no alt text

Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 06 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Sarah Barrell

The hallowed galleries of the National are home to one of the greatest collections of Western European paintings in the world. There are more than 2,300 works on display here.

Step out of the bustle of Trafalgar Square into the palatial building to take a tour of the classics, from the Italian Renaissance to the French Impressionists.

Don’t miss

The star paintings not to be missed including Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, Van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait, Velázquez’s Rokeby Venus, Turner’s Fighting Temeraire and one of Monet’s water lily paintings.

Recommended itineraries by our writers that include this experience

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 18+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

The National Gallery dominates Trafalgar Square, and is an easy walk from Charing Cross station (District/Circle lines) and Leicester Square (Piccadilly).

Entry is free, however, check if you need to book ahead before you go. Book ahead for special temporary exhibitions – they require separate tickets and often are booked out.

You can’t hope to see the gallery’s grand collection all in one. One of the free audio or guided tours will make the best of your time if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

When to do it

The gallery is open all year, seven days a week, with late opening on Fridays.

Aim to arrive just after the gallery opens or later in the afternoon, as it does get crowded in the middle of the day.

Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

The National Gallery of London - Exclusive Guided Museum Tour

The National Gallery of London - Exclusive Guided Museum Tour


Explore a world-class art collection with our energetic guides during this 2.5-hour exclusive guided museum tour of the National Gallery. We...

€94 | Rating 5 / 5 [30 ratings]

Website >

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo

Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay near this experience, closest first

The Hub Covent Garden

London, United Kingdom (UK)[0.1 miles]

A super-affordable, tech-savvy stay in very centre of the capital between The Strand and Covent Garden, with a buzzy café, popular with locals.

Official star rating:

Z Hotel Covent Garden

London, United Kingdom (UK)[0.4 miles]

A sleek, streamlined budget option with an exclusive edge, accessed via a ‘secret’ courtyard just behind Covent Garden Piazza.

Official star rating:

The Resident Covent Garden

London, United Kingdom (UK)[0.4 miles]

Low prices without sacrificing style or comfort are the order of the day at The Resident’s smart Covent Garden address.

Official star rating:

Henrietta Hotel London

London, United Kingdom (UK)[0.4 miles]

A stylish boutique hotel with a standout bar, superb London Eye views and Covent Garden and the Royal Opera House right outside the door.

Official star rating:

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience


Greater London, United Kingdom (UK)

World-class culture, fashion, music, food and history – and a mind-boggling array of bucket list experiences – packed into one extraordinary, incomparable destination. 

Website >
Overview >

Our writer’s recommendations of other bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination, closest first

Trooping the Colour

London, United Kingdom (UK)[0.5 miles]

World-famous, incomparable military parade dating back to the 17th century, involving thousands of soldiers, horses and musicians in full regalia, occurs each June to mark the Queen’s official birthday.

Best for ages: 8+ | Free | 2.5 hours

Covent Garden

London, United Kingdom (UK)[0.5 miles]

This iconic and atmospheric West End square has a historic Victorian market building, street performers, restaurants and boutiques.

Best for ages: Any | Free

London Transport Museum

London, United Kingdom (UK)[0.6 miles]

Fascinating museum offering an insight into the remarkable transport heritage of the city that pioneered the underground railway. Trains, iconic black cabs, scarlet double-decker buses and more.

Best for ages: 6+ | £20

Other worthwhile experiences near this experience if you have time or interest..

Royal Academy of Arts

London, United Kingdom (UK)[0.8 miles]

An 18th-century mansion of masterpieces sitting pretty on Piccadilly, home to one of Britain’s oldest collections of fine art and regular blockbuster exhibitions.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free

Exterior view of the grand building surrounding a large square

Somerset House

London, United Kingdom (UK)[0.8 miles]

Famous for its picturesque alfresco ice rink in winter and the Edmund J Safra fountains in the summer, this elegant neoclassical building is also home to an art gallery and upscale restaurant.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free

Website >
Overview >
Exterior view of front facade with people walking in front

SEA LIFE London Aquarium

London, United Kingdom (UK)[1 miles]

London’s impressive aquarium, set on the South Bank, home to hundreds of species of fish and a selection of sharks.

Best for ages: Any | £27

Website >
Overview >

Round-ups that include this experience