With the British capital's focus on culture, it is not surprising that a visit to its main art gallery, the National Gallery of London, is among the top things to do and see in London. It is home to some of the most iconic works of art in history, such as Botticelli's "Venus and Mars", Velazquez's "Venus in the Mirror" and Van Gogh's "Sunflowers". This gallery is a priceless treasure for art lovers.
This art gallery offers various seasonal exhibitions, specialized tours, guided tours for children, even nights in the gallery to go from the Italian Renaissance to contemporary art under the moonlight. To keep track of its calendar of activities, here are the opening hours of the National Gallery of London.
General opening hours of the National Gallery of London
The general opening hours are Monday to Sunday at 10:00 am, the biggest difference is at the end of the day and in their exhibition rooms and special events.
The closing hours of the National Gallery of London are:
- Monday through Thursday at 6:00 pm.
- Fridays at 9:00 pm.
- Saturdays and Sundays at 18:00 hours.
An important point is that the checkroom of this gallery does vary its opening hours. You can enjoy its services from Saturday to Thursday between 10:00 am until 17:30 pm and Fridays until 20:30 pm.
Weekend opening hours of the National Gallery of London
On Saturdays and Sundays the National Gallery of London is open from 10:00 a. m. to 6:00 p.m., except on January 1st and December 24th, 25th and 26th, when the gallery is closed.
Night opening hours of the National Gallery of London
Generally, this art gallery is closed during the night. However, on Fridays it opens its doors at special hours until 9:00 p.m. with concerts, art and poetry evenings, exhibitions of emerging artists... the Friday Lates are among the best night tours in London for their variety, offer of events and expression of diverse art.
Guided tours timetable of the National Gallery of London
The National Gallery of London houses one of the largest collections of Western European art in the city and the world, in fact, enters the top 10 of the best museums in London and, to hear the comments of the experts, offers guided tours every day, so you will have time to explore their pieces. The available options are:
General guided tours
This is the type of guided tours offered directly by the staff of the National Gallery of London and in these cases take place:
- Monday to Thursday at 11:00 am and 2:30 pm.
- Fridays at 11:00 a.m., 2:30 p.m., and 7:00 p.m.
- Saturdays and Sundays at 11:30 am and 2:30 pm.
These visits are free of charge. They are offered for groups of up to 20 people and begin with the gallery guide at the main entrance, the Portico, located in the center of the gallery by Trafalgar Square.
Personalized guided tours
Personalized guided tours of the London Art Gallery are offered by outside guides authorized by the gallery. For art enthusiasts who wish to explore a particular room or work in detail, this is the best alternative. Just keep in mind that in these cases the schedules may vary; however, in normal conditions, the itinerary is from Monday to Sunday at 10:00 am and **2:**00 pm.
Another advantage in this case is the priority tickets. Those who hire this type of tour usually enter the gallery through the Getty entrance, located on the east side of Trafalgar Square. It has no steps and is only used by exhibitors, members, people with reduced mobility and groups with private guided tours that are booked in advance.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that these experiences are often combined with services such as an English tea service in the Ochre restaurant, which is the gallery's restaurant.
And for aficionados, there is the possibility of a guided tour with a Blue Badge tour guide, that is, an art historian certified by the Institute of Tourism. And all this outside regular hours. The attention is exclusive. If you are looking for things to do in London at night, this is a good alternative.
What days is the National Gallery of London closed?
The National Gallery of London is usually closed only on January 1st and on December 24th, 25th and 26th. The rest of the year the gallery is open regardless of the season.
How much time is recommended to visit the National Gallery of London
The recommended time is 3 to 4 hours, and if you have ever been to the National Gallery, you will know that it is one of the most impressive galleries, it is not surprising that people come from all over the world. However, many people sign up for very short experiences.
If you want to see the hidden gems of this gallery, you are studying the best painters from the Renaissance to the contemporary age, a half-day visit will allow you to focus on your artist of choice, and if you feel like exploring in detail, book a one-day guided tour, art lovers will be in paradise.
How to get the most out of my visit to the National Gallery in London
If you're looking to make the most of your visit to London's National Gallery, why not focus on a particular style of art or the art of a particular place or era? Consider taking one of the following audio tours that suit your interests and allow you to explore the exhibitions more efficiently:
- The Art in the Making Tour: because these paintings are not just brushstrokes at the discretion of their authors, discover the various techniques used to create the gallery's most iconic works of art.
- The Be Inspired Tour: looking for inspiration? havea creative block? listen to a collection of interviews with artists from various genres. Interviewees will talk about works that have inspired them to write, sculpt, paint or even cook.
- The Collection Tour: organize your own tour and walk through London's National Gallery at your own pace. This is the most in-demand personalized tour.
- The Essential Audio Tour: explore in depth a selection of the most famous paintings from the collection.
- The Monet to Picasso Tour: focus on 19th century works of art with Impressionism and Cubism as the mainstays of the tour.
- The Sounds of the Gallery: an absolutely sensory tour. Activate all your senses by listening to the sounds of the environment, such as the ringing of church bells or the Thames River: feel, listen and enjoy the art!
- Life of Christ Tour: explore the works depicting the life of Jesus Christ in all its stages, from his birth to his last days.
