The Twilight Zone!

Calling all after-school and uniformed groups – you are invited to enter the Twilight Zone!

What is the Twilight Zone?

The Twilight Zone is a programme of special, after-hours visits at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Led by professional artists, groups can enjoy having the gallery all to themselves after the doors have closed to the public. They can have a guided tour; do some sketching in the gallery or take part in one of our hands-on workshops.

Who can take part?

Organised groups with members aged between 5 -14 years can take part. This includes community groups, after-school clubs and uniformed groups like the Brownies or Cubs (our workshops are designed to count towards badge schemes).

When do the visits take place?

Visits last between 1-2 hours. They can take place Mondays – Fridays, 3pm-9pm. It is also possible to arrange weekend visits during normal opening hours, 10am-5pm.

What do the visits cost?

The Twilight Zone is subsidised. Guided tours are free, but we make a charge for workshops in order to cover our costs. The cost of a workshop will never work out at more than £3.50 per head, and will usually work out less than this. In certain cases we may be able to offer free workshops for community groups - please get in touch if you would like more details.

Prices are listed in the description below.

What happens on a visit?

You can choose to have an artist-led tour with sketching or a practical workshop (which includes a guided tour). There is a list of options below; all have been developed to count towards Guides or Scouts badge schemes such as the Artist, Culture, Artist Activity and Creative Activity badges. 


Guided highlights tours

1 / 1.5hrs

Interactive guided tours and sketching introducing some of the highlights in the Portrait Gallery – from kings and queens, radicals to rogues, jesters to geniuses, poets to politicians and everyone else in between! 


1.5 / 2hrs (includes short gallery tour):   
Groups up to 20: £25 / £30 per group
Groups up to 30: £65 / £70 per group

Funny Faces (Ages 5-7, 7-10)
Have fun looking at some of the portraits in the gallery and then get creative to make your own cool, colourful and decorative portrait using collage techniques.

Heroes and Heroines (Ages 5-7, 7-10)
Who’s your hero? Be introduced to some famous and heroic characters, admire our collection of miniatures and medallions and then create your own precious portrait medallion out of clay.

We are Family (Ages 7-10)
Explore family portraits, marvel at a giant family tree painting in the gallery, and then have a go at creating your very own beautiful 3D family tree.

Print-a-Portrait (Ages 7-10)
First, explore the magnificent Great Hall to find out how some important people have represented themselves using coats of arms, then have a go at designing, printing and constructing your own shield coat of arms.

Stargazer’s Special (Ages 7-10)
Explore our amazing ceiling of stars using our special stargazer’s map. Hear some of the stories behind the constellations and then design your own.

Portrait in a Box (Ages 7-10, 10-14)
Get up close and personal with some of our portraits and learn how to use artist’s clues to get to know the person in the painting. Bring along a selection of items – photographs, pictures, maps, clippings that represent you and your life and use them to create and decorate a personal portrait box.

Here’s Looking at You (Ages 10-14)
Using a selection of portraits as a starting point, start off by sketching in the gallery, then learn techniques to draw or paint a portrait or self-portrait.

How do I book?

At least 4 weeks’ notice is required to make a booking. Please use the booking enquiry form.

For more information, please contact the Families and Communities Coordinator on 0131 624 6428 or email