Edinburgh Art Galleries

Edinburgh National Gallery

Art galleries in Edinburgh, Scotland are numerous. Go to any of the national galleries dotted around the city and you will happily spend all day in one. Not only is the art fantastic but so too is the architecture. Here is a list of major art galleries to visit in Edinburgh. Also some details of their permanent collections or a few trip tips.
To find out which exhibitions are now on or coming soon there is a regularly updated page of Edinburgh exhibitions.


National Galleries of Scotland

The National Galleries of Scotland has three major sites in Edinburgh, housing the national collections of modern, classical and portrait art. Admission is free to all buildings. Most temporary exhibitions have an entrance fee. A National Art Pass can get you 50% off admission.


Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

75 Belford Road, Edinburgh, EH4 3DR
daily 10am – 5pm

Free entry – admission fee for temporary major exhibitions.
50% off exhibitions with National Art Pass.

Scottish National Gallery of Modern ArtA sculpture park includes Landform by Charles Jencks (2002), an environmental sculpture inspired by chaos theory and Henry Moore Reclining Figure. There are also sculptures by Tracey Emin and Rachel Whiteread.

First opened in 1960 at Inverleith Row, the gallery moved to the site of an old school in 1984. The site contains two beautiful buildings recently renamed as Modern One (the main gallery) and Modern Two (formerly The Dean Gallery). Modern One is a former school in an early 19th Century neoclassical style. Modern Two was formerly an orphan hospital that became an art gallery in 1999.
It holds a permanent international collection of Surrealist art in the Dean Gallery building: includes books, artworks, catalogues and journals from Miro, Magritte, Duchamp, Dali, Ernst and Giacometti.

Vulcan by Edoardo Paolozzi a huge specially-commissioned sculpture at Modern Two,  You can also see a re-creation of Paolozzi’s studio. It looks as if he has just popped out for lunch and will be back in 5 minutes.

Highlights from the permanent collection:
Modern One (the larger building)
Early 20th Century French and Russian art; Cubism; Expressionism; Matisse; Picasso
post WWII art: Bacon; Hockney; Warhol; Freud; Gilbert and George; Emin and Hirst.

Modern Two
Paolozzi’s studio and Vulcan sculpture; Surrealism; library and archive
check out the artwork in the cosy cafe and a fascinating small shop on site.


Scottish National Gallery

The Mound, Edinburgh, EH2 2EL
Daily 10–5 and until 7pm on Thursdays

Free entry – admission fee for temporary major exhibitions.
50% off exhibitions with National Art Pass

National Gallery of ScotlandA purpose-built neoclassical building, designed in 1850. It houses the Scottish National Collection of fine art from early Renaissance to the end of the 19th Century. In 2004 the Weston Link was added: an underground modern, spacious extension linking the two main buildings of NGS and RSA.

Highlights from the permanent collection:
Titian, Raphael, Rembrandt, Velásquez, Botticelli, Monet and Van Gogh. Canova’s Three Graces. Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art: Gaugin, Cézanne, Monet, Seurat.

Botticelli’s Virgin Adoring the Sleeping Christ Child, Raphael’s The Virgin and Child.

Also the Bridgewater Titians: Titian’s Diana and Actaeon and Diana and Callisto are amongst the most widely admired and influential of all Italian Renaissance paintings. And a wonderful collection of Scottish art including the iconic Reverend Robert Walker Skating on Duddington Loch by Henry Raeburn.


Scottish National Portrait Gallery

1 Queen Street, Edinburgh EH2 1JD
Daily 10am – 5pm and until 7pm on Thursdays
A complete 2 year refurbishment was finished at the end of 2011. It was worth the wait.

Scottish National Portrait GalleryRed sandstone Gothic revival purpose-built building in 1885-90.
Be amazed at the gallery of stars on the ceiling in the Great Hall.

Holds Scotland’s national collection of portraits.
Portraits range from the Renaissance royalty/nobility through to every class in the 19th Century to present day photography.

Highlights from the permanent collection:
Mary Queen of Scots, Robert Burns. The oldest work in the collection is a portrait of James IV of Scotland from 1507.



So that’s the national galleries in Edinburgh.

Here are the other major players:

City Art Centre

2 Market Street, Edinburgh EH1 1DE
Daily 10am – 5pm (12 – 5 on Sunday)

City Art Centre
The City Art Centre is an impressive nine-storey iron-framed warehouse with Beaux Arts façade. Originally built 1899 – 1902 as a fruit and vegetable warehouse. It was converted to a gallery in 1980. It shows in-house and touring exhibitions over six floors. Run by City of Edinburgh Council. Escalators can bring you up to all floors and stairs will bring you down. There are lifts also. It has a lovely shop showcasing Scottish artists and designers.

Highlights from the permanent collection:
The fine art collection ranges from 17th Century to the present day. A wide selection of Scottish artists and over 4500 works in the collection in total.



The Fruitmarket Gallery

45 Market Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1DF
11am – 6pm (Sun 12 – 5)

The Fruitmarket Gallery
Exhibitions are free.

It shows the contemporary work of Scottish and international artists equally. Mostly funded by the Scottish Arts Council.

Situated opposite the City Arts Centre and . This city centre building dates from 1938 and was originally built to house a fruit market. Opened in 1974, it was renovated in 1994 to look more like a gallery with a glass frontage. It has a mezzanine level as well as a large ground floor space.

The Fruitmarket Gallery has an incredible bookshop that also sells magazines and artists’ books. The café is also worth a visit. Check out Martin Creed’s installation Work no.1059 (2011) commissioned by The Fruitmarket Gallery. It is a marble refurbishment of the formerly grotty Scotsman steps that take you up to the top of the North Bridge to the old Scotsman Newspaper building (now a hotel).


The Queen’s Gallery

Palace of Holyrood House, Edinburgh
Daily 9.30- 6
closed 22 July – 1 August, 11-21 November 2013
Admission £6.25/£5.75

The Queen’s Gallery is set on the grounds of the Palace of Holyrood House at the entrance. You can purchase a ticket separately for the palace or buy a ticket to cover the cost of both the gallery and the palace. A relatively new gallery, it was opened in 2002, and the building is in keeping with the surrounding architecture. Each letter above the entrance is carved from a single stone.

The gallery only houses temporary exhibitions from the Royal Collection.

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