So, we literally got off the plane, dropped our bags off at the hotel, then headed out to the National Gallery. I'd already been up for 20 hours, so it probably wasn't a great idea, but then we only had one chance for the big event. There was a Tudor-era costuming event where live models were dressed in situ and then talked about the process and outfits. It was AWESOME! Seeing models in full era dress among the paintings of the same time period was really great, and they answered so many wonderful questions.
Oh yeah, the paintings were also kinda cool. In fact, they were really cool.
There were many, many, many paintings I'd seen before in my Art History studies, but the best ones were Alastair Crowley, and though there were signs saying No Photos of that particular painting I had to take one anyhow (and I'm pretty sure that Al would've approved of said action) and the busts of the 19th Century. The World of Elizabeth the 1st exhibit was pretty good, too!
All in all, one of my three favorite London museums!
I thought this was a cool museum - a lot of great pieces in an enormous space. It's almost like going through an art history book, but actually seeing the actual pieces showing how art has changed through the centuries.
This is located right on Trafalgar Square and is worth a visit if you're in the area.
You know what I love about British Museums? Everything is free!
The National Gallery is a maze (you're smarter than me if you can figure out the layout from their map) of paintings galore. It's well-lit, roomy, clean and a good two-hours well spent right in the heart of the city.
You cannot go wrong with a morning spent wandering its lovely halls.
One of the most wonderful museum ever.
It's open every day of the week and it's free!
There is art, the building is clean and the attendants are all polite and friendly.
Really though, it's like New York's "The Met", but a little more quaint and English - honestly, you could spend a week in here and still not have appreciated all the spectacular art on show.
And it's free! You can't say fairer than that really.
I love museums. This one is free, features amazing works of art collected by Britain over the years (like, 1000 years!), and is located right in Piccadilly Circus. It doesn't get much easier to enjoy national treasures, so why in the world would you not set aside some time to see this? An hour or two is really enough to hit the important pieces here, and it's worth it.
When you go, do NOT miss the Wilton Diptych. This is the amazing 14th century panel/portrait created for King Richard II and it's absolutely stunning because of its existence and its meaning.
The National Gallery is definitely a good stop on a trip to London. As a free museum, you're just throwing away an opportunity if you don't go. The collections are well placed and organized, though the staff seemed very disinterested. (I guess I would after so long of standing around too!) I'm a big fan of impressionism, so I usually try to find museums with a lot of that style (Musee D'Orsay in Paris for example), but despite the small-ish amount of Impressionist paintings, it's still worth a dedicated visit!
Visited January 2013
Museums. You either love em or hate em. The National Gallery is to me, a beautiful museum. Yes, it is free, which makes it even more appealing to the frugal tourist! So if you tend to get tired of paintings after a few rooms, never fear, you can stroll back outside and come back later or another day!
I loved wandering in and out of each room. There are maps places around the museum guiding you through the various styles of paintings so you can skip the styles you know you wont want to see, and head towards the rooms you want to.
The history just entranced me! Some amazing pieces of art and history.. I loved it and was worth every penny! haha :)
But seriously... Definitely worth finding your way there if you are in London!
Was in town last month and we swung by the National Gallery for some enrichment. The museum is free to enter with a suggested donation that about 75% of visitors seemed to honor. The museum seemed to focus on 15th through 18th century art and the collection is quite impressive. The flow of the museum is somewhat difficult (you have to backtrack a few times through exhibits to see certain rooms to prevent missing them). The museum itself seems massive, but the display areas seem to be concentrated on about 1 1/2 floors and unless you are very engrossed in the art you could probably make it through the entire museum in about an hour. I know this is probably going to sound very "touristy American cliché" but I really had hoped there would have been some "Royal artwork" (portraits of monarchs, British castles, etc.). I'm guessing all of that artwork is reserved for Royal palaces and whatnot, but I really thought the National Gallery would have had some Royal artwork. All in all it is a very good museum and you cannot beat the price.
Great collection here. It reminded me of the Met, add it was filed with a wide variety of pieces. I most enjoyed the English works that tied to other landmarks throughout the city. I would definitely come again, especially bc it's free!
