School and College visits

We welcome school and college groups to the Gallery for self-led visits, exhibition visits and learning sessions

A group of schoolchildren in high-vis vests sitting on the floor with pencils and clipboards in a gallery room
© David Parry

Visit the Gallery

Advance booking is essential for all groups of 10+ to visit the Gallery, whether you are planning to visit the permanent Collection and/or a temporary exhibition.

Free self-led visits to the Gallery can be booked online using the link below. Schools can book up to 60 students and 10 group leader tickets per half hour timeslot depending on availability. Online bookings for self-led visits and lunch room slots close one week in advance. If you need to book a self-led visit or lunch room slot within one week prior to your visit, please call our Contact Centre on +44 (0)20 7306 0055.

Please note, your booking is not confirmed until you have received written confirmation from the Gallery. We recommend at least one month’s notice to make a booking to avoid disappointment.

For SEND group bookings please complete the online booking and we will ask you details of your group’s needs.

For any support with your online booking please contact us:
+44 (0)20 7306 0055 (lines are open 10.00 to 18.00, Monday to Sunday)
[email protected]

For more information on visiting the Gallery, see our Visit page.

Visit an exhibition

Discounted school group exhibition tickets are available. Advanced bookings only.

To book a school group visit of 10+ to an exhibition, please contact our Contact Centre team on: +44 (0)20 7306 0055 (lines are open 10.00 to 18.00, Monday to Sunday)

Maximum group size for exhibitions is 25 per 15 minute timeslot. A complimentary teacher ticket is available to book for every 10 students.

The Time is Always Now: Artists Reframe the Black Figure (22 February - 19 May 2024): £5 per student

Francesca Woodman and Julia Margaret Cameron: Portraits to Dream In (21 March - 16 June 2024): £3 per student

Book a learning session

You can now find details of our programme of learning sessions for schools in Schools hub, the Gallery's new free online learning resource hub designed to support Art & Design and History through portraiture. It features more than 150 newly commissioned learning resources and videos, as well as details of our learning sessions for schools. 

See all schools learning sessions

Primary learning sessions

Our programme for primary schools encourages and supports active participation, questioning and experimentation to learn about Art and History through portraits. Children become art and history detectives to uncover clues and reveal the stories within the portraits! Sessions include fun, engaging and creative activities to explore what portraits can tell us about the people portrayed, and how and why they were created.

See all Primary sessions

Secondary learning sessions

Our engaging programmes use portraiture to inspire learning across the curriculum, helping students learn about their own identity, British society and their place within it. Students come face-to-face with people past and present who contribute to the rich identity and diversity of British history, art and culture. History workshops take an enquiry approach to enable students to ‘think like historians’ and use portraits as historical sources. Art and Design workshops, led by practising artists and photographers, explore key themes in portraiture including identity, self-portraiture and representation. 

See all Secondary sessions

SEND learning sessions

Our sessions for SEND groups are being designed and piloted with teachers and students at special schools local to the Gallery. The sessions explore portraits in multi-sensory ways and invite students to respond by creating their own portraits.

See SEND sessions

CPD and Teachers’ events

Check Schools hub for our next CPD session. 

Adults at a table working on a painting together
© David Parry

Information you will need to provide

Information you will need to provide to make your booking:

Dates when you’d like to visit; have some alternatives ready just in case

Details of your school, group leaders and age range, and needs of your pupils including SEND

Number of pupils and accompanying adults. Our recommended ratio of pupils:adults is as follows:

  • Early Years Foundation Stage (3-5 years old) 1:6
  • Key Stages 1-2 (5-11 years old) 1:8
  • Key Stages 3-5 (11-18 years old) 1:10

We can book a maximum of 60 students at a time (2 classes) for visits to the permanent collection, depending on availability.

Risk assessment

Review the Gallery’s Risk Assessment to help when planning your education visit.

Download the Risk Assessment (PDF)

Teacher FAQs

Please download and read the Teacher FAQs when planning your visit to the National Portrait Gallery.

Download Teacher FAQs

If you need the FAQs document in an alternative format please contact us:

+44 (0)20 7306 0055 (lines are open 10.00 to 18.00, Monday to Sunday)
[email protected]

Keep in touch

Sign up to our Teachers and Schools e-newsletter to be the first to hear about upcoming opportunities and events.

For more information contact us:
+44 (0)20 7306 0055 (lines open 10.00–18.00)
[email protected]

To find out more about how we will use your personal data, please see our Privacy Notice.

Schools hub

Schools hub is the Gallery's new free online learning resource hub designed to support Art & Design and History through portraiture. It features more than 150 newly commissioned learning resources and videos, as well as details of our learning sessions for schools.

Explore Schools hub
Schools hub