National Portrait Gallery with Kids

If you are looking for some days out and activities with kids in London, do consider the National Portait Gallery!!

We do love visiting Galleries with the kids – it is often a varied experience. Sometimes, we have a great day, where the kids are mesmerised. Other days it is a bit more so so. But, I feel it is ALWAYS worth going to a gallery with kids and just exploring and having a chance to look.

National Portrait Gallery for kidsThe key thing, is to be responsive to the kids’ moods (don’t push it, if they are not interested or tired), to have some breaks (they always love the coffee shop) and to help you along the way, maybe visit a gallery on a day, when they have events for families.

And so to the National Potrait Gallery. To my “shame”, I had never considered the National Potrait Gallery for my kids. I am not sure why, but maybe I thought it would be “dry and boring” looking at people. (Oops). So, when I went to the National Potrait Gallery “late evening opening” to the BP Portait Awards with fellow blogger friends and saw the portaits on display and also heard about all the fabulous kids’ activities they have on over the Summer, I knew we had to go these holidays.


This time, I decided to go with “just us”. The last 2-3 gallery visits have been with friends and found that my son in particularly was disctracted by the friends and showed little interest in the art. So this time we went on our own. And planned to join the Family “3D Art” event that they gallery had organised on our chosen day.

It proved to be a good tactic – though reluctant at first, it was my son who got the most out of the visit this time, whilst my daughter, who usually LOVES going to the galleries, had a bit of a tired moment herself. But that is how it is – and so long as you accept it, no gallery visit is every a flop with kids. And I know on some level they will both have taken things away from our day.

I LOVED the 3D Map making workshop we attended. It was a simple workshop, where the kids created “pirate maps” of their bedrooms. It wasn’t so much the activity itself that I loved, but how the artists running the event, made portraits relevant to the kids. Before the workshop, we visited the BP Potraits awards and were encouraged to take a GOOD LOOK at the backgrounds of the portraits – what could we see? What rooms where they? What was in the rooms? And why did we think the artist added those items? What did the room tell us about the person?

For me it was a great way to talk to the children about artwork – other than the usual – “can you find x animal?” or “which picture do you like best” or “what do you think this picture is about?”. The workshop made the gallery relevant and fun to us!

Thank you so much for having us and we look forward to visiting again soon!

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