National Gallery

Art, Galleries Trafalgar Square Free
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 out of 5 stars
(26user 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.

By: Laura Lee Davies


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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Pick a date

  • Until Monday August 28 2017 Free
  • Painting Until Sunday June 25 2017
  • Friday May 26 2017 - Friday December 14 2018 Free
  • Late openings Sunday June 4 2017 - Friday August 4 2017
  • Wednesday October 4 2017 - Monday April 2 2018
  • Monday October 30 2017 - Sunday February 18 2018

Average User Rating

4.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:19
  • 4 star:7
  • 3 star:0
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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.

Paula - ToT

The National Gallery is a real jewel and a must for any art lovers in London.  It's a great space and never feels too crowded despite the hoards of people that usually visit.  The range of artwork is impressive and it covers a broad spectrum of eras.  It's a great place to have a wander around when you are at a loose end.

Robin James K

This is my goto hangout on a lunch break. Wander into the gallery. Take a peek at the old favourites of Seurat, Van Gogh, Turner, and Da Vinci. Visit a lesser known room. Sit on the sofas with a sketch pad and go to town failing to capture that Stubbs. It's like getting a massage for your soul. If all that gets a bit much, the Cafe and the Espresso Bar are good places to catch a break from all that tiring looking at pretty, thought-provoking things.


Nothing better than seeing exhibitions early on a weekday morning.  Less crowds, free coffee/tea and pastries and just some peace away from the hustle and bustle as soon as you walk in...

Lise M

Definitely a must-do when you're visiting London. Located in Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery has one of the most amazing and richest collection of paintings from the XIIIe to XVIIIe. You can admire masterpieces from the greatest and most influencial masters such as Turner, Rubens, Rembrandt, Botticelli, Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, Van Gogh and many more. It's a real pleasure to get lost in this museum and walk through the galleries, time, and painting styles. Just a small bemol, it can get very crowdy during the weekend so I would recommend a visit on a week day or weekend morning. 


The National Gallery is my absolute favourite museum in London because of their amazing collection of paintings. I have absolutely no artistic skills but I can definitely appreciate fine art, and that's exactly what I like to do when I visit the Gallery. 

It has so many rooms that it does get confusing moving from one room to another, especially when you're marvelling at the paintings. I still get lost even though I've visit quite often; either to see their new exhibitions or simply to appreciate their permanent collection. My favourite from the permanent collection has got to be all the Italian paintings of religious scenes, portraits, or scenery. 

The Gallery also has a lovely café, which is perfect to have a rest in after walking through the numerous rooms! Next door to the main gallery, there is a space for some of their special + temporary exhibitions like the current one on Caravaggio. So it's a pretty big place, I'd set aside an afternoon if you're keen to see it all but an hour and a half should suffice if you already know what you do and don't want to see. 

Telmo M

I love this museum in Trafalgar Square. You can spend a couple of hours easily. Good place also to hace scone and tea. Always plenty of tourist

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.