National Gallery

Art , Galleries Trafalgar Square Free
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 out of 5 stars
(20 user reviews)
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 (© Rogan Macdonald)
© Rogan Macdonald

First-class art for every class of art lover

Established in 1824 as a new art collection for the enjoyment and education of all, the National Gallery first consisted of 38 pictures, put on display at a house on Pall Mall while a purpose-built gallery was constructed. There are now over 2,300 works of art, from medieval classics to world-famous pieces by the French Impressionists. The new museum opened in 1838, located in Trafalgar Square because it was deemed to be at the heart of London – easy for rich people to visit from the west by carriage and also convenient for poor people coming by foot from east London.

Free to visit, the National Gallery is still as welcoming to all as it was back then. Anyone can swing by and gaze on Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ for ten minutes on their way to work, or stay all day and admire JMW Turner’s Bequest or Cézanne’s ‘Bathers’.

The gallery has blockbuster exhibitions, music concerts and courses that do carry an entry charge, but most of the collection isn’t ticketed, and there are free talks each day, which you don’t need to book in advance. These take a closer look at a different painting or theme each time.

There are free sessions for families on Sundays and during school holidays, too. These give children aged five to 12 the chance to experience the grand gallery atmosphere whilst getting creative in drawing and art workshops designed for their level of interest. These are drop-in, but demand can be high, so you might have to wait for spaces unless you arrive early.

Venue name: National Gallery
Address: Trafalgar Square
Opening hours: Open daily 10am–6pm, Fridays 10am–9pm. Closed Jan 1, Dec 24–26.
Transport: Tube: Charing Cross
Price: Free (permanent collection); admission charge applies for some temporary exhibitions
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  • Painting Until Sunday January 15 2017
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  • Painting Until Sunday October 30 2016 Free
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  • Painting Until Sunday January 29 2017
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  • Painting Wednesday December 7 2016 - Sunday March 26 2017 Free
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Average User Rating

4.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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Scott V
1 of 1 found helpful

Sometime between 1565 and 1570, Giovanni Battista Moroni painted Il Tagliapani (The Tailor) on view in the National Gallery's Room 12.

Il Tagliapani emerges from black space a free man without pretension but with a diginified chest and a judging eye.  He wears a cream-coloured rough-textured doublet, dotted lines flowing down the front.  A brown belt decorates his waist.  Blood red round hose completes the clothing.  His right hand, clasping gleaming black shears, rests on a table.  He is about to slit black material along a dotted line. 

Moroni's depiction of Il Tagliapani as the equal of his clientele is a great achievement for a Sixteenth Century painter, but there is more. 

Shears may be used as a tool or a weapon, depending on necessity.

Moroni anticipates five hundred years of history.

Nick S

As good (if not better) than the National Gallery in Washington. Highly Recommend This if your cup runs dry.

Mei M

The National Gallery has been one of the first museums I've visited in London when I came here a long time ago. It's a wonderful building that you cannot miss, right in Trafalgar Square. 

From the entrance you will enjoy a wonderful view of the Big Ben, and inside you will find some wonderful paintings from the Renaissance to the early 1900s - my favourite ones are those by Canaletto, just stunning. 

I strongly suggest you to go on a weekday as during the weekend the gallery can get very crowded!


The National Gallery is an underrated bountiful collection of historical fine art. Situated just north of Trafalgar Square, it is often overlooked by tourists who are more interested in getting a photo with the lions at the base of the column. However the gallery is one not to be missed.

Housing some of the most influential works of the last centuries, a visit here is an artistic education, as well as, at the very least, a lovely place to view some impressive paintings. Ordered chronologically from Renaissance to 20th century masterpieces visitors are invited to view art through the ages, from the mythological and religiously themed works of the 13th to 15th centuries and the epitomising collection of Renaissance period heavyweights, through to the intensely dark and dramatic 17th century baroque Masters, and ending with the newer contemporary styles of impressionism, romanticism and modernism from the 19th to early 20th century.

Connoisseurs will marvel at the many world famous pieces present in the extensive collection, and even art novices will appreciate the skill, depth and emotion expressed in some of the most poignant and important works of art ever created. The sheer magnitude of some pieces on display will astound and amaze.

A vast and breathtaking collection for all to enjoy, go forward and begin an aesthetic enlightenment. And the best part- it’s free!

Sarah R

National Gallery is a place any Londoner or a tourist should pay a visit.
Just the building alone is impressive, not to mention the selection of art that is exquisite and one of the finest.

Dave C

This is one of those gems it's easy to take for granted as a Londoner. Remember the permanent exhibition is free, which means you can pop in and take in a few Turners (for example) for nothing in the middle of your day. One of the many reasons for city living…

Victoria B

The current Goya exhibition is wonderful. This is a great place to see some fantastic and historical works of art, and all for free!

Luisa G

Lovely collections of artwork, some is more impressive than other bits. it's also a great place for public toilets when you're desperate and in central London!

Staff Writer

Love the impressionists work on display here. Great gallery in the heart of the city

Joss B

Quite simply a Masterpiece of a Gallery filled with Masterpieces. 

The gallery is filled by works by some of the finest masters in art history, and each one of them is among the finest examples if their work. While the museum counts the Sainsbury Wing's rooms last chronologically, the contents is in fact the earliest work and the place to start. Move from the left of the gallery plan to the right and you travel through a chronology of art ending with the Impressionists, taking in the finest examples of work and styles as you go.

Tara P

The National Gallery is a must-do experience in London. The quality and variety of artwork on show is incredible, and the fact that it’s free to enter is astounding. 

Personal highlights include Stubbs’s Whistlejacket and Hogarth’s The Rake’s Progress – I could stare at the gigantic Whistlejacket canvas for hours (and have done so)!

The crowds can sometimes be off-putting – try to go earlier in the morning or later in the day if you can. 


Perhaps the finest and among the most visited art museums in the world.

What to say? fantastic especially the rooms devoted to the Impressionists ....... worth visiting! Among the other you are allowed to take pictures without flash.

Stevie King

Van Gogh exhibit is a must see for any art lover, it's truly moving to see his most famous pieces together, absolutely beautiful. Whole gallery is amazing.

Harvey Appleby

This is an essential visit to an old friend, majestic, personal, inspiring and full of hidden treasure. Always stopping to see the breathtaking delaroche "execution of lady jane grey", a powerful, tragic and vast piece of work. The National Gallery is truly a space for everyone, anyone, all of us.


A perfect place to keep an eye on for different exhibitions to lose yourself in. Wonderful building as well.