The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

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Self-directed groups

Self-directed groups

Self-directed groups

Visiting the Collection

You are welcome to visit the Gallery as a self-directed group. All self-directed visits must be booked in advance and we recommend that you visit the Gallery ahead of bringing your class. We can support your visit to the National Portrait Gallery Collection through a number of ways.

Schools and colleges
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Plan your visit

Everything you need to know ahead of bringing your school group to the Gallery.

Group Size and Availability

The maximum size of a visiting school group is 90 students. Large groups need to be split into smaller groups of up to 10 people when in the gallery.

We recommend the following adult: child ratios

Early Years Foundation Stage (3-5 years old)        1:6

Key Stages 1-2 (5-11 years old)   1:10

Key Stages 3-5 (11-18 years old) 1:15

Please be aware that during busy stages in the school term we may need to suggest an alternative time or date for your self-directed group to visit.

Booking Gallery Rooms for Your Visit

Did you know you can book the rooms you would like to visit? Please follow booking instructions to reserve Gallery rooms you need. Please be aware if you book a ‘General’ self-directed visit - that does not state any specific areas of the Gallery - at particularly busy times your group may be asked to move on from certain areas of the Gallery to ease crowding or allow Gallery guided teaching to take place.

If you are coming to visit specific artworks during your visit, you can check if they are on display by using the room by room guide.

The Tudor Galleries

The Tudor Galleries are extremely popular, please state at the point of booking if you wish to visit the Tudor Galleries. Please read the guidelines for self-guided groups visiting the Tudor Galleries here

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 bringing your school or college group to upcoming exhibitions and displays click here
It is essential to book in advance 

Support your Self-directed visit

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 Stuarts Georgian Regency Victorian First World War Twentieth Century and Contemporary


We produce downloadable resources 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.

Book your visit today

Book your group visit and find out what to expect as a group leader when visiting us.

020 7312 2483 (Type Talk: 18001)
[email protected]

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