Unexpectedly, I found this wonderful art museum/gallery! I just wanted to go to the Trafalgar Square because my tour guide told me that the Trafalgar Square is one of the most visited public space in London, so of course, I wanted to check it out by myself! Yes, it was a very lively yet relaxing place to hang out. There were so many people sitting, passing by, and taking pictures, but the vibe of the people was not only exciting and curious but also very relaxing. Some people were just sitting on the steps chatting, some by the fountain eating lunch, and some leading against the sculptures while soaking in the warm sun.
Back to the gallery, I was curious as to what the building in front of the square was, so I walked up the stairs and saw the sign that said "National Gallery." I remembered learning in my art history class that the British has an enormous and diverse collection of various art pieces all throughout the world. I was thrilled to encounter this gallery and strolled through the building with the various art work.
I was very surprised by the collection because I'm by New York and always thought that the Met museum and other galleries had great collections, but after going through this gallery, I realized that this place holds a totally different set of art work and gives me a new perspective of different cultures!
I was very impressed by their collections and the layout of the building! Very organized and well-constructed.
I wasn't expecting to visit the National Gallery but I am glad I did. After the London Eye, I needed a bit of "art therapy." I mean who else has Van Gogh's Sunflowers on display? Even though entrance is absolutely free, a modest donation is recommended. Tip: Instead of the Portico Entrance, try the Getty Entrance.
P.S. Great gift shops! I bought myself a Van Gogh inspired keychain and a book dedicated to the works of Bosch.
Located behind the square, the national gallery is a must go to if you love art galleries. The National gallery is iconic which many famous pieces of artwork from famous people like leonardo da vinci and van gogh. Did I mention this amazing place is free? And also the building itself is beautiful with amazing design and architecture.
I highly recommend doing some research before hand if you don't have hours and a whole day to spend getting lost in here by downloading a map online and finding out which are the most famous and must-see paintings and where they are located in the museum. Set aside a good amount of time to see this place as it is HUGE.
Oh, and I hear the restaurant/cafe/whatever it is, is pretty good here. I didnt have time to try it out, but if you yelp it or trip advisor it I'm sure you can find more info on it ^-^.
Overall, this is a must see when in london. And hey, it free, so no excuses.
Fantastic and phenomenal paintings!
The arts that are displayed here, are very majestic and extravagent! It is also very cultural and inspiring!
You must come here when in UK!
Went there specifically for the 'Making Colour' exhibition.
It is a very interesting exhibition about colour perception and creation. How did artists then and now create their coloured paint and other materials? Did you know that the first pigments used for the colour blue were once more expensive than gold?
There are a lot of examples of materials used to create pigments from. Paintings and pottery to show how the pigments were used in real life and how well (or indeed badly) they withstood the test of time.
Also interesting is the colour perception experiment in the small theatre. Here it is explained how the colours we perceive are created in the brain. Very interesting that a lot of our colour perception depends on memory.
The experiment shows, in an interesting way, how what colours you perceive may not actually be the colours that enter the eye!
Interesting on a scientific level (easy to understand) and artistic level.
One of my Favorite Galleries in the world, and the highlight of London Museums. If I could only visit one Gallery, I would be very happy to make it this one. You have the opportunity to see some of the Worlds greatest art here, so you owe it to yourself to visit. This Museum is easy to get to and very user friendly.
If you're in to art this definitely the place to be whenever you visit London along with the many other places to visit. Definitely one of our favorite!
A truly top class museum. Part of my highlights on the London Trip this year.
While I was waiting at Trafalgar Square for a group of friends, I decided to use that time to check out the National Gallery. I was really surprised that it was free since the museums in the US and France usually have an admission fee. That was a really nice bonus!
I slowly paced through the various halls of the gallery and was in awe at all the beautiful artworks and sculptures. There were many artworks of famous painters like van Gogh, Monet, Rembrandt, and all the other artists you would find in an art history textbook. There were so many hallways and I got lost in the museum since I was wondering aimlessly trying to take in all the beautiful artwork as quickly as possible since my friends were almost at our meet up spot.
The museum doesn't allow you to take pictures so you can only take pictures of the museum from the outside.
I wish I had more time to explore this museum to see the entire collections of paintings. This is definitely a place tourists should check out! It is convenient to spot by this place since it is in Trafalgar Square, which is another site to see for yourself!
One of most iconic art galleries in the world. I've been coming here for many years as an art student. One of my favourite part was to go to the Leonardo da Vinci's paintings and admire and be inspired by the master of art. Theres plenty to do and see, gonna need couple hours to see everything.