If you love impressionistic art this is the one. Forget the Tate Modern. Here you will find the best of Van Gogh, degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Matisse, Pissarro, Monet, Manet.....in all of their splendour. Half the beauty is the setting of the museum...which sets up beautifully for all the paintings.
One of the highlights besides seeing Van Gogh's Sunflowers were the two artworks by Leonardo da Vinci.....one called a cartoon because it was a template for the painting that was never started....ahmazing.
There are also works staring from the 14 hundreds and up...you know Christ, Virgins, and portraits of important people.
I would highly recommend this place....and it is free..don't get much better than that.
Free + tourist = win.
Given that London, generally speaking, is quite expensive, so having free museums and free entry to many historic areas is definitely a huge plus.
Plus, the National Gallery has SO. MUCH. STUFF. This is another one of those places that you really should budget at least a half a day. Take a break, go outside, grab some food and drinks, and then come back again. I believe the only thing is that there is no photography inside, which makes sense.
However, the collection is very impressive, and there are so many amazing artworks and artists featured here, it's like being in many different museums in the world, but in one place.
There are so many amazing pieces of art here it would take you days to go through everything!!!
Located right on Trafalgar Square, it's a great museum to pop into when waiting for people or even if you're on the way somewhere. It's free to get into and it's collection spans centuries of art.
The building itself is gorgeous and each wing compliments the pictures that are hung in it. Lots of awesome art. Stop reading this and just go!
One of the greatest galleries anywhere in the world. (Period)
Capping off any adventure into heart of London, one would be remiss should they miss the National Gallery. There exist few places anywhere that such a sea of art is available for your eyes to swim in at no charge. With over 2300 masterpieces from medieval masters to French impressionists, you may want to use their guide to 30 "must-see" images as you stroll these marbled halls. Special exhibitions and displays constantly refresh the vast collection and you should always see what's on the "menu" before digging in. Some of the special shows may include an entry fee.
A downloadable app for your tablet or other net device offers a guided tour that I will surely use next time now that I'm "connected".
Go see what all the fuss was about as you scratch your head at Van Gogh's Sunflowers (currently on loan). One of four similar paintings he did to decorate his home in Arles, You can buy a print for @$22 in the gallery store, much cheaper than what was paid for an original version at $82.2M! You can be frugal as well as cultured.
The concept of offering access to the world's greatest collections of Western European paintings for free is one that should not be ignored. So take advantage of this epic opportunity. These paintings "belong to the public", and that, friends, means you.
(and now it is time to get my can back home)
A most excellent museum, and free!
I have little to say here outside of how excellent this museum was. Check out the Impressionist collection, and enjoy the large and varied shops.
The National Gallery is a wonderful art gallery to visit for art lovers. There are thousands of paintings and other works of art to see here, including the infamous coronation of Napoleon painting. The museum is huge, and will take hours to walk through and marvel at the wonderful works of art here that are immortalized on convas. Enjoy!
My best Friday nights again and again.
National gallery is probably not as cool as Tate Modern, not as intriguing as Sir John Soane's Museum, doesn't have as many master pieces as the Louvre, but it's my favourite museum in London (and so far in the world).
I'm always pumped to visit art museums. Unfortunately when I'm actually in a museum, the spirit doesn't last long. Usually what happens is: excited and curious about everything in the first few rooms, from the 6th room I start getting tired, and it all goes down hill from there. Legs getting sore, eyelids getting heavy, the next thing I know I'm dozing off in a mini theater where surrealistic film clips are being played...
But not in national gallery! It kept me interested for the entire day. Listened to all the audio clips on the guide, visited every single open room in the gallery, and learnt a ton about classic European paintings.
I'm not sure what their magic is, but it might have something to do with how they organized the collections. The gallery is divided into 4 sections (chronologically), every section has a signature color, the map will help you navigate through the rooms easily. There are soft benches and chairs in almost every room, very handy when you are visiting the 20th room on your trip. The audio guide is very helpful, it brings the paintings to live with all the interesting stories and background.
Of course the collection of paintings are very impressive too. I like that it focuses on European oil paintings from 1200s - 1900s instead of trying to cover too many things. The collections here are more extensive than other galleries I've been to. I particularly enjoyed the collections of Claude Lorrain, J.M.W Turner and the impressionists.
