National Gallery

Art, Galleries Trafalgar Square Free
5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
(33user reviews)
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 (© Rogan Macdonald)
4/4
© 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

Posted:

Venue name: National Gallery
Contact:
Address: Trafalgar Square
London
WC2N 5DN
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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  • Contemporary art Until Sunday October 7 2018
  • Until Saturday July 28 2018
  • Painting Until Sunday October 7 2018
  • Friday July 20 2018 - Friday December 14 2018 Free
  • Monday September 17 2018 - Sunday January 20 2019
  • Painting Monday October 1 2018 - Sunday January 27 2019
  • Painting Monday November 5 2018 - Sunday February 10 2019
  • Wednesday November 28 2018 - Sunday February 3 2019
  • Thursday February 28 2019 - Sunday May 19 2019
  • Monday March 18 2019 - Sunday July 7 2019

Average User Rating

4.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:23
  • 4 star:9
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|33
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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.

tastemaker

I love the National Gallery. It’s a wonder that it’s absolutely free. The Sainsbury wing is one of my favourite places and you can see some of the biggest names in international art.

tastemaker

I suppose I should have realised how huge the gallery was from the outside but it is like a maze, luckily there are lots of maps around to help guide you.


I popped in on a weekday morning and although there was already a queue outside it didn't feel very busy in the spacious rooms and I was very impressed with fancy seating compared to just a plain bench in some of the rooms. The architecture of the building is beautiful and is the perfect home to some great masterpieces! Although I think I am more a fan of modern art and photography, I couldn't help but admire the talent of some of these iconic artists for what they created in their period, definitely a must see for Londoners and tourists alike.

tastemaker

Just went to National Gallery's museum late and I cannot believe a museum that host this amazing of a collection is so close to where I work! I think this museum should claim some spotlight from the British Museum or Natural History :). I was stunned to see so many of my favorite Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh, Matisse, etc etc sharing walls inside here. It felt surreal.

tastemaker

Visiting an art gallery doesn't personally appeal to me immediately, however I can certainly say the National Gallery changed that for me. Even just entering the gallery, you can see what a beautiful building it is from the outside, and inside is even more grand with high ceilings and strong golden pillars. It is easy to get lost in this place; literally because its so big, but also by admiring all the art work on display you can be blown away. Whats even better is its free to visit! I would definitely say its worth a visit, especially more so if you are into art, as you will appreciate the artwork on display as well as the building!

tastemakerTastemaker

The National Gallery is really a treasure - and a must-visit for anyone coming to London or anyone lucky enough to live here. The permanent collection is really thorough and spans centuries of classic and historical art, with some of the world's most renowned artists sharing the same beautiful space. I particularly enjoy the contemporary art and portrait gallery, which are fantastic in their own right. I'm not a massive art person either (I generally prefer modern art to the old masters) but the way the rooms are laid out and the exhibitions on offer make this place worth returning to over and over again.


Oh, and it's free. WHICH IS CRAZY!

Tastemaker

The National Gallery is a must if you live in London. With thousands of world-famous art pieces from different centuries, there's so much to discover and learn...


The building is also majestic and in itself worth a visit. Look up at the beautiful gilded ceilings.

If it's sometimes hard to navigate the rooms. As there are often 4 doors leading to 4 other rooms, each with 4 new doors, you might be afraid to miss something or just end up running in circles. But at least you'll be happy to know there are plenty of toilets and cafes where you can rest to collect yourself again and keep on exploring.

Tastemaker

It is really rather rare for me to rave about an art gallery as it's just not my thing but you just can't deny the quality of The National Gallery. I last saw the Picasso exhibition and found it to be very accessible and interesting. As mentioned below, despite being a huge attraction, it never feels too crowded so you can really take your time and enjoy your experience. The little cafe is lovely too and a nice way to break between exhibitions 

tastemaker

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.

tastemaker

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...

tastemaker

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. 

tastemaker

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. 


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


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

Tastemaker

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!

tastemaker

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!

tastemaker

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.


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…


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

Tastemaker

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

Tastemaker

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.

Tastemaker

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.


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.


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.