National Portrait Gallery

2 St. Martin's Place, London

4.5

The National Portrait Gallery is an art gallery in London housing a collection of portraits of historically important and famous British people. It was the first portrait gallery in the world when it opened in 1856. The gallery moved in 1896 to its current site at St Martin's Place, off Trafalgar Square. The gallery is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The collection includes photographs and caricaturesas well as paintings, drawings and sculpture. One of its best-known images is the Chandos portrait, the most famous portrait of William Shakespeare. In addition to its permanent galleries of historical portraits, the National Portrait Gallery exhibits a rapidly changing selection of contemporary work, stages exhibitions of portrait art by individual artists and hosts the annual BP Portrait Prize competition.

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Open Hours:

  • Thu

    10:00 - 21:00

  • Fri

    10:00 - 21:00

  • Mon

    10:00 - 18:00

  • Tue

    10:00 - 18:00

  • Wed

    10:00 - 18:00

  • Sat

    10:00 - 18:00

  • Sun

    10:00 - 18:00

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Reviews

  • King Julian

    5
    - 25 August 2018 -

    I had a spare hour to kill in London and decided to visit here alone. I had a big bag with me which I thought would be a problem. However, I was simply directed to a cloak room, which was free but they suggested a donation which is fair enough! Really enjoyed my time in there. I felt like I rushed it a bit in the time I had, so there was a lot to see. I really enjoyed the 'Picturing Friendship' room, which had an amazing photograph of Benjamin Britten and another European composer (whose name I really can't remember, which is annoying). I also thought that getting into the post war collections became really interesting. Would highly recommend!

  • Clare Smalley

    5
    - 15 August 2018 -

    We have been to the National Portrait Gallery before, but the latest visit was to see the Michael Jackson: On The Wall exhibition. Thoroughly enjoyable, we were there for around 2 hours. It wasn't packed with people which meant we could see and read everything clearly. We had a drink in the cafe too, which was reasonably priced.

  • Carl Davies

    5
    - 15 August 2018 -

    Another on of London's free of charge museums and equally as important as any of them. Large and spacious building stuffed full of incredible paintings and busts of dignitaries, monarch and famous faces. Informative descriptions on all works so it's fun to read about the artist and why they chose the commission. Plus (chargeable) special events on throughout the year so there's always something new to see. Highly recommended.

  • Terence Humphrey

    5
    - 15 August 2018 -

    This is a wonderful place to visit but my only point is that there is far too much to see. So I suggest you choose two or three galleries of prime importance and visit them in depth. Then leave and maybe come back later or even the next day. Otherwise one portrait begins to blend in with the next. But this is not a negative. This place is extraordinary and well worth a visit. And it is FREE!!

  • Jess TY

    5
    - 22 July 2018 -

    I've been there before but nice place to go when having a spare time. I had few hours gap till next meeting and I popped into the museum. Fascinating paintings history behind them. Some familiar faces and some not very but it was educational.

  • Emma

    5
    - 11 July 2018 -

    Love that this place was free. The Tudors section was fab, and everything else is really interesting to browse. It was very quiet and calm when I went so that added to the nice atmosphere. There's a cute small bookshop, and another small souvenirs shop with suffragettes, Shakespeare, the Queen and other stuff. It's a great place to go to if you're walking by!

  • Hsu Andreas

    5
    - 10 July 2018 -

    Indeed..they have a fruitful collection of worldwide famous artists.... Plan your stay in London more than 2 weeks if you want to enjoy art collections and culture.... Enjoy museums, food, Bars and one of the culture richest towns in Europe...

  • Chester Wilson

    5
    - 05 July 2018 -

    A most enjoyable and educational experience viewing the portraits and other pictures, with the additional informational texts. There is ease of access provided by ramps, stairs and lift. A cloakroom is available for storage of larger personal items at a reasonable charge, while one visits the gallery. Entry is free but a donation is appreciated. The gallery is easy to negotiate and a map of it is available for £1.00. The pictures are well displayed with informational cards and attendants are around. It is very helpful to have this resource freely available and to see school groups utilising it.

  • Rodney Mather

    5
    - 15 June 2018 -

    I really love this place as well as my daughter also. There are so many fun things to see historic portraits as well as medallions and other smaller things to view. Wouldn't miss it for anything even though it wasn't very busy I think it should have a lot more visitors. Phenomenal works are in there and it didn't take long to see and enjoy the awesome artwork on display

  • Dermot Tuohey

    5
    - 09 June 2018 -

    Probably not as well known as the National Gallery, this is a fascinating free gallery in London with many interesting and probably expensive photographs on display. They do exhibitions and I liked the Bobby Moore photographs as they gave an insight into his life outside of football. I enjoyed my visit although, as it is free and in Central London, so did a lot of other people so it was very busy and maybe not always the best way to admire the photographs

National Portrait Gallery tours

Private Tate Modern and Tate Britain Visit with Art Critic

London’s Tate Modern and Tate Britain hold some of the country’s pre-eminent collections of historic and contemporary art. Visiting both museums via a boat ride along the Thames is a chance to see how ideas and artistic processes flow through time. By selecting works shown in the galleries’...

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