National Gallery Tour for Kids

From US$568 privately
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Tour Details
2 hours
Product Type
National Gallery
Photos & Highlights
  • Detailed explanation of stories that have inspired painters alongside interactive, family-friendly activities
  • Led by an art historian trained to work with children
Tour Description
Retaining one of the greatest collections of western art in the world, the National Gallery is a wonderful repository of stories, from the magical to the everyday, from epic tales to biographies, and from the imaginary to the factual. Together, we'll dive into the world of these stories—as well as the stories behind the artists that made them—on this National Gallery for Families Tour, led by an art historian trained in visual learning strategies. Armed with art supplies and our imaginations, we'll not only learn some of the skills necessary to make masterworks like the ones on display, but we'll develop an appreciation for western art through the ages.

"She came prepared with tools/activities for the kids and clearly took time to think about how to engage them fully. It was amazing!"

National Gallery For Families Tour

On our journey, we will hear the legends of the Greek and Roman gods, including Mars, the god of war, and Venus, the goddess of love, as well as the fate of Ariadne, who was deserted on an island by her lover, Theseus, and later discovered by the god of wine, Bacchus. We will also see how artists interpreted the stories of the holy books and meet the Queen of Sheba on her journey to test the wisdom of King Solomon with gifts of gold. Or perhaps we will find out the secret of Samson's superhuman strength and discover who betrayed his secret.

Reading a Painting

As we explore, we will learn to decipher the signs and symbols that give us clues to the meaning of different paintings. For example, which saint always holds an arrow and why? Who is dressed in animal skins? Who holds a golden apple, and what does an hourglass symbolize? What does a dog, or a dove, or a horse represent in a painting?

Looking for more family-friendly museum tours in London? Try our Tower of London for Kids or British Museum for Kids Tours.

Interactive Activities

Throughout the walk, we'll also engage with the paintings through a series of interactive activities. Maybe we'll take out our pencils and decide to try our hands at sketching some of the paintings we see—inserting ourselves into the picture! Or, perhaps we'll take a closer look at painting; just how do they get so many colors and textures onto the canvas? Either way, we'll walk away with a deepened appreciation for the craft of some of Europe's masters—and a few new artistic skills.

Take Aways

Over the course of this walk, we will learn how artists over the centuries have translated the great literary and oral narratives from words to paint as we hear and see these stories. The west has a rich culture of storytelling that has inspired countless retellings, and together with our expert we will discover these tales on our journey around the National Gallery.


Where do we meet? Where does it end?
The walk begins and ends inside the museum. Your confirmation email will have the exact meeting point details along with a map.

Do we need tickets to go inside the National Gallery?
No, the gallery is free to the public, however donations are appreciated. There are donation boxes at all main entrances to the gallery.

Is this tour good for kids?
Absolutely yes! This tour was designed by our museum educators and experts to be fun and interactive. Feel free to provide us with information about your children such as favorite school subjects, and hobbies. This way we can match you with the best possible expert.

Is this walk accessible to wheelchair users?
Yes, the gallery is fully accessible.
Where You'll Start
24 Reviews (4.8)

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There was confusion about the meeting place which was frustrating and we explained to our docent. We thought our docent was fabulous and we would have loved to have spent more time with her. She was prepared to engage our children and was the perfect match for my eight year old daughter. We could not say enough good things about her.
Our docent was absolutely wonderful. She came prepared with tools/activities for the kids and clearly took time to think about how to engage them fully. The kids did an art work scavenger hunt (looking for specific items in paintings); a fun exercise in learning about perspective (each with their own 'frame'); took some time to sketch details from a painting onto a postcard (we received these when we arrived home much to their delight); and they connected fabrics painted on the canvas to fabric samples she provided. They had a terrific time, learned a great deal and are still talking about it. The content of the tour is also excellent insofar as it ends up being a journey through history via the art. It is a characteristic of the gallery, but our docent took full advantage waking the kids through pre-Renaissance art, to the Renaissance and perspective, to portraiture, to 18th and 19th century art. really well done on her part and the kids were able to make connections to other museums they have seen. When we later visited the Orsay, they were able to connect it back to a few of the Impressionist paintings they viewed at the National Gallery. A great family tour.
Our docent was lovely and excellent with the kids. She gave us a very fast but rich taste of the National Gallery that was perfect for our children's attention span (two hours). She had a "bag of tricks" to bring back their attention when it was flagging (let's draw, let's find the following five elements in these paintings, can you see what is behind the paint there?" etc. Thank you for a wonderful time! By the way, I wanted to pass on to our docent that the "Katie and the Impressionist" books we talked about, which are wonderful teaching tools for children and art and feature "Katie," a girl who "lives" adventures through paintings in museums, can be found at the gift shop in the National Gallery.