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Primary schools: Tours and storytelling

Storytelling tours by Gallery Educators

EYFS and Key Stages 1 and 2

Choose a theme

Led by Gallery Educators, these lively tours bring paintings to life through storytelling and object handling.

Please choose a theme from our available tours below and book online.


  • School contact details
  • 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice of date for your session
  • Finance contact details. Although our sessions are free for UK schools, late cancellations and no-shows may incur a charge
  • Teacher contact details. If you’d like to visit with multiple groups on the same date, each group must have a different lead teacher. Providing the same teacher details for every group will delay your booking
  • We cannot guarantee that your group will see a certain painting or artist, as all paintings and rooms are subject to availability
  • Please book your Gallery session before you book transport.
  • Group sizes are 10-30 students per session.
  • You can book more than one group in a single booking request, just use the ‘Add another group’ option. Groups can differ by key stage, theme, date and time of their visit.
  • There is a maximum of 4 groups per date.

Please let us know 21 days prior to your session if you need to cancel a booking. Cancellations made with less than 21 days’ notice and no-shows will incur a charge for UK schools and are non-refundable for overseas groups.

All of our themes can be adapted for SEND groups, although you may be interested in our 'Explore it!' and 'Sense it!' multisensory sessions, which are especially designed for SEND groups, and allow for flexibility and co-planning with group leaders. 

Please contact us for more information about how we can meet your group’s needs. We recommend a maximum group size of 10. 

Please specify in the booking form if your students have special or additional needs.

If you would prefer to design and lead your own Gallery session, please book your free Gallery entry ticket in advance. For further information on visiting the Gallery, please email, or call +44 (0)20 7747 2885.


See paintings come to life through storytelling and object handling on this lively trip through the Gallery, specially tailored for Early Years learners.

Key Stages 1-2

General introduction
Pupils will be introduced to the richness of the nation’s, and therefore their collection. They will practise their observational and visual literacy skills by focusing on three paintings from across the Gallery.
Materials, techniques, and processes
Pupils will explore how a painting is made, both physically and compositionally. They will be introduced to the differing materials and processes artists have used over time. Through guided looking they will examine how artists have composed the painting, used colour, light and tone and how effects such as texture and perspective have been created.
Myths and legends
Pupils will explore the ways in which artists have told stories in paint; how they have plotted complex narratives, created atmosphere, introduced characters and swept the viewer along in the emotion of the story, all in a single canvas. They will be encouraged to work through the story as it is portrayed in the painting, using the visual clues the artist has included, and give their own opinions and interpretation. This session is therefore suitable both as an introduction to the topic, and for those groups who already have a working knowledge of myths and legends.
Religion in art
Though the religious works in the collection are essentially Christian, pupils will be encouraged to think more generally about how artists have portrayed the sacred, imagine the spaces they were commissioned for and what they meant to people at the time. Through large-scale altarpieces and smaller works for private devotion, pupils will investigate how artist have used symbols, colour, and composition to represent stories and key beliefs.
Sessions may act as a general investigation or focus on particular festivals such as Christmas or Easter.
Still life, Landscapes, or Portraiture
Pupils will be given an overview of their chosen genre, looking at how it has been approached by different artists working across the periods covered by the collection. Gallery educators will guide them through the key elements of composition in either Still life, Landscape or Portraiture, encouraging comparisons of style and technique.
Take One Picture - The Courtyard of a House in Delft
Available from Thursday 19 October 2023. The Take One Picture focus painting in 2023/2024 is 'The Courtyard of a House in Delft' by Pieter de Hooch. Pupils will explore the painting along with two others chosen to complement their understanding and observational skills. This session will work either as an introduction to Take One Picture, or to enhance and consolidate knowledge for those who have already worked on the project.
The world around us – Water, Weather, Plants and animals, or Buildings
Pupils will be introduced to the ways in which artists have represented the natural world and the built environment. During investigations in the Gallery they will discover for themselves the artistic techniques that bring the painted world alive. Sessions may focus on depictions of Water, Weather, Plants and animals, or Buildings considering how artists have represented their chosen element and created a world the viewer can inhabit.