Other reasons to love national gallery:
2 min walk from Trafalgar Square station, 3 min walk to National Portrait Gallery (also very nice to visit), Covent Garden is just down the street, which means China town is nearby as well... how much better could it get?
There's an espresso bar for coffee and snacks, national cafe for casual dining, and national dining room(super good) for a more posh meal. Tons of restaurants near Trafalgar square as well, there's no lack of choices.
- Temporary Exhibitions
The gallery regularly hosts temporary exhibitions, re-arranges art works in certain ways to give different perspectives. There are also weekly concerts hosted in the national gallery. It's good to always have something new to see.
2 gift shops at the national gallery. A lot of uniquely designed artsy souvenirs are sold there. Also a good selection of popular art works in the museums are available in forms of postcards and prints.
- It's FREE!
This museum really got me more into European paintings. Even now I'm back in the states, I still subscribe to the national gallery's podcast to hear about certain pieces in the gallery, interesting stories of painters/paintings, and news in the art world.
Also, I just wrote my longest Yelp review ever. That's how much I love you, national gallery.
I forget how much religious art there is! Always a good place to pop in to during a rain spell but not really my cup of tea art wise. However, the cafe is another story. It's quite lovely, especially if you can snag a table by the window that overlooks Trafalgar Square.
Main pluses: it's free (OH YAAAH!), it's really beautiful - the building itself and surroundings, full of stuff to do after visiting the museum (pubs ahah :D not only though), incredible painting collections which include Claude Monet, Van Gogh, Matisse. Gooood, you can't be not in love with that art!
Nice place to spend your evening with your spouse :)
First and most importantly The National Gallery is free. As you can expect the building is absolutely huge with spacious, beautifully decorated rooms filled with lots of exceptional paintings in different styles. You can virtually spend a whole day in the The National Gallery without feeling even slightly bored.
The gallery features a shop where you can buy all kinds of art souvenirs and a charming cafe with live piano music that is definitely worth a visit.
Most people see it as a hotspot for tourists but with its temporary exhibitions it appeals to many locals as well.
One thing you need to know about London is that many museums are for free. So is The National Gallery. This museum is a huge building with big beautiful rooms full of different paintings from different times in different styles. The rooms are largely structured after periods of time.
You can spend hours at The National Gallery. The good news is: you do not have to! As The National Gallery is free, you can just walk in, look at some paintings and come back later to look at others. I would be surprised if not anyone could find a room or at least a single painting they like. I do not like every single work at The National Gallery, far from it actually, but amongst others, I enjoyed looking at some paintings of London and other cities.
In addition, The National Gallery features a restaurant that I have not checked out yet, a shop where you can buy all kinds of art and London related stuff and a cafe that is worth a visit, mainly perhaps for the live piano music.
Like some other museums, The National Gallery also sometimes does "late" events, where the museum is open longer and bands are playing in some of the rooms.
The National Gallery is definitely one of the must see museums in London. Its central location makes it easy to reach and you can find many other interesting and nice places nearby. It is a tourist hotspot, but in my opinion, The National Gallery with its events and temporary exhibitions does not only appeal to tourists, but also to the people actually living in London.
And if you are not in London, you could catch a glimpse on some works in the gallery on googleartproject.com/col…
Let's meet at the National Gallery, Room 34.
That's where you'll find the Fighting Temeraire from Skyfall fame or if not, go on a hunt for Sunflowers from Van Gogh or other masters.
Then, when you've had enough, for the afternoon, step outside into one of the most notable sights in London, onto Trafalgar Square itself.
Climb a lion, sing the Canadian national anthem with drunk Canucks and just pinch yourself, your in London mate.
I miss London something terrible and the National Gallery and I became very familiar during my time there.
I can't say I have a favourite museum in London but it's more about the accessibility to all this amazing art in one city.
What can I say that hasn't been already said?
1. It's free
- how can you be disappointing when it does cost you anything but a little of your time.
2. great building
- exterior and surrounding - pause and reflect before you go in, admire the building, the fountain, the square
- beautiful building interior - well organized and
But maybe I am easily impressed because I come from the US where our oldest buildings are only 250 years old - and yes, I know the National Gallery Building was completed in 1838
3. Beautiful painting collections - so much you will need multiple visits
- Monet, Van Gogh, Matisse, Gaughin Cezanne ..., ...
