5 reasons to visit the National Portrait Gallery before it closes for renovations

Proposed North Façade entrance and forecourt. Jamie Fobert Architects / Source: Forbes Massie Studio.

The National Portrait Gallery is closing for three years for a £35.5m worth of redevelopment.

The renovations include a new grander entrance which is intended to make the gallery more welcoming. During the refurbishment more than 1,000 works will be placed in storage while another 300 will go on tour in different galleries and museums around the country.

Here are five reasons why you should visit the gallery at least once before it closes in June 2020.

It’s FREE 

Visiting the National Portrait Gallery is free of charge, except for some special exhibitions that run throughout the year. Going there is a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of London and enjoy a quiet moment with yourself and a few centuries of history. 

Source: Daniel H. Tong on Unsplash

Learn something new 

Did you know that the National Portrait Gallery in London is the first portrait gallery ever? This is one of the few things you get to learn when visiting. It is also a less mundane way to learn more about important figures is British history. 

The must-see pieces 

The gallery’s collection is one of the most impressive in the world – filled with portraits of the most famous and influential people dating back 500 years. Queen Elizabeth, William Shakespeare, Jane Austen all have portraits hanging in the gallery. 

The gift shops 

Although every gallery shop has more or less the same products – art catalogues, prints, mugs and Mona Lisa key chains – in the National Portrait Gallery gift shops, you can find some more interesting products including Meghan ‘Ankle’ socks, David Bowie ‘Cut’ life mask, and a David Hockney egg cup. 

If you are a true crime junkie

Source: Ari Spada on Unsplash

In February 1909 a murder-suicide took place in Room 27 at the National Portrait Gallery. A 70-year-old man shot his wife from behind and then killed himself. This information was revealed in 2010 when the gallery’s archive became open to the public. So if you are the kind of person who likes to watch murder documentaries, that might be just the reason for you to visit.

Words: Ani Puncheva

Photos: Forbes Massie Studio / Unsplash