National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait Gallery
St Martin's Place
Greater London




Recorded Information

020 7312 2463

020 7306 0055

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
National Portrait Gallery, London
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The National Portrait Gallery, founded in 1856, is home to the largest collection of portraits in the world, with works dating from the Middle Ages to the present day.

With over 1,000 portraits on display visitors can come face to face with the people who have shaped British history and culture, from Elizabeth I and Charles Dickens to The Beatles and David Beckham. Artists featured range from Holbein to Hockney, and the Collection includes work across all media, from painting and sculpture to photography and video.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

Daily 10.00-18.00
Gallery closure commences at 17.50
Thursday & Friday until 21.00
Gallery closure commences at 20.50

Closed: 24-26 December

Admission charges

Admission to the Gallery is FREE
An admission fee is charged for some exhibitions


  • Museums Association

Additional info

Evening Openings

The Gallery is open on Thursday and Friday evenings until 21.00. In addition to being able to view the Collection and exhibitions, special lectures (in English only) are held on Thursday evenings and free music events on Friday evenings.

The Collection is displayed chronologically, beginning with the earliest Tudor portraits on the top floor, the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, through to the Victorians and early 20th century on the first floor and finishing with the most contemporary part of the collection on the ground floor.

Collection details

Archives, Decorative and Applied Art, Fine Art, Personalities, Social History

Key artists and exhibits

  • In addition to the Main Collection, a programme of special temporary exhibitions and displays runs throughout the year.
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
painting of Queen Elizabeth I

The Real Tudors

  • 12 September 2014 — 1 March 2015 *on now

This special display allows visitors to rediscover the well-known Tudor monarchs through the most complete presentation of their portraiture staged to date.

Works from the Gallery’s Collection are presented alongside exceptional loans and a prized possession of each monarch, as well as recent research undertaken as part of the Making Art in Tudor Britain project, to help visitors understand how and why such images were made. The search for a ‘real’ portrait of Lady Jane Grey in the sixteenth century is also explored through the display of a commemorative portrait of Jane that dates from the Elizabethan period.

Following its London run The Real Tudors: Kings and Queens Rediscovered will form the core of a larger exhibition organised in partnership with Réunion des Musées Nationaux – Grand Palais at the Musée du Luxembourg, Paris, in 2015.

Suitable for

  • Any age


painting of man and woman sitting by a fountain. The woman is painting

Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends

  • 12 February — 25 May 2015 *on now

John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) was the greatest portrait painter of his generation. Acclaimed on both sides of the Atlantic, he was closely connected to many of the other leading artists, writers, actors and musicians of the time. His portraits of these friends and contemporaries, including Auguste Rodin, Claude Monet and Robert Louis Stevenson, were rarely commissioned and allowed him to create more intimate and experimental works than was possible in his formal portraiture.

This major exhibition of over seventy portraits spans Sargent’s time in London, Paris and Boston as well as his travels in the Italian and English countryside. Important loans from galleries and private collections in Europe and America make this an unmissable opportunity to discover the artist’s most daring, personal and distinctive portraits.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Tickets, including donation:
Full price £16
Concessions £14.50


painting of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington

Wellington: Triumphs, Politics and Passions

  • 12 March — 7 June 2015

Wellington: Triumphs, Politics and Passions, the first gallery exhibition devoted to the Duke of Wellington, marks the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo (18 June 1815).

The Duke of Wellington’s long life (1769 –1852) spanned the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Most famous for his military career which culminated with victory over Napoleon at the battle of Waterloo, Wellington later entered politics, serving twice as Prime Minister. The exhibition will explore these aspects of his character as well as his personal life, and illustrate the role of visual culture in creating the hero and the importance of the portrait in Wellington’s own public and private self-representation.


a photo of a woman wearing a pink dress next to pink flowers

Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon

  • 2 July — 18 October 2015

This fascinating photographic exhibition illustrates the life of actress and fashion icon Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993). From her early years as a chorus girl in London’s West End through to her philanthropic work in later life, Portraits of an Icon will celebrate one of the world’s most photographed and recognisable stars.

