National Portrait Gallery

One of the most peculiar museums in London, the National Portrait Gallery contains thousands of portraits depicting important British public and historical figures.

The National Portrait Gallery is an art museum in London dedicated to collecting portraits of historically important or otherwise famous British people. As such, the Portrait Gallery houses paintings, caricatures, photographs, drawings, and sculptures of well-known British figures. The museum is in fact famous for being the largest portrait collection in the world.

National Portrait Gallery in London
London’s National Portrait Gallery holds around 200,000 portraits.

The gallery was opened in 1856, after two previous Parliament proposals failed to bring it to life. In its first few years of existence, the gallery was moved about quite a bit, going from Westminster to South Kensigton to Bethnal Green. In 1896, the museum was finally moved to its current location. Since then, the building has been expanded to accomodate the growing collections.


St. Martin’s Place, London WC2H 0HE

The National Portrait Gallery is located in St. Martin’s Place, north of the River Thames and just a few minutes away from Trafalgar Square. The area is in one of London’s busiest areas, lodged between Covent Garden, St. James’s, and Piccadilly Circus.

Just behind the National Portrait Gallery is the National Gallery and around the corner is Leicester Square. Beyond Leicester Square is Chinatown and the Soho district, while Charing Cross station is just a little south of the National Portrait Gallery.

Tickets and price

The National Portrait Gallery in London is always free to enter for everyone. As the number of visitors per day is limited due to safety reasons, the museum always advises its visitors to book their entries in advance. You can book your free National Portrait Gallery tickets on the museum’s website .

National Portrait Gallery reopening on 22 June 2023

The National Portrait Gallery recently underwent major renovation works and is set to open to the public again on the 22nd of June 2023. You can book your entries in advance on the museum’s website.


The National Portrait Gallery in London is open every day from 10:30 am to 6:00 pm, except for Fridays and Saturdays when the opening hours are extended until 9:00 pm.

Day Opening time Closure
Mon-Sun 10:30 am 6:00 pm
Fri-Sat 10:30 am 9:00 pm


The National Portrait Gallery is located rather centrally, so it is easily reachable by means of public transport. If you are taking the Tube, the lines that will take you the closest are the Bakerloo, the Northern, and the Piccadilly.

The closest stops are Leicester Square (just a little north), Charing Cross (a little south, just past Trafalgar Square), and Piccadilly Circus (northeast of the museum).

As for buses, lines 24, 29, and 176 all have stops by the National Portrait Gallery. If none of these routes works for you, you can also take lines 6, 9, and 139.

You can find a summary of the public transport options in the table below.

Method Underground Bus
Lines Bakerloo, Northern, Piccadilly 6, 9, 14, 24, 29, 139, 176
Stops Charing Cross, Leicester Square -

You can also catch a cab to the National Portrait Gallery, but we don’t recommend it, considering heavy traffic in central London and high taxi fares.

Nearby sights

National Gallery - on the other side of the National Portrait Gallery.

Leicester Square - around the corner from the National Portrait Gallery.

Trafalgar Square - right behind the National Portrait Gallery.

Covent Garden - 400 m (0.3 miles) northeast, 5-minute walk.

Chinatown - 450 m (0.3 miles) north, 6-minute walk.

Piccadilly Circus - 450 m (0.3 miles) west, 6-minute walk.

London Transport Museum - 500 m (0.3 miles) northeast, 7-minute walk.

St James’s Park - 600 m (0.4 miles) southwest, 8-minute walk.

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National Portrait Gallery