- Yes, it is primarily paintings, that is what is was established as, so know that going in. That is why it is called the National GALLERY.
Plus - they usually have very good photography exhibits - and being an amateur photographer, I really appreciate these. I usually spend as much time in the photography exhibits as I do the rest of the Gallery.
4. Finally, interesting crowds from around the world. Rude tourists to smiling art lovers, art students studying and copying to people just wandering around in a daze.
'Nuff said - great place to get out of the London fog/rain.
I love this museum! I had to come here twice to be able to see all the paintings. The first time here was in the evening. I only had a few hours, which it turns out, wasn't enough time. They have a huge collection of artwork from different periods such as the Renaissance, Impressionist, and Expressionist. They had artists such as Raphael, Renoir, Manet, and Seurat. Although the place was busy, it didn't feel like there were that many people there, I'm guessing because the museum is big.
The museum is located on Trafalgar Square, close to restaurants and other shopping, so there is something to do before and after the museum visit. At the time I was here, it was one of the colder winters that England has experienced. Upon leaving the museum that night, it started snowing. There was a large Christmas tree at the park across the street and small swirls of powdery ice were falling from the sky. The combination of those two made it a very magical experience for me. Something that I can't get living in southern California. That made my visit so much more memorable.
I also have to mention that I was impressed with the bathrooms. They were very, very clean. The stalls were very private, with the high walls and thick material. Not only that, but the flushing didn't require pushing a lever or was it automatic. Instead, in order to flush, we just have to put our finger close to a button and the sensor will flush the toilet. It's really neat!
We visited the National Gallery on a Friday evening. A nice thing to do after diner. We spent a great time visiting the fabulous collections of classical paintings dating from the 13th to the 19th century.
We enjoyed the paintings of Titian. His mythological painting "Diana and Actaeon" portrays the moment in which the goddess Diana meets Actaeon. The colours are beautiful and it's very poetic. From the impressionists we admired the paintings "At the theatre" and "The Skiff" from Renoir. "At the theatre" focuses on a young woman in blue who leans forward in her seat to gain a better view of a performance in the theatre. It's very aesthetical.
In the shop as well as online you can buy a print of every painting you liked in the museum. There are different options (gloss paper, matt paper, with or without a frame) and dimensions (641 x 841mm is the largest size). That's practical.
This museum is a must stop in London.
One of my favorite places to go to in London.
This museum has such amazing paintnings - it's unreal.
They have some of my favoritoe paintings by the worlds greatest painters of all times.
VERY clean place. Full of great people.
Definitely take your date here!!!
Very impressive collection of paintings dating all the way back to the 13th century. But it's not as massive as the Louvre where you can spend a whole day there or get lost in the museum. So it's the perfect sized museum for a 2 hour visit. The best part of it all is that entrance is FREE and they do have a suggested donation of £1 or €2.
No photography is allowed at the museum. But it's ok to take some photos when the attendants are not looking. But you can also buy their Gallery book too with highlights of their collection at €8. It's a good book so go get it.
They have 60+ rooms or so for their permanent collection and they designed it into four major groups. There are rooms for the 13-15th centuries, 16th century, 17th century and 18-20th centuries paintings.
Some of my favorites and highlights include Botticelli's "Venus and Mars" where Venus vanquished Mars. From the 16th century a lot of the familiar artists such as Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian and Veronese including his "The Family of Darius before Alexander" are displayed. Titian's "Bacchus and Ariadne" is in room 12.
In the 17th century rooms, you'll find a self portrait of Rembrandt when he was 34. And the famous Vermeer's painting of "A Young Woman standing at a Virginal" can be found here as well.
And in my favorite of all eras, a lot of the impressionists including Degas, Cezanne, Monet and Manet are found in a few rooms. One of Van Gogh's "Sunflowers" still looked vibrant when looking at it only a few feet away. And Saurat's "Bathers at Asnienes" reminds me of his "Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte."
The Gallery was founded in 1824 and it's rich in history that includes surviving both World Wars. It's definitely worth a visit if you're on Holiday in London. It's located in Trafalgar Square and right off the Charring Cross station so it's really easy getting here. If you have the London Pass, get the audio guide as it is part of the package.
