The National Gallery boasts one of the greatest collections of paintings in the world - and it’s free! Wander through the galleries any day of the week, amongst works spanning from the 13th to the 19th Century. The Gallery is devoted to education and inspiration, with everything from concerts to lectures and talks taking place in its hallowed halls.
Born from the personal collection of John Julius Angerstein and growing piece by piece, the National Gallery sits proudly in Trafalgar Square, considered to be (today, as in 1831) the centre of London. Physically and socially in between the rich in West London and the poor in East London, it was designed to be accessible to all - and still is! Its commitment to free admittance and education is part of its fundamental make up. Today, lectures, tours and seminars run in the Gallery, preserving the collections, from their physical appearance to their histories and hidden meanings. The main Portico entrance (now a Grade I listed building) gained a new wing and a dome in 1876, then five more galleries in 1907. The Sainsbury Wing was the final addition to the building, built in 1991 on the Northern extension and financed by the Sainsbury brothers. With all its extensions and new galleries over the years, the building has wound up covering a massive 46,396 metres squared; the same as six football pitches!