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National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery has the world's largest portrait collection. After reopening in May 2000 with double the previous amount of space, it finally has an opportunity to show off its gems in appropriate style.

The gallery's architectural piece de resistance is a huge escalator - outstripped only by those in the London Underground - linking the ground floor to the rooftop restaurant. The new Balcony gallery, suspended across the central atrium, displays the rows of 20th-century famous faces. The lower floors show old favourites, including images of Shakespeare, Sir Francis Drake and Queen Elizabeth I.

There is also a new IT gallery on the ground floor. The Portrait Explorer, a system accessible through 11 touch screens, allows visitors to explore in depth all 10,000 portraits in the gallery's Primary collection, as well as sections of its archive which contain a further 250,000 portraits.

The Royal Landing Gallery holds portraits of the current royal family, while the Main Collection has six centuries of royal portraits gracing its walls.

National Portrait Gallery, London. © National Portrait Gallery, London

National Portrait Gallery Information


When: Daily

Where: London

Cost: Free

Opening Hours: 10am-6pm (until 9pm Thu & Fri)

Address: St Martin's Place London OHE, England, London, WC2H

Hotels near National Portrait Gallery


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