National Portrait Gallery
National Portrait Gallery
4.5
10:30 AM - 6:00 PM
Monday
10:30 AM - 6:00 PM
Tuesday
10:30 AM - 6:00 PM
Wednesday
10:30 AM - 6:00 PM
Thursday
10:30 AM - 6:00 PM
Friday
10:30 AM - 9:00 PM
Saturday
10:30 AM - 9:00 PM
Sunday
10:30 AM - 6:00 PM
About
The Gallery is filled with the people, portraits and the life stories of a nation. Home to the most extensive collection of portraits in the world, visitors can explore over 220,000 works, from the 8th century to the present day.
Duration: 2-3 hours
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The area
Address
Neighborhood: Trafalgar Square / Embankment
With its iconic Nelson’s Column, majestic oversized lions and brightly-lit fountains, Trafalgar Square is not just considered the heart of this bustling London hub, but the very core of the city itself. Beyond this esteemed gathering place are more famous icons, as well as a disproportionate numbers of the city’s most popular cultural attractions including the National Gallery and many West End theaters. Along the way to these major sites are quiet lanes and antiquated pubs to discover, as well as riverside vistas to enjoy on the embankment. With a calendar full of celebratory events, any time of year is a fine time to visit.
How to get there
  • Charing Cross • 3 min walk
  • Leicester Square • 3 min walk
Reach out directly
See what travelers are saying
  • Jeffry b
    Essendon, Australia13,870 contributions
    First gallery dedicated to British portraits
    The National Portrait Gallery opened in 1856, making it the first gallery dedicated to portraits. There are a variety of genres represented. but the selection is based in the significance of the sitter, not the artist. The portraits are of people who are important to the British people and their history. The artistic merit of some of the paintings is not great, but some of them, for example the Bronte sisters, are all we have. This is one of London's most fascinating galleries, it will reopen in June 2023.
    Visited April 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written April 23, 2023
  • JohnUK
    London, United Kingdom1,032 contributions
    Very poor experience
    Looked forward to seeing the revamped gallery but left after half an hour. The place was literally heaving with people which made it impossible to see some of the paintings. People were approaching from all angles - there are now two entrances- and no logical way round. The display in the lift didn’t tell you which floor you were on and when the doors opened there were no signs on the wall to tell you either. This led to utter chaos. The corridors to the toilets are far too narrow seeing as they are used to queue for the single- cubicle facilities. A good idea but not thought through. I’d give it some years before I’d visit again.
    Hi John, I’m sorry to hear that you were disappointed with your visit. Since reopening, the Gallery has experienced unprecedented visitor numbers, which has caused some unforeseen issues due to overcrowding and we are aware that there are areas that we need to work on as soon as possible following the installation of new systems. I do hope that you will be able to come back and visit us in the future when we are a little less busy. Best wishes, Emily
    Written September 6, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written June 29, 2023
  • John Speller
    Dagenham, United Kingdom660 contributions
    Not bad. Poor layout
    I went to visit the revamped gallery, there were no queues to get in. My main gripe is the layout. The top floor is devoted to Tudors and Stuart. It is spacious and was not too busy, but do we really want to see portraits of people we've never heard of? The first Earl of Grantham, anyone? The second floor again is spacious. With portraits of people we have heard of: Churchill, Neville Chamberlain etc... The problem arises when you reach the ground floor. Modern portraits which people want to see. It is cramped. Portraits are piled on top of each other. The corridors are narrow. I am sure that there were many more modern portraits before. Also, why should I pay £20 to see black and white portraits of the Beatles? I know what they look like. I would have been miffed if I had had to pay an entrance fee.
    Thanks for taking the time to share your feedback, John. The aim of the rehang is to present an inclusive and dynamic picture of the people who have contributed to the rich history of the United Kingdom, past and present. Our project has been very much shaped and informed by research and consultation with both existing and potential new audiences, which indicated that while there was much positivity and warmth for the Gallery, we could be doing more to make our displays more relevant and accessible to more people. The new hang remains chronological and includes key figures from British history, as well as lesser known sitters with themes weaved in that will give visitors the opportunity to connect more with the historical and cultural context behind the portraits. Best wishes, Emily
    Written September 6, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written July 3, 2023
  • Clark
    10 contributions
    Excellent
    The Tudor gallery is superb . Great exhibits which are well curated . Hayter's painting of the House of Commons in the 1830s is stunning . At first glance it almost looks like the real thing. My only complaint is that the Gallery has adopted unisex toilets. I don't know anyone who likes these . They infringe on dignity and privacy. It's very disappointing that the NPG has decided to go with this fad.
