Frequently Asked Questions

Can I take photos when I visit?

Visitors to the National Galleries of Scotland are welcome to take photographs or video for personal, non-commercial use. All other uses require prior permission from National Galleries of Scotland Trading.

Photography is not permitted in special exhibitions and may be restricted for loaned works of art, as indicated by a 'Please do not photograph' notice on wall labels of certain works.

Tripods, monopods, and flash lighting are prohibited at all times.

Please note that many of the artworks in our galleries are still within copyright and using these images in any way will require prior agreement with copyright holders or other licensing agents.

The National Galleries of Scotland reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to withhold and/or withdraw permission to photograph on its premises or to reproduce photographs of objects in its collection.

Why can't I point at artworks?

We understand that visitors like to get close to artworks to see brush strokes, signatures etc, and to point out things to their friends. However, the works and their frames are fragile and, in most cases, irreplaceable. We ask visitors to respect this and keep a safe distance.

Can I take my umbrella in when I visit?

No. These should be checked into the cloakroom which requires £1 coin (refundable) or taken in a bag which Gallery Attendants can provide.  Please recycle these.  Wet brollies can increase humidity in the galleries and ultimately damage works. Used for pointing, they have also been known, however unintentionally, to cause damage.

Can I take my backpack in when I visit?

No. These are outlawed for two reasons, but can be checked into the cloakroom free of charge.
  • Visitors accidentally back into works, especially sculpture.
  • Visitors back into each other and cause accidents.

Can I use my mobile phone in the Galleries?

Mobile phones can be used considerately within foyers, corridors, shops, cafes and gallery spaces. Please refer to the FAQ on taking photos for information relating to the camera function of mobile devices.

Can I eat or drink in the Galleries?

No. This is to protect the artworks, as accidents do happen. All galleries have café areas where food can be purchased or external seating where your own food can be eaten.

Why are lighting levels in some galleries low?

This is usually for fragile artworks, such as pastels or works on paper. High light levels can bleach or fade such works.

How can I check the work I want to see is on display before I visit?

Please call 0131 624 6200 or email enquiries@nationalgalleries.org to avoid disappointment.

Why is my favourite work not on display?

This work could be on loan to another exhibition or in our conservation department for repair. Also, as our collection is large, we often rotate items. Works on paper can only be displayed for a maximum of three months each year due to the risk of fading. The Information Desk in the Weston Link can assist with queries on location.

How can I access works in storage?

To check the location of a work you wish to see, please contact the switchboard on 0131 624 6200 or email enquiries@nationalgalleries.org If the work is in the Granton Art Store, special visits can be arranged by calling 0131 467 0466. If the work is in storage in a gallery rather than the main store, you will be put in touch with the appropriate member of curatorial staff to assist you when you make your enquiry.

Why do I have to pay for some exhibitions?

The National Galleries of Scotland receive no funding to mount temporary exhibitions. An admission price is levied to cover the costs of such exhibitions and is kept to a minimum. Safely transporting works, producing signage and information, physically hanging the works and ensuring works are protected are the main expenses. Admission to the permanent collection is always free.

What is the Print Room? How do I access it?

Each gallery has a section dedicated to prints and drawings, which for conservation reasons cannot be displayed to the public for lengthy periods. These works can, however, be viewed by a visit to each gallery's Print Room. The Scottish National Gallery Print Room is open to visitors from 10am–12.30pm and 2-4.30pm, but please call 0131 624 6593 or check at the Information Desk in the Gardens Entrance first to avoid disappointment. Occasionally general access will not be possible due to conservation work or large pre-booked group visits.

The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Print Room is open by appointment only, please call 0131 624 6385 or email gmaprintroom@nationalgalleries.org

The Scottish National Portrait Gallery Print Room is open by appointment only. Please call 0131 624 6407 or email pgprints@nationalgalleries.org

Please note that it helps if you can tell the Print Room staff what you would like to access or see. Each Print Room contains thousands of works, all of which are stored and not on display for general viewing.

Does the National Galleries of Scotland have a library resource?

Yes. There is a reference library at each site, all of which are open by appointment only. Please contact the Librarian on 0131 624 6501 or nglibrary@nationalgalleries.org for the Scottish National Gallery, 0131 624 6407 or pglibrary@nationalgalleries.org for the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, and 0131 624 6253 or gmalibrary@nationalgalleries.org for the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.

How can I buy a copy of my favourite painting?

The National Galleries Picture Library has an extensive range of images from our collection available in a variety of formats, with more added all the time. To see if your favourite is available please visit our Prints on Demand section.

If the work is not available via Prints on Demand, complete the Picture Library enquiry form.

I want to buy a certain product. How do I do this?

Mail order is available by calling 0131 624 6219, emailing mailorder@nationalgalleries.org or by visiting our online shop.

Can I access a list of publications by the National Galleries of Scotland?

The National Galleries publications list is available by calling 031 624 6259, or by emailing publications@nationalgalleries.org.

How do I get there?

All the National Galleries of Scotland's sites are located in the centre of Edinburgh within walking distance of each other.

The nearest train station to the Scottish National Gallery and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery is Edinburgh Waverley. The nearest train station to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art is Edinburgh Haymarket.

Local buses travel regularly between the galleries.

More specific information on visiting the Galleries can be found in our Visit section.

Where can I park my car?

You can park your car for £1 for 4 hours at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. All money raised in the car parks goes towards the running of the Galleries.

The Scottish National Gallery and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery are served by city centre parking, either on George Street, Queen Street or the large car park at the St. James Centre.

Do the Galleries have wheelchair access?

All galleries are fully accessible by wheelchair and have access ramps and lifts to all levels. All have disabled toilets. There is disabled parking in the following locations:

Scottish National Gallery: between the Gallery and the Academy buildings, just off The Mound. Please wait to be let through the bollards.
Scottish National Portrait Gallery: free parking for blue badge holders on Queen Street and George Street.
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Two: to the immediate rear of the building.
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art One: at the front of the building.

In addition we have wheelchairs available to borrow on site. These are available on a first come, first served basis.

Are there special facilities for babies?

All the galleries have baby changing areas, located within the disabled toilets. We do not have any dedicated rooms for breast-feeding, but there will usually be a quiet area where you can go if you are uncomfortable using the changing area or the public spaces. Please ask a gallery attendant on site for advice. All galleries also have buggies available to borrow if required. We ask that these are used in place of baby 'back pack' style carriers. Buggies are available on a first come, first served basis.

Can I have a work of art valued by the Galleries?

The National Galleries of Scotland is not able to provide financial valuations for any purpose. For more information, including details of valuation services, check the Curatorial Department pages in the Research and Care section.

Does the National Galleries of Scotland have an online library resource?

Yes. You can search the library catalogue online.