Will you be refunding or extending memberships while the Royal Academy is closed?
Friends are vital to the RA and memberships are a charitable donation and therefore are non-refundable. As an independent charity without government funding, the RA is relying on the generous support of our Friends now more than ever. Our loyal Friends have been incredibly supportive during this time and we are extremely grateful.
Are preview days affected by the coronavirus pandemic?
Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we unfortunately cannot guarantee entry for all Friends to attend exhibition preview days due to the social distancing and RA safety rules we must adhere to in the galleries (find out more about visiting safely during coronavirus.).We have allocated as many slots available as we can whilst also ensuring a safe environment for your visit. Attendance at preview days will therefore be given on a first come first served basis at the time of booking. Thank you for your patience and understanding. Friends still have priority booking on all dates of every exhibition in addition to the preview days.
Are Friends guaranteed entry to all exhibitions even when they sell out?
We couldn’t have made it through the past year without our Friends and supporters, who will continue to get priority access to all our exhibitions. However, due to social distancing, capacity in our galleries is greatly reduced and sadly we can’t guarantee access if time slots are fully booked.
More information on visiting the RA safely
The health and safety of our Friends, visitors and staff is paramount. Details can be found here.
Is the Royal Academy a charity?
Yes. The Royal Academy is an independent charity and we receive no revenue funding from the government. The RA was founded by King George III in 1768. The RA has a unique position in being an independent, privately funded institution led by eminent artists and architects whose purpose is to be a clear, strong voice for art and artists. Our public programme promotes the creation, enjoyment and appreciation of the visual arts through exhibitions, education and debate.
Therefore, as a charity, memberships are treated as a donation to the Royal Academy of Arts and as such are non-refundable. We rely upon our loyal Friends, along with ticket sales and commercial revenue. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has placed the RA under severe financial pressure and we continue to incur substantial losses. Our future depends on the continued generosity of our Friends and supporters, who have been a lifeline throughout this difficult period.
Thank you for choosing to renew. You can renew your membership online and pay by entering either your debit/credit card information or by setting up a Direct Debit. You can also renew by calling the Membership Team on 020 7300 8090 or in person at the Membership Desk at the RA.
We will send you a renewal reminder in the post a month before it’s due to expire. If you already pay for your Friends membership by Direct Debit your membership will be renewed automatically, and you will be a sent a new card before the old one expires.
How can I join as a Friend?
We would be delighted to welcome you as a new Friend. Please join online or call the Membership Team on 0207 300 8090 or visit the Membership Desk located in the front hall of Burlington House.
Can you claim Gift Aid on a Friends membership?
As a Friend, you could help us even more – at no extra cost. As an independent charity which receives no government funding, we rely on the generosity of our Friends to continue. The government’s Gift Aid scheme allows us to reclaim 25p for every £1 of your membership. And all we need is your consent (no additional payments). You will be giving as much as £30 extra to the RA. Without paying a penny! Complete your Gift Aid declaration here, you can also indicate that you would not like to give Gift Aid and we can update our records accordingly. Please note. We are unable to claim Gift Aid on Gift Memberships or Young Memberships.
How many guests can I bring?
If you hold a Standard Friend or Young Friend membership you can bring one family member into the exhibitions. Friends with Joint membership may each bring one family member.
Under 16s have free entry to the exhibitions.
The main cardholder must always be present to allow entry, as membership is non-transferable.
What does the term “Family Member” mean?
HMRC rules refer to family members, not a guest of the family. The RA can only claim Gift Aid on the whole of the membership subscription if the right of admission is restricted to the individual Friend and members of the individual’s family. Please do call the Membership Team if you require further information on this on 0207 300 8090 or email email@example.com.
Are carers / facilitators required to buy tickets for the RA exhibition and event programme?
If you are registered disabled, your carer / facilitator may join you in addition to the guests included in your Friends membership. For events and exhibitions, please either add a free ticket for your carer / facilitator to your order when booking online, or let a member of our team know if booking by phone or at the RA.
As a Friend do, we have a discount for the RA Shop?
Yes of course, a benefit of being our Friend is that all members receive a 10% discount in the RA Shop. To use this discount in person, simply show your Friends membership card to the RA Shop staff. Alternatively, if you choose to use this discount for online purchases please quote the special Friends code on the checkout page of your purchases, we send out the Friends discount code in your weekly e-newsletter.