    Hi Clark, I’m glad to hear that you so enjoyed the Tudor Galleries. The Gallery has both separate male and female toilet facilities (floor 4) and universal toilets (floor -2 and -3), which are dedicated, self-contained toilets, which maintain privacy for the single user. We appreciate your feedback on this matter and have shared your comments with the relevant team. Best wishes, Emily
    Written September 6, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written July 4, 2023
  • PaxTwo
    Perth, Australia23 contributions
    Nice gallery, avoid the far too small space of the new ground floor cafe where food runs out quickly.
    gallery was very full of people. galleries were nicely curated, freshened up with useful notes on every portrait. inadequate toilet facilities. hard to understand how to get around the gallery. the ground floor cafe was woefully small. as a user experience: far too few seats, a squashed space for patrons & lunch food ran out quickly. food trays too tiny, with plates & drinks precariously ballanced. avoid unless not full of people.
    I’m glad to hear you enjoyed seeing our new Gallery. We have had unprecedented visitor numbers since reopening and I’m sorry to hear that you had a negative experience in the Café. I’ve shared your feedback with the Café team so that we can keep improving. Best wishes, Emily
    Written September 6, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written July 4, 2023
  • Pamgraham1
    204 contributions
    Worth a visit
    Visited not long after the reopening. It was very busy in certain areas. The Tudors seemed to be the busiest section. Obviously very clean and bright as you would expect. Plenty of wonderful pictures to view. Little disappointed with the size of the new café. It was extremely busy with queues most of the day. Thought they might have made it slightly bigger as it was always popular and still is.
    I’m glad you enjoyed viewing the portraits on display in our new Gallery. I’m sorry to hear about your disappointment with the café though. In addition to our ground-floor café we also have a new bar in the basement and a restaurant on the fourth floor. We hope you can come back to check them out soon: https://www.npg.org.uk/visit/eat-and-drink/ Best wishes, Emily
    Written
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written July 8, 2023
  • homewardboundLondon
    10 contributions
    Missed opportunities.
    I’ve been a NPG Member since 2006. Always thought of it as a special place with outstanding art. I knew it would be busy due to the reopening but some of the reorganisation hasn’t worked - the toilets are just as, if not more cramped than before, meaning long snaking queues. The Cafe is still way to small and there are way to many serving staff giving you stupid little trays. Missed opportunities. The art is wonderful but it’s so crowded it’s unbearable. I know things change but one of my favourite places in London is no more.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written July 8, 2023
  • Gizmo311
    Boston, Massachusetts495 contributions
    McCartney Exhibit
    We went to the Portrait Gallery mainly to see the Paul McCartney exhibit "Eye of the Storm". As long time Beatles fans, it was nice to see photos that we had never had the opportunity to view before.....most of the photos were taken by Sir Paul himself. The color photos from their 1964 visit to Miami were probably our favorites....they were such high quality they look as though they were taken yesterday! It was very busy when we were there (reminded us of our trip to the Louvre), I would recommend getting there as early as possible to avoid the crowds if at all possible.
    Visited June 2023
    Written July 8, 2023
  • Farwriter
    London, United Kingdom80 contributions
    Might wait till the novelty has worn off!
    Very glad the NPG is open again, but perhaps a summer afternoon is not the best time to visit. In spite of the excellent contents, I have always found it quite a stressful building to walk around, with small rooms and narrow corridors. These aspects have not been improved, and it has been absolutely heaving with people on the couple of times I have tried to look round recently. The hall with the ticket desk in is particularly badly thought out - a queue forms at the ticket desk but this area is also the thoroughfare for people to reach every other part of the building so it gets impossibly crowded. The passageway at the rear of this room leads to the back staircase and the lifts, but has also become a display area for modern portraits, so you have to push through a crowd of people to access the stairs. The cafe is now where the old shop used to be - a narrow and cramped space which is ALSO used as a thoroughfare for people trying to get out from the newly opened Weston Wing. The building feels like one big corridor full of people. I miss the darkness of the old Victorian corridor, which always reminded me of a 19th century gentlemen's club but now is a bright white corridor and has no atmosphere. The website also needs to be altered with correct instructions for booking tickets to exhibitions. After booking a timeslot for a paid exhibition, both the website and the email confirmation tell you to collect your ticket from the desk on arrival. Very frustrating after queuing up for ages to be told by the woman on the desk that I could have just shown my booking reference number at the entrance of the exhibition and not queued up at all!! In theory it would be possible to spend all day in here, but in practise I can only take it in small doses.
