See the Many Faces of Britain
Nestled in the corner next to the National Gallery on Trafalgar Square, the National Portrait Gallery isn’t as overwhelming as its larger sibling. It’s an absolute beaut of a gallery, with a permanent collection (free to view) of portraits of everyone you’ve ever heard of, from Elizabeth I and Winston Churchill to the Duchess of Cambridge and Amy Winehouse, while its programme of exhibitions never ceases to fascinate. Portrait Restaurant and Bar has a breathtaking view over Trafalgar Square and Whitehall, taking in Nelson’s column, the Houses of Parliament, and the London Eye. If you’re around between June and September don’t miss the famous BP Portrait Award, which displays the best contemporary portraiture in Britain today.
By Emma John, AFAR Local Expert
The Late Shift
Yes, the National Portrait Gallery itself is an obvious destination for tourists and locals in London. But do yourself a favor (if you can) and go during the "Late Shift" hours on Thursday and Friday when the museum is open till 9pm. Not only will you avoid the crowds, but there's a DJ, a full bar, and lots of mingling about. You can wander the galleries downstairs with a bellini in hand and marvel at the new portrait of Catharine, The Duchess of Cambridge, and her oddly puffed cheeks and pursed lips. The main galleries and permanent installations are also open (no drinks allowed, though), so grab an audio guide and learn a thing or two about the Tudors, Beatrix Potter, and Winston Churchill.
By Sara Lieberman, AFAR Contributor
National Portrait Gallery London
The National Portrait Gallery has the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. It is a very unique place dedicated to the collection of portraits from all over the world.
National Portrait Gallery
A ten-minute walk from Café Royal will bring you to the National Portrait Gallery, a fitting place to reflect on another of the seven arts, painting. It is the oldest portrait gallery in the world, dating from 1856. The permanent collection includes oil paintings of the kings and queens, writers, scientists, and naval figures who have shaped the history of Britain. Temporary exhibitions often turn the focus to photography as well as portraits of less distinguished Britons. “Pure Presence,” an exhibit of portraits by famed sculptor and painter Alberto Giacometti, runs through January 10, 2016. Photo by klndonnelly/Flickr.
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