Explore the National Portrait Gallery

Explore the National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery is a museum in London, England, which houses a collection of portraits of historically important and famous British people. The collection dates from the 16th century to the present day and the gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. It is located in St Martin’s Place, off Trafalgar Square, in the City of Westminster.


The National Portrait Gallery was founded in 1856. It was originally housed in the attic of the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. In 1896 it moved to its current location in St Martin’s Place, which was built specifically to house the gallery’s collection. The collection has since grown to include more than 10,000 portraits.


The National Portrait Gallery’s collection includes portraits of people from all walks of life, including monarchs, politicians, scientists, writers, actors, musicians, artists, and more. The gallery also holds photographs, prints, sculptures, and miniatures. Some of the most famous portraits in the collection include those of William Shakespeare, Queen Elizabeth I, Charles Dickens, and Winston Churchill.

Exhibitions and Events

The National Portrait Gallery hosts a variety of exhibitions and events throughout the year. These include lectures, workshops, film screenings, and performances. The gallery also offers free guided tours of its collection.

The National Portrait Gallery Today

Today, the National Portrait Gallery is one of the most visited tourist attractions in London. It attracts over 2 million visitors each year. The gallery is open seven days a week and admission is free.

Educational Resources

The National Portrait Gallery provides educational resources for students, teachers, and scholars. These include online resources, such as the Learning Zone, which provides lesson plans and activities for teachers. The gallery also offers a range of events, workshops, and lectures for school groups.


The National Portrait Gallery is committed to making its collection accessible to everyone. The gallery has wheelchair access and audio guides are available in English, French, German, Spanish, and Italian. The gallery also offers a range of tactile and sensory experiences for visitors with visual impairments.

Shop and Café

The National Portrait Gallery also has a shop and café, which are open seven days a week. The shop sells a range of books, prints, gifts, and souvenirs. The café serves a range of hot and cold drinks, snacks, and light meals.

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