Friday 27 October 2023

Let's draw the Wellcome Collection on either Saturday 4 November = or = Sunday 19 November 2023

The Wellcome Collection cafe and foyer
Sketch by Helen Hayhoe

This month we're drawing the Wellcome Collection, a free museum and library near Euston Station that aims to challenge how we all think and feel about health.

Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE

[ Helen Hayhoe writes ]

Through exhibitions, collections, live programming, digital media, broadcasting and publishing, the Wellcome Collection creates opportunities for people to think deeply about the connections between science, medicine, life and art. There are many opportunities to draw the fascinating objects of the collections, and to respond to the architecture of the building and the local area.

The day is free of charge, no need to book, just turn up with your art kit. 
Please use only dry media such as pencil when drawing inside the Collection.

This day is run by Helen Hayhoe and Sasala Wickramasinghe.

Main entrance of the Wellcome Collection
Photo by Helen Hayhoe

If this is your first sketchwalk with us, welcome to Urban Sketchers London! 

Every sketchwalk has a leader, a meeting point at the beginning, a gathering place in the middle and another one at the end, when we ‘throw down’ our sketchbooks and pose for a group photo. Sketchwalk leaders know the area and are there to help you feel at ease and give you some ideas about what to sketch. Please note there is no tuition during the sketchwalks. We all draw what we wish, following the Urban Sketchers manifesto and sharing our drawings at the end.
We look forward to seeing you! 

Key times and meeting points for the day

The Reading Room at the Wellcome Collection
Photo by Helen Hayhoe

We will meet in the Reading Room, a hybrid of library and museum, on level 2. 

Meet again in the Reading Room to look at drawings done in the morning and take a group photo.

Meet again in the Reading Room to review the day’s drawings and take our final group photograph.


We could continue to meet and talk in the Wellcome Collection cafe, or if people prefer a pub, the Royal George pub in Eversholt Street NW1 1DG is convenient.

Options for drawing

The Wellcome Collection has a wide range of options for drawing, including exhibits on current scientific issues, displays from the history of medicine world-wide, and artworks old and new related to the human body.

Several free exhibitions are showing at the time of our visits, and offer a multi-sensory experience to inform our sketches.
  • Genetic Automata is an ongoing body of video works by artists Larry Achiampong and David Blandy, exploring race and identity in an age of avatars, videogames and DNA ancestry.
  • Being Human explores what it means to be human in the 21st century. It reflects our hopes and fears about new forms of medical knowledge, and our changing relationships with ourselves, one other and the world.
  • The Cult of Beauty explores notions of beauty across time and cultures. Around the world, beauty is constantly seen as an ideal worthy of going to great lengths to achieve. But what are the driving forces that lead us to believe in a myth of universal beauty, despite its evolving nature?

The building itself is of interest: the ceiling of the ground floor features colour-changing lights and an upside-down Anthony Gormley sculpture. The shiny spiral staircase reflects light. Upstairs, the Reading Room provides sumptuous cushions to lounge on in a colourful and welcoming space.

Do bring dry materials to draw with, so that the collection is protected.

Amputation knives and saws from the 18th-19th centuries. Sketch by James Hobbs

The Collection may be busy when we are there, so please find spots to tuck yourself away.

Full details of the exhibitions and information about all aspects of the Collection can be found on their informative website.

It may be crowded, so be mindful of others, keep your distance, break into small groups, and use less busy areas of the Collection.

If anyone wants to draw out of doors, the exterior of this 1930s neo-classical building is an interesting prospect.

Another option is to walk down Gower Street, which has some varied University of London buildings, or walk down Gordon Street to Gordon Square, where there are former homes of many of the writers, philosophers and artists of the
 Bloomsbury Group.

The bustle of Euston station is a few minutes away.

The spiraling staircase in the Wellcome Collection foyer
Sketch by John Trotman

Practical information

Comprehensive information for visitors is available on the Wellcome Collection website.

Admission is free, and at the weekend the galleries are open from 10am to 6pm.
There is a cafe and a shop, a cloakroom with free lockers, and toilets. In the galleries there are some folding stools and seating.


The Wellcome Collection is committed to making their building, services and programme as accessible and inclusive as possible. See their website for detailed accessibility information. According to the website, if you need a member of staff to meet you at a nearby station and help you make your way to the building, you can contact their Visitor Experience Team by phone or by email.

Food and drink

The Wellcome Collection cafe serves a selection of sandwiches, cakes and hot and cold drinks. There are many other food and drink outlets in the area, especially in and around Euston Station.

Getting to the Wellcome Collection

The street address is 183 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE, almost opposite Euston station. It is very easy to travel to the Collection by Tube, train, bus and bike -- for details you can use Transport for London’s journey planner

Public transport

The nearest stations are Euston Square (three minutes on foot), Euston (seven minutes on foot), Warren Street (a seven minute walk), St Pancras (one kilometre away, the nearest step-free station) and King's Cross.

By bus

The bus stop outside the Collection is currently out of use, but these buses stop close to the main entrance at 183 Euston Road:

•18, 30, 73, 205, 390.

London buses have space for a wheelchair user, low floors and an access ramp. Find out more about accessible journeys from Transport for London.

By bike

There are bike stands near the main entrance at 183 Euston Road and in nearby Gordon Street. There are also bike docking stations nearby.

By car

There is limited parking available for Blue Badge holders. Please contact the Visitor Experience Team by phone or by email to book a space.

Health and safety

Urban Sketchers London follow current health and safety guidelines, and we count on all our sketchers to do the same. As always, we keep an eye on developments concerning Covid, and even though restrictions have been lifted, we think it's sensible to do everything we can to keep ourselves and fellow sketchers safe when we're together. The risk of infection for outdoor events is low, but basic guidance still applies:
  • Please do not attend if you feel unwell
  • Wear a face covering when you're close to others
  • Give people space
  • Practise good hand hygiene. 


Remember to tag us when you post your sketches on social media! And do be polite when posting online. We may be biased, but we think kindness comes naturally to urban sketchers -- so don't be shy, show your social media politesse at its best.

#urbansketcherslondon #usklondon

Location map

See you at the Wellcome Collection!


Let's draw London in 2023 -- Find the rest of our programme for the year here. Coming soon: the Urban Sketchers London programme for 2024 -- watch for it!

London by Urban Sketchers - Our 10 Year Anniversary Book

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