or reading Neruda.
Location: 15-19 Devereux Court, Temple, London, WC2R 3JJ
Nehru Centre, Mayfair
In the heart of Mayfair, The Nehru Centre is the cultural wing of The High Commission of India in London, and is one of the most stimulating places to participate in India’s ongoing, historically loaded cultural relationship with UK. The Centre organises a whole range of events; from showcasing classical Indian music, dance and theatre to talks, exhibitions and screenings of all kinds. But the highlight is definitely the world-class musical and dance talent they regularly invite to perform - a great introduction would be their Shared Values Festival 2019 which is still ongoing.
Location: 8 South Audley Street, Mayfair, London, W1K 1HF
Pushkin House, Notting Hill
Pushkin House, a 300-year old listed building in Notting Hill was founded as a cultural institute in 1954, by a group of Russian emigres and today is the primary hub of Russian cultural exchange in the UK. Literature, poetry, cinema, music, art, opera, theatre dance, history and contemporary philosophy and politics are all a part of its dynamics programming, and they often host other events, such as musical masterclasses given by world-class performers.
Location: 5A Bloomsbury Square, Notting Hill, London, WC1A 2TA