Britain's national collection of Western European art dating between 1250 & 1900 is housed in the grand, dome-topped building that resides along the entire northern side of Trafalgar Square.
The National Gallery was founded in the 1820´s when Parliament's ´House of Commons´ bought a selection of paintings from a Russian banker, all of which were displayed in his previous residence on Pall Mall until the building of the gallery on Trafalgar Square was completed in 1838.
Over the years the gallery has undergone various extensions and renovations but it was the addition of the Sainsbury Wing in the 1991, built to house the collection of Renaissance paintings, which attracted the most controversy, including strong design objections by Prince Charles who eventually gave his nod of approval and laid the foundation stone of the Wing in 1988.
The National Gallery's permanent collection contains over 2,300 of the world's finest paintings for public viewing within the main galleries from the Early Renaissance to the Post-impressionists.
Visitors can explore most of the permanent collection over four wings on the main floor (level 2) where the collections are displayed according the ´period´.
The collection may not be as extensive as Paris´ Louvre Museum, but it does contain many a masterpiece from Europe's greatest, including works by Monet, Rembrandt, Michelangelo and Raphael, Leonardo de Vinci's ´The Virgin on the Rocks´ (see if you can spy the hidden & original drawing beneath the painting), Vincent Van Gough´s ´Sunflowers´, Botticelli´s ´Venus and Mars´ and Picasso's ´Child with a Dove´.
The 2004 opening of the East Wing has provided the gallery with a new ground level entrance from the newly pedestrianised section of Trafalgar Square, seeing visitors enter via the new Sir Paul ´Getty Entrance´.
Visitors can also enter the building via the Sainsbury Wing to the west, the original portico on Trafalgar Square or via back entrance which is located on Orange Street.
The National Gallery is open 7 days a week from 10am and like the majority of London's great museums, entry to the permanent collection is FREE with an admission charge to most temporary collections and special exhibitions.
The gallery shop is great, the National Dining Rooms and National Gallery Cafe are delicious and The Espresso Bar doubles as a multimedia centre.
Those searching for 20th century British art should head to Tate Britain and to Tate Modern for modern non-British art.
The following stations are all within 10 minutes walking distance from the Gallery: Leicester Square (Northern & Piccadilly lines), Charing Cross (Bakerloo, Northern and National Rail lines), Piccadilly Circus (Piccadilly & Bakerloo lines) and Embankment (District, Circle, Northern, Bakerloo & National Rail lines).
If you are travelling by car there are several NCP parking stations within the area such as St Martin's Lane Hotel and the Swiss Centre.
There are also numerous bus routes that service the area surrounding the National Gallery and Trafalgar Square.
Located in the heart of the City of Westminster, the National Gallery is about as central as it gets with many other great attractions nearby such as the National Portrait Gallery, the Transport Museum, the Photographers Gallery and the Theatre Museum - not forgetting to mention that Trafalgar Square is one of the most visited attractions and landmarks in London.
London's West End is also only around the corner with all the shopping and entertainment delights of Covent Garden and Leicester Square.
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|HOTEL / APARTMENT||POSTCODE||MILES||STAR||12 Dec||13 Dec||14 Dec||15 Dec||16 Dec||17 Dec||18 Dec||19 Dec|
|Charing Cross Station||1||Bakerloo - Northern||0.29 miles|
|Leicester Square Station||1||Piccadilly - Northern||0.36 miles|
|Piccadilly Circus Station||1||Bakerloo - Piccadilly||0.41 miles|
|Embankment Station||1||District - Bakerloo - Northern - Circle line||0.47 miles|
|Covent Garden Station||1||Piccadilly||0.63 miles|
|Charing Cross London Station||0.30 miles|
|London Waterloo International Station||1.14 miles|
|London Waterloo Station||1.26 miles|
|London Waterloo East Station||1.40 miles|
|London Victoria Station||1.81 miles|