With artistic works dating from the middle ages to the 20th century, the National Gallery in London houses one of the finest collections of Western European paintings in the world. The gallery walls are adorned with masterpieces from some of the most celebrated legends of the art world including Michelangelo, Rembrandt, da Vinci and van Gogh.
London's National Gallery has always operated with the intention of being accessible to all. For this reason, admission is free and the gallery's central London location is no happy coincidence. What is now one of the most visited art galleries in the world was born from humble roots – a personal collection was donated from banker John Julius Angerstein, followed by a sizable contribution from the landscape painter Sir George Beaumont. Since establishing its purpose-built Trafalgar Square location in 1838, the National Gallery has showcased a brilliant range of artwork sourced from across Europe.
Among the National Gallery's must-see paintings (from a collection of more than 2,300) are Vincent van Gogh's iconic Sunflowers, Jan van Eyck's The Arnolfini Portrait and Claude Monet's The Gare Saint-Lazare. Whether you are an art aficionado or don't know your Seurats from your Sacchis, the National Gallery has a range of talks and tours to help you understand the story behind the painting – one hour tours are held twice a day every day by knowledgeable guides. A visit to the National Gallery is a great day out for kids too, with age specific workshops, printed trails to follow, interactive story sessions and creative classes for both children and adults keen to embrace their artistic streak.
The nearest tube station to the National Gallery is Charing Cross, serviced by the Bakerloo and Northern lines. From outside the station you should be able to see the famous Trafalgar Square fountains and Nelson Column which sit at the front of the gallery. Inside, the gallery is filled with grand architectural spaces including the Neo-Renaissance Barry Rooms, the glass-domed Staircase Hall and the intimate Sainsbury Wing. Visit the National Gallery on a weekday morning for a quieter experience, or on Friday evening for live music and classic British supper at the National Dining Rooms.