Self-directed groups

Self Directed Groups

Visiting the Colllection

You are welcome to visit the Gallery as a self-directed group. All self-directed visits must be booked in advance please follow booking instructions to reserve Gallery rooms you need. We can support your booked self-directed group visit to the National Portrait Gallery Collection through a range of resources.

If you book a ‘General’ self-directed visit - that does not state any specific areas of the Gallery - please be aware that at particularly busy times your group may be asked to move on from certain areas of the Gallery to ease crowding.


Visiting our Temporary Exhibitions and Displays

Bring your schools groups to the National Portrait Gallery for a self-guided visit of our exhibitions and either benefit from our free exhibitions programme or concessionary rates for pre-booked schools groups for charged exhibitions. For more information on upcoming exhibitions and displays click here
It is essential to book in advance 

Visiting The Real Tudors special display as a self-directed group Please ensure you book your visit in advance specifically stating that you intend to visit The Real Tudors display. Please read the guidelines for self-guided groups visiting the display here


Visiting the Grayson Perry: Who Are You? as a self- guided group?

Due to the anticipated crowding and the additional objects in the display interspersed within the Gallery Collection Group leaders are asked to brief their group before entering the display spaces and to facilitate their group members to view the display individually or in pairs. Sketching is not permitted in front of the objects in this display.

Support your Self-directed visit

Portrait Explorer

Create a personalised portraits tour for your self-directed visit to the Gallery using our Portrait Explorer. Portrait Explorer helps you find out about the people associated with portraits – sitters and artists – by searching for sitters and artists by name, by profession, by geographical location or by association. Visitors can also study portraits in focus, explore types of portraits, be guided by a timeline, or listen to video interviews. In addition to Gallery-written biographies of sitters and artists, from the Portrait Explorer terminals in the Gallery visitors can access detailed biographies on over 7,000 sitters and artists represented on Portrait Explorer, reproduced from the Concise Dictionary of National Biography, with the kind permission of Oxford University Press.

Teacher-led picture discussions

We have a series of picture discussions suitable for both Primary and Secondary groups. These can also be used in the classroom. Please see the introductory information on each resource for how to use the questions and content.

Print off and bring the relevant discussions with you. Please be aware that not every portrait in these discussions will always be on display - please see here for more details.

Tudors    Victorian 
Stuarts    Twentieth Century and Contemporary 
Georgian   First World War

Digital Resources

Our comprehensive range of online resources connect to key themes and portraits in our collections. Please see here for further information.

Teachers’ Notes

We produce downloadable PDF Teachers’ notes for selected exhibitions and displays to support your teaching in the Galleries and in the classroom. 

For further details on current and upcoming exhibitions and displays please see here.