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London, United Kingdom
September 23, 2010
April 21, 2006
From journal London Days
August 1, 2005
What was it like? Now, I have to admit, the two eleven-year-old boys in our party were not exactly thrilled with this museum. In fact, I felt as if the goal for them was to race through the floors as quickly as they could without me snapping at them to slow down. With that said, they did perk up a bit in the Tudor Gallery where the likes of King Henry VIII are on display. There I could point out some of the famous faces that would go with the stories they would hear in the Tower of London. (On a side note, I was personally surprised to see that Mary Queen of Scots really wasn't any prettier than Elizabeth I. I remember reading more than once that Mary's looks were a threat to her cousin's ego, even while her existence was a threat to the English throne.) In turn, some of the portraits in the 20th century galleries were of people they recognized on their own. They liked some of the styles used by the more modern painters here--"Less stuffy," I believe I heard one of them say--and they actually lingered over a few pieces.
I would've spent more time here, but I didn't completely mind submitting to the children's quick pace because the permanent exhibits are free.
Bottom line? Certainly worth a wander, even if you have your kids in tow. After you leave the gallery, head over to see the lions at the foot of Lord Nelson in Trafalgar Square. The boys enjoyed walking around outside here, where they didn't have to be contained or quiet.
From journal Lads in London
by captain kait
Houghton, New York
June 19, 2005
As you come into the NPG, you are taken up an extra-long escalator that spits you out at the earliest portraits of the nobility. You move through room after room of regal and sober expressions in ornate clothing. It's amazing how much of a progression you can see on the walls simply in fashion. For me, I found it helped me connect the royal line, which has always been confusing. The piece descriptions explain whose son this was or who his children became. The oldest paintings are fragile, so the light is low, but this only adds to the feeling of mystery.
Down in the lower galleries, you can find anything, from pop-art pictures of movie stars to abstract self-portraits. I was fascinated to see what the authors I've read and heard so much about looked like in real life. Also, I realized just how much a part of art portraiture really is. This smaller museum provides an enjoyable and informative afternoon visit, if nothing else.
And did I mention it’s free?
From journal London Museums
State College, Pennsylvania
August 10, 2004
This is a bit more serious a destination, but my 3-year-old and I spent a happy hour there with the help of the audio guide, fun riding the two-door lifts (which will open?!?), the mysterious escalator that skips a whole floor, and air conditioning vents that blow up your skirt.
If your kids have any special heroes, the staff are happy to look up who is on display...
Sneak up to the top floor (restaurant entrance) for a fabulous view of Trafalgar Square down to the Thames.
From journal Obscure museums in London for young families
April 7, 2004
From journal Honeymoon to Merry Ol' London
by Sarah the Expat
April 2, 2004
The practical bits:
The nearest tube stop is Charing Cross or Leicester Square. Opening times are 10-6pm daily, with late nights ‘til 9pm on Thursday and Friday. Since it's one of the few attractions open in the evening, I suggest going then and saving the daytime for other activities.
From journal An American Expat In London
New York, New York
April 5, 2002
From journal London Calling
by Pammy S
October 9, 2001
From journal Living in London
June 22, 2000
From journal London: City of Love?