The National Portrait Gallery


Founded in 1856, the aim of the National Portrait Gallery, London is ‘to promote through the medium of portraits the appreciation and understanding of the men and women who have made and are making British history and culture, and … to promote the appreciation and understanding of portraiture in all media’.

The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. The Collection is displayed in London and in a number of locations around the United Kingdom, including several houses managed by the National Trust. The Gallery is increasingly keen to find new ways to share the Collection through the National Programmes, as well as through this website.

Like other national museums, the Gallery is supported both by government and increasingly by a large number of individuals, companies, trusts and foundations, as well as by the receipts from ticketed exhibitions, shops, catering and events.

The Gallery aims to bring history to life through its extensive display, exhibition, research, learning, outreach, publishing and digital programmes. These allow us to stimulate debate and to address questions of biography, diversity and fame which lie at the heart of issues of identity and achievement.

The National Portrait Gallery aims to be the foremost centre for the study of and research into portraiture, as well as making its work and activities of interest to as wide a range of visitors as possible.

Opening hours
Daily 10:00-18:00
Thursday and Friday – open until 21:00

Getting there

The Gallery is close to Trafalgar Square, near Leicester Square and Charing Cross Underground stations.

By Underground
The nearest Underground stations to the Gallery are: Charing Cross 230 metres, Leicester Square 195 metres, and Embankment 490 metres. Please note these stations do not have a lift.

By bus
Comprehensive bus routes information is available on the Transport for London’s Journey Planner website.

By rail
Charing Cross station 320 metres from the St Martin’s Place entrance.

St Martin’s Place
London WC2H 0HE

For more information: