National Gallery

National Gallery

It is completely fine not to be an art lover, but if you happen to be in the capital of Britain and are willing to understand the nature and the spirit of its people and their cultural traditions we advise you to save some time for a visit to the National Gallery. You will notice it straight away, as it stands in Trafalgar Square towering with its dome and columns over the surroundings. The gallery was established in 1824 when the British Government purchased Russian banker John Julius Angerstein's collection. The gallery was formed as an educational venue so during all these years it has been providing free access to its visitors.

This emblematic arts temple features more than 2,000 paintings starting from the 13th century and displaying the masterpieces from Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Michelangelo to Titian and Vincent Van Gogh. Works by more than a thousand masters are exhibited in its halls. Some visitors will remember Raphael's Madonna of the Pinks, others will spend a lot of time standing before Velazquez's Rokeby Venus, but everyone will find a piece of art that will make them want to come here again and again. The halls of the gallery represent Italian, British, Dutch and Spanish artistic schools. The peculiarities of the collection arrangement are due to the educational purposes of the facility as all of the works are placed in a chronological order. That gives an opportunity to trace the rise of the new styles, the development of the techniques used by the artists and to see the evolution of their great gift. The museum conducts its educational programs via lectures, seminars and provides the students with all necessary literature and audio guides in multiple languages. The hourly tours are conducted daily at 11.30 am and 2.30 pm, all visitors can have their audio guides for £4. There are also unique master classes for different age groups, including classes on painting and live music concerts. Every Sunday and on holidays the museum hosts free family activities for all age groups.

Its unique collection, free entry and excellent visitor assistance are the main reasons why the gallery is so popular (it is the world's fourth most visited museum). Tourists are offered an express bar, a cafe and a restaurant that serve British cuisine meals, kid's menus are also available. There are three stores to buy souvenirs, books and reproductions of the gallery's masterpieces, as well posters and post cards. The gallery stands next to the National Portrait Gallery and is surrounded by many frequented tourist sights, such as The Strand, Admiralty Arch in The Mall, St Martin-in-the-Fields church and Theatre Royal Haymarket.

Address: Trafalgar Square
Opening hours: Mon-Thu, Sat-Sun 10 am – 6 pm, Fri 10 am – 9 pm. Closed on January 1, December 24-26.
How to reach: Charing Cross, Leicester Square, Embankment, Piccadilly Circus metro stations; bus 3, 6, 9, 11, 13, 15, 23, 24, 87, 91, 139, 176.
Coordinates: 51.50892, -0.1283