Fourth Plinth Project
Three of the four plinths at Trafalgar Sq’s corners are occupied by notables: King George IV on horseback, and military men General Sir...
In many ways Trafalgar Sq is is the centre of London, where rallies and marches take place, tens of thousands of revellers usher in the...
National Portrait Gallery
What makes the National Portrait Gallery so compelling is its familiarity; in many cases you’ll have heard of the subject (royals,...
This stunningly located restaurant above the excellent National Portrait Gallery comes with legendary views over Trafalgar Sq and...
Trafalgar Sq · interesting places nearby
National Gallery information
With some 2300 European paintings on display, this is one of the world's great art collections, with seminal works from every important epoch in the history of art – from the mid-13th to the early 20th century, including masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Titian, Van Gogh and Renoir.
Many visitors flock to the East Wing (1700–1900), where works by 18th-century British artists such as Gainsborough, Constable and Turner, and seminal Impressionist and post-Impressionist masterpieces by Van Gogh, Renoir and Monet await.
The modern Sainsbury Wing on the gallery’s western side houses paintings from 1250 to 1500. Here you will find largely religious paintings commissioned for private devotion (eg the Wilton Diptych ) as well more unusual masterpieces such as Botticelli’s Venus and Mars and Van Eyck's Arnolfini Portrait . Leonardo Da Vinci's Virgin of the Rocks , in room 57, is a stunning masterpiece.
Works from the High Renaissance (1500–1600) embellish the West Wing where Michelangelo, Titian, Raphael, Correggio, El Greco and Bronzino hold court; Rubens, Rembrandt and Caravaggio grace the North Wing (1600–1700). Notable are two self-portraits of Rembrandt (age 34 and 63) and the beautiful Rokeby Venus by Velázquez.
The comprehensive audio guides (£4) are highly recommended, as are the free one-hour taster tours that leave from the information desk in the Sainsbury Wing daily at 11.30am and 2.30pm, with late tours at 7pm Friday. There are also special trails and activity sheets for children.
Don't overlook the astonishing floor mosaics in the main vestibule inside the entrance to the National Gallery.
The National Dining Rooms provide high-quality British food, an all-day bakery and splendid afternoon teas.
If you want to get sketching, bring your own stool and hand-held pad along and select your artwork. Occasional music performances are held in the National Gallery; check the website for details.
The National Gallery is only shut for four days a year – from 24–26 December and on New Year's Day.