Skip to main content

We are planning to reopen as part of Step 3 of the government's roadmap out of lockdown which will be no earlier than 17 May. Sign up to our emails for updates.

Below, you will find the latest information about what we are doing at the Gallery to ensure you have a safe and welcoming visit. 

In these FAQs you will find information about:


How do I book a ticket online?

For your safety and the safety of our staff, everyone must book online and in advance. 

Our Members see all exhibitions first, and free.

We’re releasing tickets for visits regularly. Be the first to hear about future ticket releases by subscribing to our emails or following us on social media.

If you’re buying tickets on behalf of others, you can book up to six tickets online. Each person in the group must have their own individual ticket. Unfortunately, larger group bookings are not available, at this time.

To avoid disappointment, please try to arrive up to 5 minutes before your time slot. There are two queues: a Members' and exhibition ticket queue, and a Gallery entry queue, with two-metre markings. Please follow government advice on social distancing.

Latecomers will only be admitted if there is capacity to do so, and if it is safe for other visitors and our staff.

Can I book a ticket while at the Gallery?

For now, everyone must book online and in advance of their visit. If your preferred time slot or day is sold out, please check back later. We will be releasing additional tickets as soon as it’s safe to do so. When inside the Gallery, you will be able to book any available tickets for future visits. 

How many times can I visit the Gallery per day/month?

You can visit as many times as you like, provided you can show a valid ticket on entry each time. You can come back several times in one day provided you can show a valid ticket upon entry for each visit.

If I can’t come to my allocated slot, can I exchange it for another time?

Gallery entry tickets are free so if you can’t make your time slot, please book again online for another time that’s convenient.

Paid tickets, as per our terms and conditions, are non-transferrable unless in the event of closure of the National Gallery or cancellation of the event and cannot be resold. Any tickets found to have been offered for resale will be cancelled without refund and admission will be refused to the bearer.

What if I don’t have access to a phone or computer?

We have made changes to the Gallery and how you visit the Gallery that put your safety, and the safety of our staff, first. One of these is asking everyone to book a timed ticket, in advance so that we can limit the number of people in the Gallery and the number of people queuing to get into the Gallery.  

If you have any special access requirements, please call us on +44 (0)20 7747 2885 and we’ll be happy to help. We’d be grateful if people only call this number if it is absolutely essential as we have very limited resource to answer calls and need to prioritise those who don’t have another booking option.


For all membership enquiries please email:  

See our membership terms and conditions 

Members booking

Our Members must book a timed ticket in advance.

Members who are subscribed to our emails will be the first to hear when new tickets are made available. Members get a range of benefits for supporting the Gallery including free exhibition access and priority booking for our public events programme.

Member + Guest ticketing

All visits must be booked online and in advance. If you have a Member + Guest account and would like to bring a guest to the Gallery, please ensure you book a ticket for yourself and your guest(s).  

Coronavirus precautions

When I visit, will I need to register with the track and test app from the NHS? 

By booking your ticket with us you have already participated in the NHS Test and Trace service. For further information please see our privacy policy.

Will you check my temperature as I enter the Gallery?

We will not check your temperature upon entering the Gallery, although if you suspect that you may have a temperature we ask that you delay your visit until it is safe to do so. If this happens during your visit, we ask you to alert a member of staff.

Do I need to wear a face mask?

In line with government guidelines, you must wear a face covering during your visit unless you are exempt.

If you arrive without a face covering we have a limited supply of single-use face masks we can provide. Alternatively, a National Gallery face mask can be purchased from the onsite shop. But we encourage you to arrive with a face covering to wear.

You will not be permitted entry to the Gallery if you are not exempt from wearing a face covering and are not prepared to wear one during your visit.

Will the Gallery staff be wearing protective equipment?

We have introduced PPE for our staff. Plexiglass screens have been installed at points where there is face to face interaction between staff and visitors

How will I be able to social distance in the Gallery?

The new systems we have introduced help to ensure that you can maintain social distancing throughout your visit: the one-way system through the Gallery and pre-booked, timed tickets to manage the number of people in the Gallery or in the queue for the Gallery. There are signs throughout the Gallery to remind you about these new measures.

Will I be able to wash my hands?