A selection of more than sixty images will define Hepburn’s iconography, including classic and rarely seen prints from leading twentieth-century photographers such as Richard Avedon, Cecil Beaton, Angus McBean, Norman Parkinson and Irving Penn. Alongside these, an array of vintage magazine covers, film stills, and extraordinary archival material will complete her captivating story.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Tickets, including donation:
Full price £10
Concessions £8.50


Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Composite image, troops from West Indies Regiment at Seaford Camp in Sussex, The General Officers of the First World War

Art, Conflict & Memory Teachers CPD

  • 6 March 2015 9am-4:30pm

A unique cross-site CPD day (starting at the Imperial War Museum London) exploring the themes of truth and memory looking at conflict from the First World War to the present day. Teachers will have the opportunity of working with key speakers to explore questions about memory, representation and the shaping of identity.

Highlights include:
• Exclusive private view of the Imperial War Museum London’s new First World War Galleries before public opening hours and discussion with curator and historian Ian Kikuchi.
• Lucy Wood - Assistant Curator, National Portrait Gallery, considers impact of Sargent’s portrait commission General Officers of World War I (1922).
• Stephen Bourne – Community Historian and author of Black Poppies: Britain's Black Community and the Great War.
• John Johnston – Head of Art and Learning, Goldsmiths, explores his recent work on the United Nations committee on memory and memorial in present day conflicts and the teaching of history in post-conflict nations.
• Workshops at Imperial War Museum London considering their current exhibition Truth and Memory: British Art of the First World War and other artworks.


Booking essential

Booking information:
Please note that although this event is free, to cover costs we will charge a fee of £40 per head for no shows. Cancellations may be made up until 10 am Monday 2 March in order to allow us to cover spaces from the waiting list.


Lecture: Sargent’s Methods for Painting Portraits

  • 14 May 2015 7-8pm

Tate Paintings Conservator, Rebecca Hellen, and Tate Conservation Scientist, Dr Joyce Townsend, share recent research into key works by Sargent in Tate’s collection, showing the methods and materials he used and the consequences these have had for the appearance and preservation of these paintings.

This event offers an opportunity to learn about the making of Sargent's oil paintings, the methods and materials he used and the consequences these have had for the appearance and preservation of these paintings. Tate Paintings Conservator, Rebecca Hellen, and Tate Conservation Scientist, Dr Joyce Townsend have examined a selection of Sargent's paintings in Tate's collection alongside one of his paint boxes. Their study has focused on gathering technical information from a number of different collections as well as new examinations on some of Sargent's most iconic pieces.

Suitable for


Tickets: £7 (£6 concessions and Gallery Supporters) Book online, or visit the Gallery in person.


Guest DJ: Mr Madam

  • 14 May 2015 6-7:30pm

DJ Mr Madam combines a range of musical styles to create his sets
 from Thomas Tallis to Gracie Fields
Grace Jones to John Barry
Duke Ellington to Lord Creator
 if you can hum it, he will try and play it.

Suitable for


Late Shift: The National Portrait Gallery at Night

  • 15 May 2015 6:30-9pm

Take advantage of the Gallery’s late night opening by visiting an exhibition, meeting friends at the bar, enjoying live music and conversation, or participating in our popular Drop-in Drawing session.

Suitable for


Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

Family Art Events

On the 3rd Saturday of every month, explore portraits from the National Portrait Gallery's collection, then take part in an art activity. Workshops are at 11.30 and 14.30 and last approximately 90 minutes.

How to obtain

Pick up a free ticket to attend the sessions, available one hour before it starts from the Information Desk in the Ondaatje Wing Main Hall. Spaces are allocated first come, first served and children must be accompanied by an adult.

National Portrait Gallery Webquests

Webquests are online activities for children, using the collections of nine national museums and galleries.

Storytelling for Families

Third Saturday of every month, join our storytellers for monthly drop-in storytelling sessions in the Gallery, inspired by the Collection. Suitable for children aged 3+ and their carers.

How to obtain

No ticket required. Meet in the Ondaatje Wing Main Hall. These sessions are free and will last about 30 minutes.

The Sunday Sessions

The Sunday Sessions are part of the Young People's Programme for 14-21 year olds. All sessions are free and explore aspects of portraiture in exciting and innovative ways, drawing inspiration from the collection or temporary exhibitions.

How to obtain

For more information email or call 020 7312 2483.

Youth Forum

Youth Forum is part of The National Portrait Gallery's Young People's Programme for 14-21 year olds. All sessions are free and explore aspects of portraiture in exciting and innovative ways, drawing inspiration from the collection and temporary exhibitions. Youth Forum meets on a Thursday evening once a month.

How to obtain

For more information or to join Youth Forum, contact Rachel Moss, Young People's Programme Manager on