Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries & Historical Sites

Your Visit to The National Gallery

London , Westminster - National Gallery and St Martin-in-the-Fields - - 1225072

The current location and building of The National Gallery is the third to house the National Gallery and was designed in 1832 to 1838. Only the façade onto Trafalgar Square remains essentially unchanged from this time, as the building has been expanded piecemeal throughout its history.

The building of The National Gallery was often criticised for the perceived weaknesses of its design and for its lack of space. The lack of space led to the establishment of the Tate Gallery for British art in 1897. The Sainsbury Wing extension is a notable example of Postmodernist architecture in Britain.

The National Gallery is visited by millions of people every year, and it is free to visit the permanent collections at the British Museum. Special Exhibits have a fee for entry however the vast majority of the museum is free.  Before your visit, please check the museum’s website to confirm your visit details.

Tips for the National Gallery

Avoid Peak Times

Plan to visit the most famous objects of the museum at the first opening hour or during the late night openings. Reserve the middle of the day for the less popular galleries. So see your favourite masterpieces first thing in the morning or during a late night session.

Introductory Tours

Check if the museum offers free tours or fee-based tours. Confirm availability via the website or at the information counter. There are also private tours available depending on your interests. A tour is an excellent way to gain an introductory overview of the many collections.

Take multiple visits and breaks

Entry to the National Gallery is free, so you do not need to see everything in just one visit. Spread your experience over multiple visits and take breaks for food and hydration. Reading this book during a tea or coffee break is a great way to refresh in between gallery visit.

Prepare in advance

Research the best underground tube location from your home base and how to get to the museum from the train station. It is best to prepare in advance with a general idea of how to get to the museum using a map or a smartphone.

Use the Museum Map

A map with the general layout of the museum, descriptions for the important galleries and highlight attractions within the museum is a useful aid. Maps are available at the inquiries desk and the bookshop.

Read our Book

MASTERPIECES of the NATIONAL GALLERY, LONDON covers the essential Masterpieces of the National Gallery to tell the story of Western European painting.

For more insights, see our book "MASTERPIECES of the NATIONAL GALLERY, LONDON."

MASTERPIECES of the NATIONAL GALLERY, LONDON covers the essential Masterpieces of the National Gallery to tell the story of Western European painting.

Available Now

The NATIONAL GALLERY of LONDON'S collection is representative of the major Art Movements over a period of seven centuries. This book guides readers to the essential Masterpieces of the National Gallery.

The National Gallery

  • Museum:                       The National Gallery
  • City:                                London
  • Location:                       Trafalgar Square, London
  • Public transit access:     Charing Cross



“Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” English Proverb


Photo Credit:Lewis Clarke [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons