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||Contact:|
|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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Pick a dateto
Chris Ofili: Weaving Magic
There’s something special about a tapestry, something traditional, a tangible aura of history. It’s as if the act of creating an image by slowly and meticulously weaving countless threads together is somehow more permanent, more holy, than just slapping...Until Monday August 28 2017 Free
Things to do
Picnics on the Portico: A National Gallery Dining Experience
Pack your sandwiches and scotch eggs for a picnic on the National Gallery's Portico balcony, where beer experts will be on hand with Leffe samples as you people watch over Trafalgar Square. If you're looking for something fancier than lunchbox cocktail...Late openings Friday August 4 2017
Drawn in Colour: Degas from the Burrell
French Impressionist Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas (1834-1917) was an extremely private man – but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a nose around in his life and find out what made him tick at this exhibition of paintings, pastels and drawings. His representations of...Wednesday September 20 2017 - Monday May 7 2018 Free
Reflections: Van Eyck and the Pre-Raphaelites
Fifteenth-century Flemish artist Jan van Eyck was as much a technical pioneer as he was an artistic genius, mastering illusionistic space in his exquisitely constructed paintings. Five centuries later, his masterwork 'The Arnolfini Portrait' inspired...Wednesday October 4 2017 - Monday April 2 2018
Monochrome: Painting in Black and White
Black-and-white painting has a long history, but rarely gets looked at as a tradition in its own right. The NG should put paid to that, with an exhibition that traces monochrome painting from grisaille works of the Middle Ages to pieces by contemporary...Monday October 30 2017 - Sunday February 18 2018