    Visited July 2023
    Written July 11, 2023
  • Alexandra K
    London, United Kingdom313 contributions
    Welcome back
    Always a great gallery and the recent revamp has made it even better. The entrance is more open, the shop is a huge improvement and the layout works much better. The cafes are so much inicer. We saw the Paul McCartney photographs and that is huge - allow a lot of time just to go round that. A history lesson and an art exhibition rolled into one. Well, well worth a bisit.
    Visited July 2023
    Written July 12, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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Clare M
Lincoln, UK57 contributions
Feb 2020
A fascinating gallery.I'll never meet Henry VIII and his wives, Rossetti, Millais or Holman Hunt so seeing their portraits is the closest I can ever get to them. The Gallery is well laid out and the notes next to the painting are interesting , We did visit the restaurant on the top floor and asked if we could just have drinks, we had eaten a rather large breakfast in the hotel! We were sat at the bar and after waiting 25 mins to be served were told only alcoholic drinks were served at the bar. Despite coffee being evident at lots of tables they would not serve us a tea and coffee! we were directed to the cafe in the basement so we left and went elsewhere!
Written February 9, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for taking the time to visit the NPG and for leaving a review. I am so happy that you enjoyed your visit to our collection and offer my apologies that your experience in the restaurant did not live up to our high standards. If you wish to discuss this matter further, please do not hesitate to contact us at feedback@npg.org.uk I hope we are able to see you again soon. Kindest regards,
Written February 22, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

101dot
Eastbourne148 contributions
Jan 2020
The NPG iis free to enter but welcomes donations and makes a small charge for some exhibitions. We went to see the Photographic portrait of the year today. Placed just off Trafagar Square it is centrally located and well worth a visit. I have often popped in when I have spare time in London and always enjoyed my visit.
Written January 24, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for your time in leaving us a review. I am glad you enjoyed the Taylor Wessing Portrait Photography Prize exhibition, and was very happy to learn that your repeated visits have always been a positive. I do hope we are able to welcome you here again in the very near future. Kind regards,
Written January 26, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Ginger L
London, UK40 contributions
Mar 2020
I'm not quite sure how many starts to give this - as it is review of a particular exhibit, and not of the whole museum. I love this museum and much of it is free. They are about to close for an extended period of time so good to visit now.
However, their latest exhibit, of Hockney's work is a disappointment. I love his work and will try to see it whenever I can. But this one? Rather small and none of his great works. It seems to me to be vastly overpriced if you have to pay full price, or even their (only slightly) reduced consessions price.
BUT - if you are over 60 and go on Monday Tuesday or Wednesday mornings between 10 and 11 then it is only 5 pounds. That seems to me about what it is worth!
Written March 14, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for taking the time to leave us a review. I am glad that you enjoy the NPG, but am sorry to read that the exhibition did not live up to your expectations. That said, I hope you will visit us again soon. Kindest regards,
Written March 16, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Locutus
Zurich, Switzerland277 contributions
Feb 2020 • Family
An amazing gallery. We have visited the gallery many times over the years and there is always something new to see. Whilst the permanent Collection is excellent it is complemented by a wide range of temporary exhibitions. We usually don’t try see everything each time we go but think in advance what we want to focus on this time.
Written February 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you so much for your review and indeed for your loyalty over the years. I am so happy that you enjoy coming to see the collection and do so hope that we are able to welcome you through our doors again in the very near future. Best wishes,
Written February 22, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Richard B
Richmond, UK2 contributions
Aug 2023 • Couples
Our first visit following the already (in)famous rehang was most instructive, but caused us to react rather differently to the rehang itself relative to all the other concurrent changes made to the Gallery. In our eyes, the rehang worked reasonably well; the pictures are well-chosen, carefully hung and supported by laudably legible yet unintrusive labels that tell often interesting stories, each couched in a modern worldview that falls just short of outright proselytization. However, a few tips might help the unwary visitor. Firstly, if you arrive at the Gallery just before the (rather late) 10:30 opening time, there are two queues: one for ticket holders and members, the other for mere "walk-ins". The latter are held back until all of the former have entered, which can take some time. Secondly, the formerly popular "coffee and cake" cafe in the basement has been replaced by a pretentious bar where an order of two coffees incurs a service charge and a bottle of Lagavulin, once divided into 14 aliquots of 50 ml, costs £238! The cafe on the ground floor, installed in the space previously occupied by the gallery shop, is more affordable, but what is left of the relocated shop no longer sells its formerly significant range of art books. Mammon is evidently one benefactor of the refresh.
