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.
Full terms and conditions on Friends memberships can be found at our terms and conditions.
How can I renew my current membership?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com to discuss individual circumstances.