The National Gallery is one of the most important museums in London. It is located in the emblematic Trafalgar Square, just a 10-minute walk from Big Ben or Piccadilly Circus. Admission is free, and in this article I’m going to tell you about some of the paintings you should see if you visit the National Gallery in London.
- Practical information for visiting the National Gallery
- What to see at the National Gallery in London
- Installations at the National Gallery
- What to see near the National Gallery
- Restaurants and cafes near the National Gallery
Practical information for visiting the National Gallery
💸 Price of the National Gallery
As with the vast majority of museums in the city, entry to the National Gallery is free. In other words, you won’t have to pay anything to enjoy the spectacular works of art housed inside. Although, as always, donations are always welcome.
📅 Opening hours of the National Gallery
The National Gallery in London is open from 10am to 6pm, except on Fridays when opening hours are extended to 9pm. Even so, I recommend you check the opening hours on the website in case there are any changes.
🗺 How to get to the National Gallery in London
The National Gallery is located in the heart of the city centre, so if you’re visiting London you’ll probably end up getting there on foot.
The nearest tube stop, which is also a train station, is Charing Cross, but you can also walk to Leicester Square – a 3-minute walk – or Embankment – a 10-minute walk.
As for buses, there are numerous lines that pass through Trafalgar Square. Here is a downloadable map to help you get around the city and see if there is a direct connection from your accommodation to this iconic London square.
And now that we’re talking about how to get around London, I’m going to recommend the Citymapper app. It’s ideal for finding out which buses or underground lines you have to take to get from one point to another in the city. It also lets you know when there are any disruptions or delays on public transport. Personally, it’s one of my must-have London apps.
⏰ Duration of a visit to the National Gallery ⏰
What is the approximate time I should spend in the museum to get the most out of it? There is really no one right answer to this kind of question. It depends on whether you take a guided tour, the number of paintings you want to see or how excited you are about going to a museum.
Personally I would say that 3-4 hours is the perfect time to see the different rooms of the museum and admire its most important paintings.
🎟 Booking a ticket for the National Gallery in London
Before the Covid situation, entrance to the National Gallery was free. That is, you didn’t need to book any kind of ticket or entrance. You simply went there at the time and on the day you wanted.
However, that has changed in recent months and you now need to book tickets through their website.
As I mentioned before, entry to the National Gallery in London is free, but when you secure your tickets, they will give you the option of making a small donation if you wish. If this is not the case, as it is not compulsory, simply scroll down a little further and you will find the free tickets.
💂 Guided tours of the National Gallery
Taking a tour in English with a specialist guide is one of the most effective and interesting ways to visit the National Gallery. Guided tours last 3 hours and are in English.
The tour takes you through the most important paintings of the museum, while telling you small details about each of them, as well as about the building itself.
What to see at the National Gallery in London
When we visit a museum we always have three options: to take a tour, to write down a list of things we want to see and we find most interesting or to let ourselves be surprised.
In this article I’m going to give you a list of paintings to see at the National Gallery in London, one of the most important places to visit in London. But if you are one of those who like to know the history of each painting and understand its symbolism, I would recommend you to hire a guided tour to make the most of those hours of sightseeing in the museum.
Also, here you will find a downloadable map of the National Gallery with 3 different routes, each lasting 25 minutes.
👀 20 paintings to see at the National Gallery, London
This is not a list of the 20 must-see paintings in the National Gallery, or the paintings with the greatest importance or history. This is a compilation of the paintings that – personally – I like the most at the National Gallery in London.
The Thames below Westminster – Monet
The Execution of Maximilian – Manet
Sunflowers – Van Gogh
Van Gogh’s Chair – Van Gogh
The Boulevard Montmartre at Night – Pissaro
Coastal Scene – Théo van Rysselberghe
Portrait of Greta Moll – Matisse
The Friedrichsgracht, Berlin – Eduard Gaertner
The execution of Lady Jane Grey – Delaroche
A man seated reading at a Table in a Lofty Room – follower of Rembrandt
Three men and a boy – The Le Nain Brothers
The Annunciation – Poussin
The Inmaculate Conception of the Virgin, with Two Donors – Juan de Valdés Leal
Susannah and the Elders – Artemisia Gentileschi
Salome receives the Head of John the Baptist – Caravaggio
Judith in the Tent of Holofernes – Johann Liss
Scorn – Paolo Veronese
The Virgin of the Rock – Leonardo da Vinci
Arnolfini Portrait – Jan van Eyck
Portrait of a Woman of the Hofer Family – Swabian
Installations at the National Gallery
The National Gallery in London has a café and a restaurant, both located on the ground floor. There are also toilets, cloakrooms and free wifi.
What to see near the National Gallery
This must-see London museum is located right in the centre of the city. From here you can walk to any of London’s iconic landmarks. Here are some of the places near Trafalgar Square, the square where the National Gallery is located:
- St James’s Park
- Green Park
- Buckingham Palace
- Piccadilly Circus
- Leicester Square
- Covent Garden
- Big Ben
- Westminster Abbey
Restaurants and cafes near the National Gallery
Just off the streets leading into Trafalgar Square you will find numerous cafes and restaurants.
Pret a Manger, Costa Coffee and Cafe Nero are some of London’s most popular franchises. If you prefer a more local experience, I’d recommend a coffee in the secret crypt of St Martin-in-the-fields.
If you like cinnamon rolls, I recommend Ole & Steen, and if you’re a fan of Nata cakes, you’ll love Santa Nata – they have the best in London.
For lunch I recommend 50 Kalo di Ciro, an Italian pizzeria that won the award for the best pizza in Europe outside Italy, or Masala Zone, my Indian restaurant par excellence.