Written August 19, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jackie K
Nottinghamshire, UK1,158 contributions
Mar 2020 • Couples
Prebooked our tickets to see the latest David Hockney portraits exhibition and we were so excited to be there. The exhibition is quite small but the portraits are wonderful especially the ones of the artist’s mother. It was very hot inside the rooms and this made it uncomfortable to stay very long. We were through in 45minutes but perhaps this is the idea! David Hockney is a genius. The short film of him flipping through his sketch book from LA to Normandy was a highlight for me.
Written March 7, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for taking the time to visit us and to leave a review. I am very happy that you enjoyed your visit to the David Hockney exhibition. It is very much a wonderful celebration of his works. I do hope that you will visit us again soon. Kindest regards,
Written March 10, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Rowlands
Gosport7 contributions
Sep 2023 • Couples
We bought tickets at £22 each to go and look at Paul McCartneys "Eye of The Storm" photograph exhibition. Unfortunately, the NPG allowed far too many in to the exhibition at one time so it was difficult to know where you were in the rooms, and difficult to have a good look because there were so many people in there. There was one smaller room where the staff were limiting access but this had the effect of creating a long queue in the adjacent larger room. This too had photographs on the walls and the queue made it very difficult to look at them and read the notes. So, for £22 each, it was a waste of money, caused entirely by the NPG allowing far too many in at one time.
Written October 4, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

heather p
Epsom, UK105 contributions
Jan 2020
Visited the Pre-Raphaelite sisters exhibition. with adult family. It was a Christmas gift. Having been to the gallery before we were aware that the cafe serves excellent coffee in pleasant surrounding. We also find the cloakroom useful and attended by helpful staff. The exhibition itself was a little disappointing. ( only a miniature of the Ophelia painting)However the variety of paintings was enlightening.
It would however be helpful if the information cards were positioned next to the paintings not on adjacent walls as this leads to confusion and congestion. Written details on some walls were impossible to read for two in our party who are colour blind.
Written January 15, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you so much for your review and for your visit. I was happy to read that you enjoyed your visit. Your constructive and helpful feedback will be passed on to the relevant department for consideration for future exhibitions. I do hope we will see you again soon. Kindest regards,
Written January 26, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Farwriter
London, UK80 contributions
Jul 2023
Very glad the NPG is open again, but perhaps a summer afternoon is not the best time to visit. In spite of the excellent contents, I have always found it quite a stressful building to walk around, with small rooms and narrow corridors. These aspects have not been improved, and it has been absolutely heaving with people on the couple of times I have tried to look round recently. The hall with the ticket desk in is particularly badly thought out - a queue forms at the ticket desk but this area is also the thoroughfare for people to reach every other part of the building so it gets impossibly crowded. The passageway at the rear of this room leads to the back staircase and the lifts, but has also become a display area for modern portraits, so you have to push through a crowd of people to access the stairs.

The cafe is now where the old shop used to be - a narrow and cramped space which is ALSO used as a thoroughfare for people trying to get out from the newly opened Weston Wing. The building feels like one big corridor full of people. I miss the darkness of the old Victorian corridor, which always reminded me of a 19th century gentlemen's club but now is a bright white corridor and has no atmosphere.

The website also needs to be altered with correct instructions for booking tickets to exhibitions. After booking a timeslot for a paid exhibition, both the website and the email confirmation tell you to collect your ticket from the desk on arrival. Very frustrating after queuing up for ages to be told by the woman on the desk that I could have just shown my booking reference number at the entrance of the exhibition and not queued up at all!!

In theory it would be possible to spend all day in here, but in practise I can only take it in small doses.
Written July 11, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

zinear
Washington DC, DC280 contributions
Dec 2019
The National Portrait Gallery contains a large assortment of portraits - with a focus on British subjects and history (at least that's what I saw, anyway). In exploring the galleries, I got a brief lesson in the people behind periods of British history, which I enjoyed. I also found this museum less crowded than the neighboring National Gallery, so I felt I was able to enjoy and take in the works more.
Written March 1, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you so much for your review. I was happy to read that you enjoyed your visit. I hope you left inspired. Hoping that we are able to welcome you again in the near future. Kindest regards,
Written March 5, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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