Scottish National Portrait Gallery visit
Reopening 30 April
The Scottish National Portrait Gallery is closed until 30 April when it will reopen daily from 10am-5pm. When we reopen, those visiting will have their very own special experiences with the much-loved artworks of the nation’s exceptional art collection, as we are limiting the number of visitors in each gallery at any one time. To manage this we've instituted a free, timed ticketing system. Admission is free, but tickets must be booked in advance.
The Scottish National Portrait Gallery is one of Edinburgh’s most remarkable buildings – a great red sandstone neo-gothic palace which sits proudly on the city’s skyline. The Gallery was designed by Sir Robert Rowand Anderson as a shrine for Scotland’s heroes and heroines. It opened to the public in 1889 as the world’s first purpose-built portrait gallery.
An elaborate decorative scheme, both inside and out, with its glittering friezes, evocative murals and extensive sculptural embellishment, make it a very special experience.
Displays at the Gallery explore different aspects of the story of Scotland and her people, told through a wealth of imagery including portraits of famous historical figures such as Mary Queen of Scots, Prince Charles Edward Stuart and Robert Burns, through to more recent pioneers in science, sport and the arts.
Located in the city centre on Queen Street, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery is easy to access.
In addition to the transport options below there are bike racks at each site and Just Eat Cycle Hire stations nearby.
A full accessibility guide is available at www.accessibilityguides.org.
We provide a sensory map of the building to help visitors identify areas with changes in light, smells and noise. It locates seating areas and less crowded, quieter spaces. Printed copies are available from the front desk at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.
Liz Louis, Curator of Portraiture introduces the Great Hall of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Liz gives us a tour of the elaborate decorative interior and examines the glittering frieze and mural decorations by William Brassey Hole. The Great Hall is a work of art in itself, and Liz explains how the decorative scheme relates to both the outside of the building, and the contents that it was purpose built to house.
Lucinda Lax, Curator of Portraiture (1700-1800) gives us a tour of the Jacobite display at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, home to the most extensive and significant collection of Jacobite visual material in the world. Lucinda gives us in insight into this fascinating display, focussing on the way Jacobites presented themselves in portraiture.
Reopening 30 April
After visiting the galleries head to Café Portrait, where you can relax and enjoy a delicious lunch or coffee and cake in impressive surroundings.
All our food is prepared from scratch in our kitchen, which is why it tastes so good. You can choose from a wide variety of gluten and dairy free dishes.Book a table
We look forward to seeing you again in person soon. In the meantime you can visit our new shop at the gardens entrance to the Scottish National Gallery or order online.Shop online
We are not currently able to take bookings for our print rooms and libraries. We hope to be able to offer them again soon.
The photography collection contains over 40,000 works including the largest collection of Hill and Adamson anywhere in the world.
The portraiture prints and drawings collection consists of 20,000 prints and around 2,000 drawings and watercolours dating from the 16th century to the present.
The library has over 50,000 holdings largely including biographies of Scots and Scottish portraiture.
This beautiful neo-gothic gallery is one of Edinburgh’s most striking city centre event venues.
The National Galleries of Scotland cares for, develops, researches and displays the national collection of Scottish and international art and, with a lively and innovative programme of activities, exhibitions, education and publications, aims to engage, inform and inspire the broadest possible public.