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. We can support your booked self-directed group visit to the National Portrait Gallery Collection through a range of resources.

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.

Visiting the Tudor Galleries as a self-directed group? The Tudor Galleries are extremely popular we strongly recommend you book your visit in advance specifically stating that you intend 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 upcoming exhibitions and displays click here
It is essential to book in advance 

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 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.