National Portrait Gallery

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© National Portrait Gallery, London
Leicester Square Free

Portraits don't have to be stuffy. The National Portrait Gallery has everything from oil paintings of stiff-backed royals to photos of soccer stars and gloriously unflattering political caricatures. The portraits of musicians, scientists, artists, philanthropists and celebrities are arranged in chronological order from the top to the bottom of the building. At the top of the escalator up from the main foyer are the earliest works, portraits of Tudor and Stuart royals and notables. On the same floor, the eighteenth-century collection features Georgian writers and artists, with one room devoted to the influential Kit-Cat Club of Whig (leftish) intellectuals, Congreve and Dryden among them. More famous names here include Wren and Swift. The Duveen Extension contains Regency greats, military men such as Wellington and Nelson, as well as Byron, Wordsworth and other Romantics. The first floor is devoted to the Victorians (Dickens, Brunel, Darwin) and, in the Duveen Extension, the twentieth century. One of the NPG's most popular highlights is the annual BP Portrait Award where the best entrants for the prestigious prize are exhibited.

Venue name: National Portrait Gallery
Contact:
Address: St Martin's Place
London
WC2H 0HE
Opening hours: Mon-Wed, Sat, Sun 10am-6pm; Thu, Fri 10am-9pm
Transport: Tube: Charing Cross

Pick a date

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  • Painting Mon April 27th 2015 - Mon May 25th 2015
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  • Photography Mon April 27th 2015 - Sun June 21st 2015 Free
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  • Thu May 14th 2015 - Thu June 11th 2015
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  • Fashion Thu July 2nd 2015 - Sun October 18th 2015
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  • Photography Thu July 2nd 2015 - Sun October 18th 2015
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  • Wed September 16th 2015 - Mon January 4th 2016 Free
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Average User Rating

4.3 / 5

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James Curran

A must on any trip to London, the National Portrait Gallery houses an incredible collection of portraits. Every time I visit I find something new and intriguing amongst the thousands of paintings, drawings, sculptures and photographs of subjects from Anne Boleyn to Rio Ferdinand. It is free to enter but I would definitely the café as the food is excellent and great value for the city centre.