National Portrait Gallery, London

4.6
#11 of 257 in Museums in London
An impressively preserved, ornate structure built in the 1850s, National Portrait Gallery contains a collection of portraits painted of significant and famous British people. Perhaps the most notable portrait in the gallery is one of William Shakespeare, but there are approximately 10,000 others to view and consider. National Portrait Gallery is just one of the many highlights you can arrange to see using our custom trip planner, London Edition.
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National Portrait Gallery Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
5,533 reviews
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4.6
TripAdvisor
  • I visited the BP Portraits Exhibition - I love it because it is small, not overwhelming and always, always has special and unusual paintings to admire. I make this an annual pilgrimage and have never ...  more »
  • A hidden gem overlooking the rooftops of Trafalgar Square towards Parliament. Light and airy with stunning views. The food was excellent - particularly the calve's liver which was cooked to perfection...  more »
  • Went to see the latest BP portraits. Just gorgeous, lots of thought provoking and quite melancholy selection with sad stories. Maybe thats where we are in the world. Quite surprising choices, but stil...  more »
Google
  • Imagine yourself in Tudor England having just been asked to paint a portrait of your monarch. A monarch who believes they have the face and figure of a Greek god, but who actually has the face and figure of a pickled goat’s head stapled to some bagpipes. You have a burnt stick, some dry mud, and an egg. If you’re up to date with the latest art technology, you may also have a bag of seeds. And if you get this wrong, it won’t be your painting that gets hung. Fortunately some Tudor artists not only got it right, but their work has survived for 500 years and is now on display here, alongside many of Britain’s most famous faces. It’s impossible not to be impressed. In some areas it does feel more like a catalogue of noteworthy chaps rather than a collection of art, but the best sections more than make up for that. I personally like the half-finished, not-very-good, only-one-we-could-find, type of portrait. It makes a refreshing change from some of the formally posed, hand on a book, portraits. The only portrait I have of myself was done in purple crayon on crumpled paper, and is basically a picture of two smiling potatoes and some twigs. I think I’m the potato on the left. Maybe it would help if there were one or two smiling potatoes amongst the Victorian Statesmen.
  • I think this is my favourite gallery so far in London. Just because they had a very detailed exhibition on Tudor dynasty which I’m always interested in. It is a small gallery and full of historical paintings and modern pictures, but it has a different vibe from those big museums. It’s definitely worth a visit if you’re into British monarchy history, and portrait things of course, like photography. I even bought a book after it because I was so enjoyed.
  • This is a fabulous gallery, especially if one is a history lover. I came this last time to see the Elizabethan Treasures exhibition (marvellous; make sure you ask for a magnifying glass as you enter), but ended up spending the rest of the afternoon at the rest of the gallery's halls. It's a lovely Victorian building, with some amazing paintings and sculptures of inspiring leaders, villains, scoundrels, romantic, reformists, it's like taking a time machine through the history of Great Britain. My favourite part is the 3rd floor "Tudor section", which, besides heroes of the Elizabethan era and the Virgin Queen herself, sports the only known portrait of William Shakespeare painted during his lifetime, and some of the kings and pretenders he wrote in his plays about. A must for any lover of portraiture and history.
  • I loved it. There are the usual things always on display, but there are also items that are changed out with new things from the vast archives they have, plus special exhibits and tours. Just wonderful and dynamic. Highly recommended any time you are in the area. And one of the best things and something the government gets right - it's free admission to everyone. Highly Recommended.
  • Very beautiful and diverse array of portraits available on display. Thoroughly enjoyed my visit and was surprised by some of the more iconic portraits I found here. I particularly liked the monarchs rooms as well as the contemporary portraits including some of my favourite celebrities. Would recommend visiting this gallery as a must see when you're in London. I spent about an hour and a half here and saw all the portraits available but if I went again I would slow down my pace and take my time absorbing all the wonderful art available.
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