The Friends discount cannot be applied on-sale items and also excludes RA Art Sales, limited-edition prints or custom prints, limited-edition books, limited-edition merchandise, magazine subscriptions, RA membership, gift vouchers, glassware, Print on Demand or RA Paints. It is not valid in conjunction with any other discount or promotion.
Ticket upgrades to Friends Memberships
If you decide to become one of our new Friends on the day of your visit and you have purchased exhibition tickets, we can deduct the cost of your ticket/s from the membership fee. This can only be offered on the day of visiting and at the point of membership purchase, providing that the membership is in the name of the ticket buyer. This cannot be applied to Gifted Memberships. We can deduct up to one ticket for a Young Membership, up to two tickets for a Standard Membership and up to four tickets for a Joint Membership. Please visit the Membership desk in Burlington House if you are interested in taking up this offer. Please see our terms and conditions.
We are happy to consider a transfer of a Friends membership in exceptional circumstances. Please call the Membership Team on 0207 300 8090 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss individual circumstances.
Update your membership details
To update us with your change of postal address, email address or phone number linked to your Friends membership account.
To protect you and our staff, we do ask that all Friends remember to bring their Friends membership card with them when they visit the RA.
What should I do if I’ve lost my card?
Please visit the Membership Desk located in the front hall of Burlington House or email the Friends Team at email@example.com so we can issue a replacement card.
Please note that, before issuing a replacement card or a day pass, we may need to verify that you are the account holder. You can either show us some ID with your name on it, e.g. a credit card, debit card or a driver’s licence? If your request is made over the phone, then we may ask some security questions to verify your account.
Will the Friends Membership Desk be open?
Yes, the Membership Desk is open and is located in the front hall of Burlington House. Please do however contact us in advance if you have any questions about your visit. Call us on 0207 300 8090 or email firstname.lastname@example.org as we are here to help.
How can I sign up to hear more about the activities across the RA?
I’m not receiving the Friends weekly e- newsletters
Please email the Friends Team at email@example.com or call 020 7300 8090 so we can make sure we have your current email address.
When is the last date I can order and receive a gift membership in time for Christmas?
Purchase online by 13 December for Christmas delivery, or in person at the RA until 23 December. For last-minute shoppers: our Friends memberships come with a digital card so you can share the gift of art with a loved one, even if you only remember the day before!
What will I receive? What will my gift recipient receive?
You can choose to have your membership pack sent to you or mailed directly to your recipient with a personalised message.
All our gift memberships come in a beautiful, limited edition gift box designed by Vanessa Jackson RA.
Each pack has everything you’ll need to get started, including a welcome card with space to personalise your message, a membership card, welcome brochure explaining all the benefits, a handy what’s on guide for Friends and a limited-edition postcard. Learn more about the benefits of RA membership here.
What happens if my gift membership doesn’t arrive?
Please note that membership packs can take up to 14 days to arrive. If it’s not arrived after this time, please contact the Friends team by email / phone / in person to have a replacement pack sent to your recipient.
When will the recipient of the gift membership receive their gift?
It can take up to 14 days from time of ordering for packs to arrive. Gift memberships ordered before 13 December 2021 should arrive in time for Christmas.
When will the recipient of the gift membership be able to visit?
Your gift recipient can visit us as soon as their membership is active (from your chosen start date). We will issue a temporary pass on-site at the Friends membership desk if required.
What are my options for delivery?
You can choose to have your membership pack sent to you, to hand over in person, or mailed directly to your recipient with a personalised message.
When are you open over the festive period 2021?
The Royal Academy will be closed from 6pm, Thursday 23 December 2021 for the festive period and will reopen on Tuesday 28 December 2021 at 10am. Please note, our phone lines will also be closed during this time. On Saturday 1 January 2022 the RA will be open from 12pm - 6pm.
How do I use the digital gift card?
When you place your order, you’ll receive a digital gift card (as a PDF attachment). You can either print the digital gift card to pass on to your recipient or send it to them by email. Recipients can show this card at the Friends membership desk at the RA while they wait for their membership gift pack to arrive.
I’ve lost my email about my gift – can you resend it?
Can I personalise my gift or include a message to the gift recipient?
Yes, you can either include a personalised message when ordering or write your own message on the enclosed membership card.
Membership phone line opening hours
The phone lines will be open from 10am to 5pm Monday to Sunday. Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we are having to operate on reduced office hours in order to make cost savings and are currently only able to staff the phone lines from Monday to Sunday 10am – 5pm. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
If you need to get in touch with any other questions, find full details of how to contact us here.