Quite the establishment. Always a fantastic break from the noise and bustle of London.
One of the nicer features are the leather benches in the galleries. Much more comfortable than the typical hard wooden ones.
Examples of all of the classics and without question one of the greatest collections in the world. Best of all it is free to enter. I can spend hours in the galleries or just a quick walk through to get out of one of London's typical rain showers. As it is essentially all on one level up from the Square via steps or an elevator, its easy to get around and see as much or as little as you wish without strain.
The restaurant in the Sainsbury wing is at the top of museum ranks which frankly is not saying much especially given the location is on Trafalgar square within a short walk to many other options.
One of the don't miss sights of London.
Could spend a lifetime here admiring the great artists and larger than life paintings of history more than 100 years old. No photography allowed inside, naughty.. naughty.. you know who you are. It's a place that will cause sensory overload with it's grandness. So please with respect take your time roaming.
Where else can you see Van Gogh, Titian, da Vinci, Monet, Ruebens, Turner, Michelangelo, Botticelli, Goya, etc. for FREE?
Yeah, didn't think so...five stars!!!
Can you fathom 7 centuries of Western art? The National Gallery houses the most extraordinary collection of Western art anywhere in the world...no collection, in any city, surpasses it. Here you will find the most revered works of Western art from the most revered European painters. It's an art historian's delight and admission is free.
Every major European school is represented from the 13th century up to the early 20th century. The collection is displayed, for the most part, chronologically with the earliest works being housed in the Sainsbury wing, which is just beyond the Italian masters, such as da Vinci, Michaelangelo, Raphael, and Titian. Once you emerge from the Sainsbury wing and continue on in clockwise ambulation around the gallery, you can even marvel at Caravaggio's use of chiaroscuro, Claude's idealised landscapes, Velasquez's attempts to diminish the Hapsburg chin of King Phillip of Spain, and delight in the voluptuousness of Reubens' Biblical beauties. I'm not a lover of the Dutch masters, but there are a great many Rembrandt's, including some self-portraits, a single, lavish Vermeer interior, and more Van Dyks than I care to recount.
Although Tate Britain houses the vast majority of the National Gallery's British art, there are some noteworthy Gainsborough portraits, Constable landscapes, Turner seascapes, and equestrian portraits by Stubbs. As you are leaving the British art and heading into the salon of the French Impressionists, you will encounter a single theme...leisure. This is the theme of most every Impressionist painting, which is why so many of the titles include the word "bathers". The Impressionists are seemingly obsessed with bathing and leisureliness in a variety of settings. Who else, but the French?
How much time you chose to spend in the National Gallery will most likely depend on how much you appreciate art and know the historical context in which it was created. Otherwise, you might just want to breeze through looking at all the famous "poster art" that you recognize. Be forewarned, however. If you possess an intense love of art, you may discover that if you turn around to make certain that you are not inadvertently stepping on the toes of a gallery visitor standing behind you, you could find yourself face to face with Cezanne's 20th century masterpiece Les Grandes Baigneuses somewhat unexpectedly. If you are very much a great lover of art, you could potentially, and rather embarrassingly, burst into tears at the pure shock of having come face to face with it's exquisite beauty. It truly is a sight to behold.
The National Gallery is easy to navigate and logically laid out. I recommend asking for a gallery guide, as they are essentially free, but a donation is requested. The restaurant serves a delicious English breakfast and there is also a casual cafe. I found that the staff in the cloak room were extremely polite even though I was an American abroad during the Bush presidency. I very much appreciated that they didn't throw their shoes at me, although I would have completely understood had they done so.
One last note for those who are visiting London. As you are about to descend the steps of the National Gallery out into Trafalgar Square, take a moment to look at the beautiful view. It makes a pretty nice photo if you can capture Big Ben off in the distance (see photo yelp.co.uk/biz_photos/El…). Also, don't overlook the National Portrait Gallery. It's just down the steps and around the corner, to your left.
Unbelievably thorough museum featuring all the works that you've seen in junior high history books. The Monets and Van Goghs that you may recognize from, oh, EVERYWHERE, are even more awesome in person.
I've spent hours perusing the rooms, which are organized by time period or artist. The building itself is breathtaking and located conveniently on Trafalgar Square, which is great because after spending 4 hours in relative silence, it's nice to step out and grab a bite by the fountain.