You don't have to be into art to visit, I think anyone who comes and sees the details and size of the paintings will be amazed. I always get amazed by the amount of detail and hours put into the paintings.
The National Gallery is London's answer to the Louvre but, in clear contrast to Paris' nose in air the approach to art, The National Gallery is completely free to visit. Unless of course you're a lovely person and would like to make a donation, in which case the recommended amount is £4.
London has a rich selection of museums and galleries to wander through but if you only have time to see one, make it this one. Yes Tate Modern has a certain cool factor to it and the V&A is eclectic, Tate Britain is pretty extensive - but by no means an honestly curated archive of British art - yet none of these archives can boast the sheer range and awe-inspiring presence of the collection available at TNG.
Here visitors can view Seurat, Van Gogh, Degas, Ingres, Monet, Cézanne, van Eyke, van Dyke, Rubens, Velasquéz, Caravaggio, Titian, Rembrandt, Raphael, Leonardo, Botticelli as well as British masters (yes they exist) Turner, Reynolds, Gainsborough, Rossetti, Constable, Millais, Joseph Wright, Holman Hunt. The list goes on and on and on (of artists in general not of British masters, we don't have that many... Comparatively speaking.)
The dynamic and extensive collection held here is curated chronologically and in Salon style rooms. One room may be dedicated to Rococo, another to Enlightenment and yet another to the Pre-Raphaelites etc. More often, in the absence of clearly defined movements, an era or decade will receive its own room or a particularly prolific artist may receive a small room to themselves, all of this within the limits of chronology.
Do yourself a favour and purchase a map or at least periodically consult the maps available or take a picture of the map! It's easy to get lost in here and the rooms can begin to look very very similar. It really doesn't help that some rooms have four identical doors leading in and out of them so please, don't be that person... Take note of the numbers of the rooms as their names can be long and difficult to remember. The gallery is basically always busy and can feel quite chaotic but it pays off to really take your time.
The collection here begins at around 1200 and ends at the turn of the twentieth-century, so if you are interested in anything beyond about 1930 or so, perhaps supplement a visit to TNG with one to Tate Modern.
Another thing to keep in mind for the budding art historian or enthusiast is that The National Gallery is 100% Eurocentric. I haven't done my research on that statement but I'm 90% sure that it's not even Western-centric but squarely Eurocentric. There are no Eastern artists represented here, Middle or Far, no African and no New World art either. (I'll bet my lunch money on it.)
Tip: Begin in the Salisbury Wing and work your way into the main building, you will see late Medieval religious art, crucifixes, triptychs and altarpieces, leading through the development of Western art from religious iconography to individual expression as the centuries progress.
I love the location of the National Gallery right in Trafalgar Square. There really isn't much to complain a free museum that according to their website has "2,300 masterpieces for free from late medieval masters to the French Impressionists." I love the diversity at the museum and it is organized well. You will need many hours to see it all, but the great thing about it being free is you can leave when you please and come back the next day. There are many museum options in London, but if you are just going to go to a few this is one of your top 5 to go to for sure.
Whoa, it was crowded here. And then it started raining, and got more crowded!
We kind of just ended up here while being lost-ish and then realizing, heyyyyyy isn't this the place where Sherlock and John walk up to the museum in the Blind Banker?
Due to it being free and a Saturday and raining, it was hard to enjoy the museum while being crowded on every side. It was neat seeing the Van Gogh, but it was too crowded to really spend much time looking at anything else.
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.
Located in the beautiful Trafalgar Square, the Gallery itself is a beautiful building, The building is huge and so is the collection, it took me hours to walk through it and still couldn't finish. I almost got lost at the end because it is like a maze inside. I would definitely come back! One thing that keeps me wonder is that whether photography is allowed, I didn't see any visible signs banning photography, but no one is taking pictures though...
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.
One of the most wonderful museum ever.
It's open every day of the week and it's free!
national gallery is one of the most well known art galleries in the world, definitely worth a visit on a rainy london day!
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!
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.
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.
Cool museum if you're into paintings. I like paintings, but not of this kind. However still a good collection.
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!
What's better than seeing beautiful renascence art up close and personal? It's doing it for free off course! Anything is better for free! I never get tired of this place! Every time I come to London I go there and rejuvenate my eyesight by looking at beautiful art. This Galery is near everything within walking distance (like mostly anywhere in London).
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
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)
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!
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.
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.
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 :)
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!
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.
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…
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.
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.
This user has arrived from Qype, a European company acquired by Yelp in 2012. We have integrated the two sites to bring you one great local experience.