National Gallery, London

National Gallery, London (must see)

The National Gallery is a popular attraction visited annually by up to six million people. It houses one of the greatest collections of Western European art in the world spanning from 1250 until 1900, comprising the works of Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Renoir, Picasso, Van Gogh, and many other greats.

Established by British government in 1824, The National Gallery started off with just slightly over 30 paintings or so. Today, it boasts a collection of more than 2500 pieces, two-thirds of which are private donations, and the rest have been acquired with donated funds including £50 million from Sir Paul Getty. Some of this cash has been used to expand the building, such as the Sainsbury Wing constructed in 1985.

Apart from viewing famous artworks, there are many other off-the-beaten-track things you can do at the gallery. One such thing is discovering the hidden Leonardo. For example, “The Virgin of The Rocks” piece. There, underneath the famous upper layer hides another layer painted also, quite possibly, by Da Vinci himself. If you go to room 66, you may then pride yourself on the knowledge that you have seen actually two pictures for the price of one:)

Also, you can try your hand at life drawing in a class with a real life naked model! Speaking of nudity, you might as well do some maths at the National Gallery counting nipples on display, just to keep yourself busy until the closing time. While at it, please note that between 11.30am and 2.30pm each day the gallery offers free 1-hour tours. These tours are a sort of “crash courses” in fine arts and British art history. Additionally, at 1pm the gallery runs specially-scheduled lunchtime art talks. Also, every couple of months the National Gallery holds late night Friday events on a variety of topics, such as Renaissance art, sugar crafting, calligraphy workshops, etc.

If you fancy a bite in the arty setting, why not do so in style, right here at the National Gallery. The local restaurant is quite unique in terms of serving Colchester native oysters alongside a regular choice of cakes, sandwiches, teas, coffee and more. The National Gallery has its own afternoon tea, the menu and the theme of which vary depending on the exhibition currently in place. Regardless of the menu, the scones are always present. The afternoon tea is served daily and no prior booking is required.

Why You Should Visit:
Free admission, and rooms upon rooms of gorgeous art from various artists (including some very well known ones). You can take pictures or you can take an audio guide.

Tip:
Aside from the main Gallery, there is also the Sainsbury Wing which is where large exhibitions and talks are normally held. There is also a shop where you can buy books on the artists and exhibitions, a refreshment area and plenty of seating.

Opening Hours:
Fri: 10am-9pm; Sat-Thu 10am–6pm

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in London. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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National Gallery on Map

Sight Name: National Gallery
Sight Location: London, England (See walking tours in London)
Sight Type: Museum/Gallery
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in London, England

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