As a former art history major, lover of art museums, and generally well-traveled person who has been to most major art galleries in the western world, what I am about to say should not be taken lightly:
The National Gallery is the best museum in the world.
Better than the Louvre?
Oh yes, oh yes. For what it does, the NG is unmatched. And this is what I love most about this museum. It knows what it is, and it embraces this identity and absolutely excels at it.
Never managed to take an art history class at Uni? Oh, not a problem. Just walk around the National Gallery. It's all in there. The history of European art since 1200 is basically summarized for you within the walls of this building, using the best examples of each period. Pretty freaking amazing, if you ask me.
Since it's free, one of my favourite things to do is pop in for 30-40 minutes at a time, and pick a room to really see in detail. The last time I went, I plopped myself down in front of the Tintorettos, and sat there in awe for the better part of an afternoon without moving or speaking to anyone.
One of the selling points for me when we moved to London was the promise that I could visit this museum whenever I wanted, at a moment's notice.
Ah, the National Gallery. The first museum I visited on my first trip to the Old World and still one of the most memorable.
I can still picture the large canvases of Seurat's "Bathers", and Monet's typical water lillies. What stood out most in my visit was Rembrandt's portraits and self-portraits. Just looking into the eyes of Rembrandt's figures let you know that the artist had a special insight into the human soul.
And the museum is FREE (or at least it was when I was there many moons ago). Donations are of course welcomed and I did pay what I could at the time.
I've been there two or three times since and the National Gallery is a must-see every time I visit London Town.
The National Gallery seems to have a little bit of everything. They don't have extensive collections of any of these artists, but they have little bits from everyone (making it a very completely collection, if not a complete collection of any specific artist).
The building is great as well and the location at Trafalgar square is so central and so alive. The layout inside is fantastic and each room flows so smoothly into the next. Great lighting in all of the rooms and it proved to be an amazing place to spend an afternoon after much walking around in the general vicinity.
And yes, like most museums in London, it's free.
National Gallery is not a museum you can see all in one day - although we sure tried
Wonderful tour of artists through the ages....there is a room / floor for every notable stage in history. It's great to see how styles & subject matter moved throughout the times.....saints, sinners, sickness, battles, still-life, landscapes, Impressionism........
Best advice if you are short on time...... National Gallery also offers this awesome tool called **ArtStart** which is a computer-based tool that either shows you info on all the paintings - or will let you customize your own tour so you can see the paintings you really, really want to see......brilliant!!
Definitely a museum to come back to again & again b/c you'll never see a painting in the same way twice & there are thousands to explore & appreciate
And it's all FREE
When travelling, especially to London where the exchange rate between the GBP and the USD is enough to guarantee that I won't be eating for the next three months thanks to my expensive holiday...anything free is much appreciated.
The great thing about the National Gallery is that not only is it free, but it's pretty flippin' amazing. Be prepare to walk around in awe with all of the original artwork displayed, but the actual gallery and museum space is also super spacious and beautiful as well. I'm definitely glad I had the time to check this out.
I'm also glad that I didn't die while trying to climb a lion statue outside of the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square.
YEAHHHH BOYS AND GIRLS ITS FREE....
The free part appeals to my more Jewish-penny pinching side.... but to perfectly honest this place is awesome... its right off the square... so EASY TO FIND!
They also have exhibits you have to ££pay££ for. When I went with my Mum and Dad a few weeks ago they paid for us to go and see the Annie Leibovitz exhibit which was UTTERLY BREATHTAKING. I highly recommend it if it is still there.
After all our walking we decided to go to the cafe in the Gallery which was also not half bad and really cute... got a pesto pasta salad that HIT THE SPOT mmmm.
This is my favourite museum in London and what's more, it's free! There is a good variety of paintings from different eras. It is large and never seems to feel overcrowded in the galleries even if the entrance can sometimes be blocked by innumerable numbers of hugs groups of schoolkids!
My personal favourites include the Canaletto paintings of Venice and the countryside scenes by Constable.
It's also well situated with Chinatown, the Thames river and Covent Garden all a short walking distance away for other fun activities. It's also a more pleasant walk there now that the north side of Trafalgar Square has been pedestrianised.
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