Disinfection gel and wipes are available at all service desks for you to use.

Are there benches in the Gallery for visitors? Is it safe to use these?

Yes, the benches are in place with an enhanced cleaning regime. We ask you to maintain two-metre distancing while using the benches.

Can I use the lifts?

Lifts are available to those who need them, but social distancing is required, and so this limits capacity. They are available for single household use only at any one time and on request. 

Can I sketch in the Gallery (collection and/or exhibitions)?

Sketching is now permitted in the Gallery, please see the sketching in the Gallery section for more details. 

Risk assessment

We have made a few changes to the Gallery to comply with the government’s guidance on managing the risk of COVID-19. We have carried out risk assessments for our employees and visitors, which we will review if any changes are made to the advice. See our risk assessment.

Self assessment

We have complied with the government’s guidance on managing the risk of COVID-19. See the guidance.

COVID-19 Industry standard

In partnership with the National Tourist Organisations of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, this standard confirms that the Gallery has met government and industry COVID-19 guidelines. See the certificate.


Cloakrooms and toilets

Am I able to store items in the cloakrooms?

As part of our security arrangements, the cloakroom is not available unless you have a specific request in support of an access requirement. We recommend storing items at train stations or other storage facilities.  

You are allowed to bring your buggy, handbag or small backpack in the Gallery, carrying your backpack on the front or held at your side. We do provide plastic bags if you have a small umbrella and we ask that you put it away while in the Gallery. Large bags, large umbrellas, selfie sticks and trolleys are not permitted in the Gallery. We advise you to travel light.

Will you do bag checks?

Yes, bag checks are still in place.

Are the toilets open?

Toilet facilities are available at the entrance and exit for you to use at the beginning and end of your visit.

The toilets are operated by a one-in-one-out system, and alternate urinals have been closed off with screens in place.

Access arrangements

What is available for people who are still unable to travel to the Gallery? 

We are making every effort to ensure access to the Gallery, but we recognise that some of our visitors may not be able to visit during the new opening times. In due course we may be able to extend our opening hours or offer other opportunities to visit.

Currently, we are not able to permit group bookings, including school visits. We are taking government advice on when it is appropriate to extend or improve access, but for now these access arrangements are in place for everyone’s safety and comfort.

We also offer extensive digital content and online tours if you are unable to visit but still want to engage with the Gallery, online.

Can physically less able visitors visit the Gallery as usual? What provisions will be made?   

Lifts are available to visitors with wheelchairs, buggies and mobility aids and full access provision is available to them throughout the Gallery. We have benches in the galleries as usual with an increased cleaning programme in place to support this. Stools and wheelchairs are available on request, on a first come, first served basis.  

Family visits and baby changing?

Baby changing facilities are available as normal with an enhanced cleaning programme in place. This is available at both the Sainsbury Wing and Portico toilets.


How can I donate? 

You can find details of all the different ways to donate and support us, here -

In the Gallery, there are contactless methods of donating.

Wider programme

When will group visits (including schools and tours) and education programmes/other activities resume?  

In order to ensure that all groups are safe we will not be booking any group visits until the autumn at the earliest. In the meantime, we are offering some of our programme online, and teachers can also join online sessions related to projects such as Take One Picture, and teacher training opportunities. Community Leaders can also take part in our Community Leaders Training programme online.

Will you be doing tours/10-minute talks? 

We are currently developing an online programme, and this will include initiatives including tours for community groups, Talk and Draw and On the Contrary. We also hope that our courses for adults will move online starting in September.

We have been working with our partners since lockdown to move some events online, for example, running online lectures with The Women’s Institute, University of the Third Age and supporting students during this challenging period.

Sketching in the Gallery

Please note that sketching and drawing is permitted in the Gallery with the following guidelines:

  • Please be conscious of other people, and move aside if someone wishes to view the painting you are sketching
  • Maintain a physical distance and wear a mask at all times
  • Sketchbooks or notepaper should be no larger than A3 size
  • Spend no more than 10 minutes in front of any painting
  • You may be asked to move along to another painting or room if we are particularly busy
  • No sketching is permitted in doorways or access routes
  • Painting and use of materials other than pencils is only permitted under the Copyist Scheme.