Accessible path in East Princes Street Gardens is now open

We’ve completed one of the first milestones of our ambitious project to redevelop the Scottish National Gallery – the opening of the new accessible path in East Princes Street Gardens, along with the reopening of The Scottish Cafe & Restaurant.  

The path was designed to make it much easier for those with mobility issues, prams and pushchairs to move through the gardens. Previously, access in the east gardens was only via steep gradients, steps, and rough paths, and this new route will improve the flow for all users.

Parts of East Princes Street Gardens and the Mound Precinct were closed while extensive work was carried out to create this new accessible path, as well as new landscaping and wider steps leading down to the Gardens level of the Scottish National Gallery.

As part of the landscaping work in the gardens, turf is being laid in the lower levels of the garden, with grass seeding having already been planted on the slopes. The grass will take several weeks to fully grow and during this time, and temporary barriers will be in place for extra care and protection. In the meantime we will co-ordinate with the City of Edinburgh Council’s parks department to advise when it can be used, to ensure the best start for these newly landscaped areas.

The Scottish Cafe & Restaurant has now opened its doors in time for the busy festival season, and already its new look is proving to be a great success. The fresh new interior displays fantastic Scottish designers, including Mairi Helena and Anta, while the menu showcases seasonal and local Scottish produce.

Featured on the menu are all the popular favourites including Cullen Skink, classic fish and chips, and Knickerbocker Glory. The seasonal Scottish lunch menu includes more contemporary dishes like Peterhead cod kedgeree and Perthshire chanterelle spelt risotto. 

For those looking for a quick coffee, a new café, Espresso, opened in the foyer of the Mound entrance to the gallery at the beginning of July.

After this, work will focus on the interior of the building to create exciting new gallery space at the Scottish National Gallery. By early 2021 we’ll reveal a stunning new suite of galleries, bursting with light and colour, and with new views out onto the gardens.

The new galleries, in former gallery, office and storage space, will be accessed directly from the Gardens Entrance for the first time.They will showcase the National Galleries of Scotland’s amazingly rich collection of historic Scottish art, which contains masterpieces by Sir Henry Raeburn, Anne Redpath, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Phoebe Anna Traquair and the group of artists known as The Glasgow Boys.

The project is supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Scottish Government and the Wolfson Foundation.

Find out more about the Scottish National Gallery Project changes, and take a look at the  fly-through animation to experience the full vision of the project. 

13 August 2019