Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Overview

Come face to face with the people who shaped Scotland’s past, present and future at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

Open daily, 10am-5pm

Free admission | Charge for some exhibitions

1 Queen Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1JD

[email protected]

Gallery & grounds

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.

Learn more about the history and architecture of the building

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. See these fantastic displays in beautifully refurbished spaces, from the suite of grand top-lit galleries to smaller intimate rooms, and discover the Photography Gallery, and the atmospheric Victorian Library. The displays change on a regular basis, so there is always something new to see.

Getting here

Located in the city centre on Queen Street, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery is easy to access.

  • Open daily, 10am-5pm
1 Queen Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1JD

Gallery bus

The Gallery bus shuttles visitors between the three gallery sites, for a voluntary donation of £1, starting and returning to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern One). The bus is able to accomodate one wheelchair.

Pick-up and drop-off points
Modern One - front of building
Modern Two - rear of building
Portrait - drop-off only at west St Andrew Square. Three minutes walk from the Gallery
National - The Mound 

Arrival/departure times
Please note these times are approximate.

Modern One arrive Modern One depart Modern Two depart Portrait (drop off only) National arrive National depart
10:45am 11am 11:01am 11:15am 11:20am 11:30am
11:45am 12noon 12:01pm 12:15pm 12:20pm 12:30pm
12:45pm 2pm 2:01pm 2:15pm 2:20pm 2:30pm
2:45pm 3pm 3:01pm 3:15pm 3:20pm 3:30pm
3:45pm 4pm 4:01pm 4:15pm 4:20pm 4:30pm
4:45pm 5pm 5:01pm 5:15pm 5:20pm 5:30pm
Terminates at Modern One 5:45pm

Accessibility & facilities

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.

  • Information desk
  • Wifi
  • Wheelchair access
  • Hearing loop
  • Accessible toilets
  • Wheelchairs available
  • Public toilets
  • Lockers (£1/£2)
  • Baby changing facilities
  • Buggy park
  • Seating throughout
  • Bike rack
Admissions

Admissions

Cost

Free admission | Charge for some exhibitions

Opening times

Open daily 10am–5pm

Contact

For general enquiries regarding your visit or gallery services:
+44 (0)131 624 6200
[email protected]

Your safety

For safety reasons we kindly ask all visitors to carry rucksacks or backpacks by hand or use one of the lockers.

Groups of 10 or more

Groups of 10 or more are encouraged to book two weeks in advance in order to make the most of your visit and take advantage of discounts on paid exhibitions. Our team can help you plan your visit.

Schools, college and university visits

We offer an exciting range of tours and workshops for students of all ages.

Other languages

Other languages

We have information to help plan a visit available in a number of languages other than English. You can access these from the links below:

Featured exhibitions and displays

Featured exhibitions and displays

Must see
Exhibition

ARTIST ROOMS Self Evidence | Photographs by Woodman, Arbus and Mapplethorpe

Portrait

Until Sun 20 Oct 2019

Open daily, 10am-5pm

Free

Exhibition

The Long Look | The Making of a Portrait

Portrait

Until Sun 27 Oct 2019

Open daily, 10am-5pm

Free

Display

Reformation to Revolution

Portrait

Until Fri 1 May 2020

Open daily, 10am-5pm

Free

Display

Heroes and Heroines | The Victorian Age

Portrait

Until Sun 31 May 2020

Open daily, 10am-5pm

Free

Featured events

Featured events

Drop-in event

Once-a-Month Shared Reading and Creative Writing

Portrait

Every third Wednesday of the month
10:30am - 12:30pm

Free

+5 other sessions

Course SOLD OUT

Art for Absolute Beginners: Pastels

Portrait

Thu 19 and Thu 26 Sep 2019
10:30am - 12:30pm

£32.00

+1 other sessions

Drop-in event

Easel Sketching in the Gallery

Portrait

Thu 19 Sep 2019

2 - 4pm

Free

+6 other sessions

Music concert

Special Concert: Baharat Ensemble

Portrait

Sat 21 Sep 2019

1 - 1:30pm

Free

Café & shops

Café Portrait

Open daily from 10am-4.30pm +44 (0)131 558 7031

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.

Sample menu

Book a table

Shop

Open daily 10am–5pm

Our shop sells ranges of handmade jewellery, crafts, ceramics and limited editions from Scottish artists and makers. So whether you’re looking for prints or posters, books or bags, we have everything from the traditional to the alternative.

Shop online

Balcony Bookshop

Open daily 10am–5pm

This shop is situated on the balcony above the Great Hall, near to The Library. It stocks key National Galleries of Scotland publications and other titles relating to our exhibitions, collection and artists. You can also buy souvenirs, postcards and gifts.

Browse books online
Research facilities

Research facilities

Photography Collection

The photography collection contains over 40,000 works including the largest collection of Hill and Adamson anywhere in the world.

Portraiture prints & drawings

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.

Scottish biographical and portraiture library

The library has over 50,000 holdings largely including biographies of Scots and Scottish portraiture.

Venue Hire

Venue Hire

This beautiful neo-gothic gallery is one of Edinburgh’s most striking city centre event venues.

About us

About us

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.