London's best Universities for Art and Design students

London has long been one of the world's most creative capitals – so it should come as no surprise that it also contains more than its fair share of world-renowned art and design schools.

• Their impressive alumni read like a who's who list of contemporary cultural influencers.

• Their specialist staff and facilities ensure that they occupy top positions in the latest QS World University Rankings for art and design.

• Their unparalleled prospects for graduates and postgraduates ensure they attract the best artistic talent from all over the globe.

Let's celebrate together the five best places to study Art and Design in London – and pay tribute to some of the many other fantastic capital campuses that didn't quite make the list.

London's top 5 places to study Art and Design

1/ UCL Slade School of Fine Art


The art school of University College London boasts a prestigious history and a contemporary reputation second to none.

Recently voted the world's best place to study for art and design students, Felix Slade opened this innovative school in 1871 in an effort to elevate art education to the same level as other humanities subjects and to offer equal access to both men and women.

Since then, the school has remained at the forefront – with alumni including many of Britain's greatest, including modernists such as Stanley Spencer, Dora Carrington and Ben Nicholson. Its equally impressive roll call of teachers has recently counted revered contemporary artists such as Bruce Maclean and Phyllida Barlow among its staff.

2/ Royal College of Arts


This prestigious postgraduate university specialises in art and design innovation, offering 24 courses across its six different schools.

Its best-known campus is in the heart of Kensington, just moments from Hyde Park and the Royal Albert Hall (where its August graduate ceremonies take place).

Notable alumni include bad boy and girl artists David Hockney and Tracey Emin, as well as household names in design, such as James Dyson and Thomas Heatherwick.

3/ Goldsmiths


This south London college provided the fertile soil from which the UK's most radical art group of recent years emerged.

In the late 1980s, the YBAs included members such as Damien Hirst, Sarah Lucas and Sam Taylor-Johnson. These ex-Goldsmith students recently auctioned off their work at Christie's to help pay for the college's impressive new gallery, which was designed by the Turner Prize-winning collective Assemble.

4/ Chelsea College of Arts


Now relocated from its original Chelsea campus, the Chelsea College of Arts occupies the expansive spaces offered by a former military hospital in Pimlico (and it's just a short hop across the road from Tate Britain).

With an impressive track record gained from courses that range from fine arts to curating and graphic design, its alumni include Elizabeth Frink, Edward Burra and Henry Moore.

5/ Central Saint Martins


With a reputation that rests just as much on fashion as fine art, Central Saint Martin was formed when two respected institutions pitched in together. The Central School of Art had been founded by Victorian art critic John Ruskin – and St Martins School of Art's pioneering sculpture department created significant waves throughout the 50s, 60s and 70s.

Together they played host to the first ever Sex Pistols gig and continue to gift us many up and coming rebels and fashionistas.

And there's more: some other great places to study Art and Design in London

There are many more excellent places to study art and design in London – here are just a few that were very close to making our list.


Royal Academy of Arts Schools

What it lacks in number of students it more than compensates for in class. Just 17 students are carefully selected for free postgraduate programmes: they benefit from studio space within the Royal Academy itself and classes are delivered by Royal Academicians.

Wimbledon School of Arts

This is where the visual and theatrical artists of the future are likely to emerge from. Specialist workshops and an on-site theatre have nurtured contemporary artists such as Yinka Shonibare, Peter Doig and Tony Cragg.

Camberwell College of Arts

Alongside the neighbouring South London Art Gallery, Camberwell forms a creative hub that centres on Peckham Road.