With more than 2,300 paintings, the curators and experts of the National Gallery in London often present new proposals with audio tours to facilitate the understanding of the works. You can take a look at the current options by clicking here to direct you to the works of your interest.
To opt for these services, go to the Portico entrance and go up to the second level, in Sainsbury Wing, to the customer service offices, where you will be told of all the options available.
Best time to visit the National Gallery in London
You can visit the National Gallery in London all year round, however, during the month of May 3 special dates take place, namely:
- The Early May Bank Holiday, which takes place on the first Monday in May.
- The Spring Bank Holiday to start your list of things to do in London in spring. This holiday takes place on the last Monday in May.
- And the most important of all, May 18 is International Museum Day, when the best museums in the world organize thematic exhibitions, special events, exclusive visits, as well as the usual museum night, and this gallery is no exception.
The National Gallery has been inspiring art lovers for almost 200 years and London in May offers the best conditions for visiting the gallery, from the pleasant weather to its special events.
Important, if you fancy a "crowd-free" experience, it is best to visit the gallery early in the morning or late in the afternoon on weekdays, as weekends and Friday evenings tend to be busier.
Transport timetable to get to the National Gallery in London
The National Gallery of London is located in Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN, you can see the map here, to get there you have several options:
It is the fastest and most accessible way. The nearest stations are Charing Cross and Leicester Square, in both cases less than 3 minutes walk. I invite you to know the practical guide to the London Underground for more details. The schedule of the subway in its Victoria, Central, Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines, which connect to the gallery, is Monday to Sunday between 05:00 and 00:00 hours.
Streetcar or express
Charing Cross is the nearest station, it is a 3 minute walk to the gallery. Its opening hours are Monday to Friday between 08:00 and 20:00 hours. For more information, see here.
Routes 3, 6, 9, 11, 13, 13, 15, 23, 24, 87, 91, 139 and 176 stop one block from the gallery, in Trafalgar Square, and are open Monday to Friday between 08:00 and 20:00. For more details click here.
In my opinion it is the last option because of the practicality of London's public transport. However, if you like, you can park at Thistle Trafalgar Square and JustPark on St Martin's Street, one block away from Trafalgar Square. In both cases these parking lots operate 24 hours a day, but spaces are limited.
Opening times for children's activities at the National Gallery of London
Your family will have the opportunity to view some of the finest and most visited art collections in the world, while witnessing a wide variety of exhibitions at the National Gallery of London, featuring classic and well-known works of art from different artists, styles and periods, ranging from the Renaissance and Baroque to the contemporary era.
Children and adults alike can participate in fun and educational activities while visiting the National Gallery. For example, you can participate in guided tours and interactive workshops, where children learn about art history while having fun during regular gallery hours Monday through Sunday between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
The National Gallery of London also offers audio tours for groups, which can be used to enhance your gallery experience. This art gallery is definitely a place for the whole family, especially if you are traveling to London with children.
In addition to the advantages of their offer, there are priority tickets, dedicated guides for your family group, as well as refreshments at either the Ochre restaurant or the self-service Muriel's Kitchen, both located on the first floor of the gallery.
Opening times for attractions near the National Gallery of London
Within a radius of 1 kilometer you find squares, terraces, Soho, even Chinatown. Here is a map for you to prepare in advance your visit when you approach the National Gallery of London. Let's get started!
Trafalgar Square is a heritage site which highlights its statues such as Admiral Beatty, Admiral Cunningham and King George IV, one of the four bastions where contemporary art is present.
Also noteworthy are its fountains and its proximity to some of the secret jewels of London. You can visit the square in London WC2N 5DN 24 hours.
National Portrait Gallery
Since 1856 this gallery exhibits an exquisite collection of portraits of iconic figures of British history. Located in St. Martin's Pl, WC2H 0HE, it is located at the back of the National Gallery of London, so you can visit the National Portrait Gallery when leaving the gallery. It is open from 11:30 am - 7:00 pm.
What can I say, a candy paradise with branded souvenirs, clothing and chocolates of all shapes and colors. Sweeten your visit at M&M's World London. You can find them at 1 Leicester Square, Swiss Ct, W1D 6AP. Their opening hours are Monday to Saturday between 10:00 - 22:00 hours and Sundays between 12:00 - 18:00 hours.
It is a square surrounded by cinemas, theaters, terraces and entertainment venues for the family. It is located in London, WC2H and the opening hours vary in each establishment.
The area has been a hub for London's Chinese community since the late 18th century, when Cantonese sailors moved here from the East Indies. In this bustling neighborhood you will find exotic restaurants and stores selling everything from tea to silk dresses. It is located in Gerrard Street, London, W1D 6JW and here the stores are mostly open 24 hours.
Its streets are full of options for leisure and fun for adults. Here are located the best pubs in the city, even the Hard Rock Cafe has its space in these streets. Find Piccadilly Circus in W1D 7ET in London.
Institute of Contemporary Art
The Institute of Contemporary Art is part of the most representative museums of the city for its avant-garde bet. You can find it in The Mall, St. James 's, SW1Y 5AH and its opening hours are from Tuesday to Sunday from 12:00 - 23:00 hours. It is closed on Mondays.