- Explore over seven centuries' worth of incredible art at the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, London.
- Discover the National Gallery's breathtaking collection, with over 2,600 works by some of the most renowned artists of all time.
- Learn more about the artwork that can be found in one of the best galleries in London through one of their family audio tours.
- Take part in the family events that happen at the gallery to engage with art yourself.
The National Gallery, London, is one of the UK's most-visited art museums, and for good reason. This incredible gallery is home to some of the greatest works of art ever made. With free entry and lots of activities to take part in, it's an unmissable day out for all the family.
Over six million people visit the National Gallery every year, making it one of the most popular museums in London and the world. Established with a collection of just 38 paintings almost 200 years ago in 1824, the museum has grown to house thousands of brilliant pieces of art.
The museum, also known as The Nation's Gallery, is home to works by some of the best artists in the world. This includes multiple pieces by Vincent Van Gogh, such as his famous Sunflowers and Wheatfield with Cypresses. There are also works by artists such as Johannes Vermeer, Leonardo Da Vinci, Claude Monet, and Paul Cezanne. The gallery also holds different National Gallery exhibitions throughout the year in addition to its permanent collection. These exhibits chart the progression of some amazing artistic movements and are a very popular part of the museum.
The rooms of the National Gallery are separated by artistic movements. This lets you go on a journey from the Middle Ages to the modern day, as the Gallery charts the progression of European art from the 13th century to the 20th. While the collection is smaller than other museums of a similar stature, the quality of work in the National Gallery sets it apart as one of the most interesting museums in the world. You could spend anywhere from an hour to more than four in the museum depending on how much you'd like to see.
There are loads of cool ways for children to get involved at the National Gallery, making it one of the best free museums in London for families. The gallery has plenty of audio tours for families to take, which help bring the artworks to life and teach kids more about how these incredible pieces were made.
One of their most popular audio tours for kids is the 'Art Detectives' tour, where kids will follow in the footsteps of mysterious characters to discover more about the paintings around them. Another interesting option is the 'Teach your Grown-ups about Art' audio tour. In this tour, the tables are turned when the kids are told amazing facts about the gallery's collection through their headsets, and then teach the grown-ups a thing or two!
The guided tours at the gallery are another great plus; they're fantastic for engaging kids in the artworks and helping them to expand their understanding. The museum also holds lots of events, where kids can express their artistic talents or learn more about the museum and the art inside it. Even if you can't make it to the gallery, they hold many online events so that kids can get involved with art, straight from home.
What to know before you go
- The National Gallery is open every day of the week, from 11am - 6pm. On Fridays, it has the later closing time of 9pm. It is open year-round, with the exception of 24 - 26 December and 1 January.
- There are plenty of food and drink options available at the National Gallery. If you're looking for a quick bite to eat or drink, then the National Gallery's Espresso Bar or the Cafe will be your best options. For something more substantial, the National Gallery Dining Rooms serves lunches and hot food, with a great view over Trafalgar Square.
- The National Gallery is accessible for wheelchair users and allows buggies too. There are lifts between the different floors for people who can't use the stairs.
- There are lots of toilet facilities available at the National Gallery, all of which have baby-changing access too.
- The National Gallery is located in Trafalgar Square, London.
- The National Gallery's central location makes it easily accessible by public transport, but not great to reach by car. There isn't a car park at the museum, except for disabled car users. There are nearby public car parks in Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square, although these can be expensive.
- If you're able to, it's a better idea to go by public transport. Charing Cross Tube station is just a few minutes' walk from the National Gallery and is served by the Bakerloo and Northern lines, along with National Rail services. There's also Leicester Square station, about a five-minute walk from the museum and on the Northern and Piccadilly lines.
- As one of the most central locations in London, there are plenty of buses that go near the National Gallery. The 3, 6, 9, 11, 13, 15, 23, 24, 87, 91, 139, and 176 all have stops on Trafalgar Square, where the Gallery is located.