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Britain’s first art school, founded in 1768, relocated here to Burlington House, a Palladian-style mansion away from Piccadilly’s fumes (plus a few bars and an exclusive restaurant, The Keeper’s House). In 2018, it completed a renovation that connected an adjacent building, linked it with modern elements such as polished concrete and picture windows, and found new space to put some previously stored works on display (the Royal Academy Collection Gallery contains those, plus Michelangelo’s only marble sculpture in Britain, an unfinished circular relief of Mary with the babies Jesus and John). But in truth, the main reason to come is whatever crowd-pleasing paid exhibition is on. The biggest event, and always worth it, is the annual Summer Exhibition, which without fail since 1769 has displayed the best works from anonymous submissions; careers are made by it. Don’t miss the wooden red “Phone Box No. 1” tucked behind the stone front gate—it was the 1924 prototype for what we now recognize as an international icon.