Learning about and experiencing art is at the heart of the school programme. Working alongside artists and art historians in the gallery space is a wonderful way to encourage pupils and teachers to think creatively and independently.

Our guided visits usually focus on four or five artworks enabling visitors to explore the work fully through investigation, gallery-based activities and lively discussion.

Guided tours of the permanent art collections and paying exhibitions are FREE for schools within the European Union, but must be booked with a minimum of one month’s notice. A fee of £50 (for approximately 20 people) applies for international school groups.

Time slots available for the guided visits are 10.15-11.15am, 11.30am-12.30pm, 1.15-2.15pm, and 2.30-3.30pm.

To book your visit, please contact the Education Administrator (see Contact Information on this page). Please have the following information available when you book your visit:

  • A range of dates for your visit
  • Name of teacher or group leader
  • Your school's address, telephone number and email
  • The age and size of your group
  • Details of any pupils with special needs
  • Lunch room if required



Tours for pre-school children; taking a fun approach to looking at art, children will learn how to explore and interact with selected artworks in a variety of exciting and stimulating ways.

This tour is 45 minutes in duration.

Christmas Story & Winter Tales

Follow the story of Christmas and explore images of winter. Hunt for stars, skate on a frozen loch and see what the three kings brought for baby Jesus.

Developing Critical Responses to Art

Explore the collection through interactive drawing exercises to encourage observation, discussion as well as providing students with a fuller understanding of the art on display.

Drawing to See

Explore the collection through interactive drawing exercises. Encourages observation, discussion and provides a fuller understanding of the art on display. No drawing experience necessary.

Eduardo Paolozzi

Explore the influences, processes, techniques and breadth of art works produced by the late, great, Scottish artist Eduardo Paolozzi. This tour focuses on Paolozzi's studio reconstruction and selected works of art at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Two.

Europe through Art & Artists

See a sunset over Rome, enjoy Cezánne’s view of Mont Sainte-Victoire, climb Ben Ledi and many more without leaving the Scottish National Gallery.


Eye Spy Nursery Visit to National Gallery of Scotland

Taking a fun approach to looking at art, children will learn to investigate the ideas and stories hidden within a painting. Using a variety of sensory approaches and props, parents, teachers and children will be encouraged to explore the gallery and respond to selected artworks. These gallery-based sessions have been designed to assist the 3-5 curriculum.

This tour is 45 minutes in duration.

Fantasy and Imagination

Use the Surrealist collection to help develop skills essential for Senior Art & Design courses, such as criticism, expressing opinion and using art and design language.

Highlights tour

Led by gallery educators, discover some of the highlights in the collection at the Scottish National Gallery, or Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art during this introductory visit.

Lively discussion and activities are encouraged!





Investigate the subjects, styles, materials and techniques that turned the French Academy on its head at the end of the 19th century.



Explore the rich and varied landscapes in the Scottish National Gallery's collection and examine different techniques that artists have used to produce them.


Old Town/New Town

Trace the building of Old and New Edinburgh through works in the national art collection. (This tour can also include a visit to the Print Room* to look at prints and drawings to see how Scotland’s capital city has changed).

*Please discuss when booking.


Curriculum for Excellence Level 4 and Senior.
All Senior guided visits can be adapted to Standard Grade, Access, Intermediate 1, Intermediate 2, higher and Advanced higher level.
Available at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

Develop critical and analytical skills and establish personal responses to portraits. Pupils examine composition, pose, focal point, handling of media, paint application, interpretation, use of the visual elements and choice of subject.


Portraits capture the image and character of people at a given moment. Pupils are invited to use the artists' clues to get to know the person in the painting - their personality, interests and beliefs. This visit can be extended to include a practical portraiture workshop.



Senses in Art

Imagine the smell of eggs cooking in a famous Velázquez painting, feel McTaggart's stormy, salty water splashing your face, have a nibble of Herod's Feast by Rubens and much, much more!

Stories in Art

Every picture has a story to tell, using selected works groups are encouraged to explore the stories through artists’ clues.

Weather in Art

In Scotland, the weather is a favourite subject, almost every painting set outdoors is influenced by the climate. This visit will explore how artists have shown the weather throughout the seasons in their work.