The National Gallery is a must-see for anyone visiting London with an interest in art. It houses paintings from some of Europe’s greatest artists, with works dating from the 13th to 19th centuries. Located just off Trafalgar Square, it’s only twelve minutes from the Darlington Hotel by tube. Once there, visitors can explore the works of Botticelli, da Vinci, Gainsborough, Renoir, Rembrandt, Turner, and Van Gogh, and many other artists.
Right now, for example, the National Gallery is hosting the first UK exhibition of Joaquín Sorolla. A Spanish Impressionist, Sorolla’s art celebrates the beauty of the sea and the excitement of Spanish life, making it the perfect way to escape to Spain while staying in London. The exhibition runs through September and is free for visitors, as is the National Gallery itself.
Visitors can visit any time apart from 1 January for New Yar and 24 to 26 December for Christmas closing. Opening times are 10 AM and 6 PM (9 PM on Fridays). Guests can enter through one of three entrances. The Sainsbury Wing is the Gallery’s main entrance. There’s also the Getty Entrance, used for groups, and the Education Centre entrance for school groups and people attending events.
The Gallery runs a whole host of events throughout the year. Recent examples include poetry weekends, printmaking and drawing workshops. Visitors need to book into these, and there will be a cost. There may also be a cost for audio tours, which offer a much deeper insight into the works of each artist.
Audio tours are available for individuals and groups and in a range of languages, making them fully accessible. There is a range of audio tours available, including The Collection Tour, which looks at more than 1,000 paintings, and the Essential Tour, which takes visitors through 80 great works of art from around the world.
Once the tour is over, visitors can grab a cup of coffee or something to eat at The National Dining Room, The National Café, or the Espresso Bar. Each offers a different selection of food and drink, with The National Café serving a wonderful afternoon tea.