With the British capital's focus on culture, it's no surprise that a visit to its premier 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", Velázquez'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, specialised tours, guided tours for children, and even evenings in the gallery to go from the Italian Renaissance to contemporary art under the moonlight. To keep track of its calendar of events, here are the opening hours of the National Gallery in London.
General opening hours of the National Gallery of London
The general opening hours are Monday to Sunday at 10:00, with the biggest difference occurring at the end of the day and in its exhibition and special event rooms.
The closing times of the National Gallery of London are:
- Monday to Thursday at 18:00.
- Fridays at 9pm.
- Saturdays and Sundays at 18:00.
An important point is that the cloakroom of this art gallery does vary its opening hours. You can enjoy its services from Saturdays to Thursdays from 10:00 to 17:30 and Fridays until 20:30.
Weekend opening hours of the National Gallery of London
On Saturdays and Sundays the National Gallery of London is open from 10am until 6pm, except on 1 January and 24, 25 and 26 December, when the gallery is closed.
National Gallery of London opening hours at night
The gallery is usually closed during the night. However, on Fridays it opens its doors at special times until 9pm with concerts, art and poetry evenings, exhibitions of emerging artists... Friday Lates is one of the best night tours in London for its variety, range of events and expression of diverse art.
Opening times for guided tours 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, it's one of the top 10 museums in London - and to hear the expert commentary, it offers guided tours every day, so you'll have time to explore the pieces. The options available are:
General guided tours
This is the type of guided tour offered directly by the staff of the National Gallery in London and takes place:
- Monday to Thursday at 11:00 am and 2:30 pm.
- Fridays at 11:00 am, 2:30 pm and 7:00 pm
- 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 start with the gallery guide at the main entrance, the Portico, located in the centre of the gallery by Trafalgar Square.
Personalised guided tours
Personalised guided tours of the London Art Gallery are offered by external guides authorised by the gallery. For art enthusiasts who wish to explore a particular room or work in detail, this is the best alternative. Just bear in mind that opening hours may vary, but normally the itinerary is from Monday to Sunday at 10:00 and 14:00.
Another advantage here is that priority tickets are available. Those who book 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 enthusiasts, there is the possibility of a guided tour with a Blue Badge tour guide, i.e. an art historian certified by the Institute of Tourism. And all this outside regular opening hours. The service 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 is usually closed only on the public holidays of 1st January and 24th, 25th and 26th December. The rest of the year the gallery is open regardless of the season.
How long is recommended to visit the National Gallery in London?
If you **'**ve ever been to the National Gallery, you'll know that it's one of the most impressive art galleries in the world, so it's no wonder 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're studying the greatest 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 fancy exploring in detail, book a guided day tour, art lovers will be in heaven.
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 period? 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 a variety of genres. Interviewees will talk about works that have inspired them to write, sculpt, paint or even cook.
- The Collection Tour: organise your own tour and walk around London's National Gallery at your own pace. This is the most popular personalised 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 river Thames - 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 over 2300 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 you are interested in.
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 spring London to-do list. This holiday takes place on the last Monday in May.
- And the most important of all, 18 May is International Museum Day, when the world 's best museums organise themed exhibitions, special events, exclusive tours and 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 provides the best conditions for visiting the gallery, from the pleasant weather to the special events.
Importantly, 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 the National Gallery in London
The National Gallery is located in Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN, you can see the map here, to get there you have several options:
This is the quickest and most accessible way. The nearest stations are Charing Cross and Leicester Square, both less than 3 minutes walk away. I invite you to take a look at the practical guide to the London Underground for more details. The London Underground's opening hours on the Victoria, Central, Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines, which connect to the gallery, are Monday to Sunday between 05:00 and 00:00.
Tram or Express
Charing Cross is the nearest station, a 3 minute walk to the gallery. Its opening hours are Monday to Friday between 08:00 and 20:00. 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. You can find out more details here.
In my opinion, this is the last option because of the convenience of London's public transport. However, if you like, you can park at Thistle Trafalgar Square and JustPark on St Martin's Street, a block away from Trafalgar Square. In both cases these car parks operate 24 hours a day, but spaces are limited.
Opening times for children's activities at the National Gallery in 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 in 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 take part 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 opening hours from Monday to Sunday between 10:00 and 18:00.
The National Gallery in London also offers audio guides for groups, which can be used to enhance your experience at the gallery. This gallery is definitely a place for the whole family, especially if you are travelling to London with children.
In addition to the benefits on offer, there are priority entrance 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 ground floor of the gallery.
Opening times for attractions near the National Gallery, London
Within a 1 kilometre radius you will find squares, terraces, Soho, even Chinatown. Here is a map to help you prepare your visit in advance when you come to the National Gallery in London. Let's get started!
Trafalgar Square is a heritage site with statues such as Admiral Beatty, Admiral Cunningham and King George IV, one of the four bastions where contemporary art is present.
National Portrait Gallery
Since 1856 this gallery has exhibited an exquisite collection of portraits of iconic figures from British history. Located on St. Martin's Pl, WC2H 0HE, it is located at the back of the National Gallery in London, so you can visit the National Portrait Gallery on your way out of the gallery. Opening hours are 11:30am - 7pm.
What can I say, candy heaven with branded souvenirs, clothes and chocolates in all shapes and colours. 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.
This is a square surrounded by cinemas, theatres, terraces and family entertainment venues. It is located in London, WC2H and opening hours vary from establishment to 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 neighbourhood you'll find exotic restaurants and shops selling everything from tea to silk dresses. Located on Gerrard Street, London, W1D 6JW, most of the shops here are open 24 hours a day.
The streets of Piccadilly Circus are full of entertainment options for adults. The city's best pubs are located here, and even the Hard Rock Cafe has its own space in these streets. Find Piccadilly Circus in W1D 7ET London.
Institute of Contemporary Art
The Institute of Contemporary Art is one of the most representative museums in the city for its avant-garde approach. 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.