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National Gallery Visual Story

Prepare for your arrival at the Gallery

Open daily 10am–6pm, last entry is 4.45pm
Friday until 9pm, last entry is 7.45pm
Closed 24–26 December and 1 January


Before you get to the Gallery

The National Gallery is free to visit. Before you come, we recommend that you book a free ticket online. You will be asked to select a date and time to visit. If the time you select is not available, please check for alternative timeslots before or after your preferred time.

You can look at what is on at the Gallery on our what’s on page.

If you have any questions, please email: or call us on 020 7747 2885 and press option 1.

For any ticketing questions, please email:

For any membership questions, please email:
or call us on 0207 747 2850 and press option 2.

When you arrive

There are two entrances to the Gallery, the Portico Entrance and the Getty Entrance.

Portico Entrance

The Portico entrance is up twenty-three steps and through the columns into an entrance foyer. There are staff to help you, and this space can become noisy at busy times. You can go downstairs for the café and cloakroom, or upstairs to the paintings.

Getty Entrance

The Getty entrance is close to Charing Cross Road – this is the step-free route into the Gallery. There are six steps or a lift to the right just inside the doors. From here you can go up a staircase of thirty-four steps or use a lift which goes up to the galleries.

The Getty entrance is for paid exhibition ticket holders, Members, group visitors, and for anyone that requires step-free access.


There will be security checks when you enter the Gallery at both entrances.

You will be asked to walk through a security arch and the security team may ask to see inside your bag. If you have any special medical equipment with you, please let the security member of staff know.


Cloakroom and toilets

Cloakroom: There is a cloakroom on the Ground Floor. The cloakroom costs £2 for each item; it is free of charge for Members.

Toilets: Disabled and ambulant toilets are available on the Ground Floor.

Lifts in Annenberg Court

Lift access is available between the galleries and the Ground Floor.


Self-propelled and standard wheelchairs as well as a rollator are available to reserve before you arrive – please call 020 7747 2885. A limited number are available on a first come, first served basis at the Getty entrance. Folding stools are also available. Please ask at the welcome desk at the Getty entrance when you arrive.

Inside the Gallery

The National Gallery has one of the greatest collections of paintings in the world.

Our staff are in the galleries all the time. They all wear black clothes and a blue patterned tie and a name badge.

They are happy to help you with any questions or problems may have. If you would like to know more about a painting or help finding your way, please ask our staff to help.

The galleries can be busy with lots of people. Our staff members can help you find quieter spaces to see the paintings.

The paintings move around and are sometimes loaned out so you may see different paintings each time you visit. If you are coming to the Gallery to see a painting you already know about, we suggest checking our floorplans before you arrive to see which room it is in.

Getting around the gallery

The main galleries are all on one level, on Level 2.
Each room in the Gallery has a number. There are maps displayed around the building with the room numbers. You can also download or print a map in advance of your visit. Paper maps are also available to buy for £2 from the welcome desks at the Portico and Getty entrances.

Eating and drinking

There are three spaces where you can eat or drink in the Gallery.

Please keep in mind that the eating and drinking spaces are busy and can become noisy at lunchtime. Tables are reserved for customers buying food and drink in the Gallery. Please ask a member of staff if you need help finding some seating. All catering spaces are level, have places to sit, and space for wheelchairs and other mobility aids.

If you have any dietary needs or if you need help bringing your food and drink to your table, please let staff know.

For opening times and further details see our Eating and Drinking page.

Espresso Bar by Muriel's

Espresso Bar by Muriel's is a café; here you can get hot and cold drinks, pastries, sandwiches, and cakes. You go up to the counter, order your food and drink, collect it, and sit down at a table to enjoy.

Muriel's Kitchen

Muriel's Kitchen is a café; here you can get hot meals, salads, cakes, and hot and cold drinks. You go up to the counter, order your food and drink, collect it, and sit down at a table or bench to enjoy.


Ochre is a restaurant; here you can get hot meals with table service. The menu ranges from weekend brunch, afternoon tea, to lunch and dinner. There is also a separate step-free entrance for the restaurant on Charing Cross Road.

Visiting the shops

We have two shops in the Gallery.


Portico Shop

The Portico giftshop on level 2 where you can buy National Gallery gifts and accessories.

Getty Shop

The Getty bookshop on the ground floor where you can buy books, stationery, and exhibition essentials.

Shop online

You can also shop online.

Things to know about the Gallery

Please do not touch the paintings or frames and be aware of the art barriers – they are there for the safety of the paintings.

Please do not consume food or drink inside the picture galleries and only eat and drink in our designated catering spaces. Feel free to let a member of staff know if you have any medical needs. Water in resealable bottles is fine if you drink in rooms where there are no paintings.

You are welcome to take photographs of paintings for yourself, unless a sign says you shouldn't, and do not use flash. If you are not sure, please ask a member of staff.

In the event of an emergency, please listen to the instructions of our trained staff.

Read our full Visitor Admission Policy for further details.


When you are ready to leave the Gallery, you will need to go to the Getty exit. There are six steps down to street level or a lift to the left of the exit.

Please feel free to email or call us on 020 7747 2885 if you need anything further.

We really hope you enjoyed your visit to the National Gallery and we are looking forward to welcoming you again soon.