Well here is my comparison of my Cultural Life in Birmingham, after London, which although not extensive, is based on my personal experiences, however I have provided links for each establishment for further information.
Performance Venues of London
Obviously in London, we were spoilt for choice when it came to our performance options. For our classical tastes one could often venture to the renowned Royal Opera House, to see either the world famous Royal Opera Company or The Royal Ballet, with occasional outings to the Sadlers Wells Theatre for Ballet Rambert. Our desire for contemporary dance would be further quelled by the nearby and ever improving Place theatre, in Euston, whereas our multi-cultural thirsts were quenched by the Kathak and Bharatnatyam shows at The Bhavan in West Kensington and The Nehru Centre in Mayfair.
Our passion for live theatre was satiated by the intimate Pit theatre, at the Barbican, which has provided the RSC with one of best venues, they ever had, whilst the various guises of The Almeida Theatre were also in easy access when living in North London. However The South Bank had also been a regular source of entertainment in our time in London, with its National Theatre, best london residential architects Royal Festival Hall and its more intimate neighbours, The Purcell Room and Queen Elizabeth Hall, all providing venues for a variety of performances ranging from South Asian Dance to British Youth Opera productions as well as the more usual renditions of the Classics.
Just down the road from there, The Globe Theatre, provided the summer outdoor alternative, which although is sometimes harshly criticised for its productions of Shakespeare’s History plays or Tragedies, is definitely one of the better arenas to experience his comedies. These summer months would often have seen us head for the open air outings at Holland Park Opera, the Proms at Kenwood House and Regents Park Theatre always armed with our obligatory pre-performance picnics (even at the downpour at Marble Hill House Concert, the show went on!)
Art Galleries / Museums of London
The autumnal / winter months would be spent at our favourite art Institutions, The Royal Academy, The V&A, The National Gallery, The British Museum and Tate Britain. As most of us were either members or on ‘friends schemes’ for these institutions we’d venture to most, if not all, the exhibitions that were on offer at these major venues. With such huge collections one could never get tired as you were literally spoilt for choice, although I can say that in my time in London I had managed to visit every gallery / room of the all of the aforementioned institutions.
London’s Contemporary Art Scene However London would also, of course, offer countless opportunities to sample smaller contemporary exhibitions, and not just at the famous Tate Modern but also numerous smaller venues. Within our North London location we’d have easy access to The Victoria Miro Gallery, The Estorick, The Lisson and The Camden Arts Centre whilst a quick tube ride would get us to The White Cube at Hoxton or Whitechapel Gallery. Our trips to the centre were generally restricted to The Serpentine, The Hayward or the ICA (which we also joined), whilst we’d rarely venture south for any other contemporary gallery other than the infamous Tate Modern.