Scottish National Portrait Gallery

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

Getting here

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

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

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

National Galleries of Scotland are holders of a Green Tourism Gold award. This is the highest level award and demonstrates that we are an organisation committed to being an environmentally responsible visitor attraction, which champion sustainable practises within their operations and promote green tourism.  The Galleries were scored on a number of categories covering everything from how our buildings are managed, biodiversity on our grounds to social and equality issues. Find out more about Green Tourism.

Level 2 of the Portrait Gallery

The Library and Print Room

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.

The Great Hall

Running along the first-floor ambulatory of the Great Hall is a painted frieze by the nineteenth-century artist William Hole. In reverse chronological order it depicts famous people from Scottish history including Robert Burns, Bonnie Prince Charlie, Mary Queen of Scots and many more. 

Accessibility & facilities

  • 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

In order to protect our vulnerable works of art from any kind of accidental damage we kindly ask all visitors to either carry their rucksack/backpack by hand or place it in a locker.


Cafés & restaurants

Café Portrait

Opening times Open daily from 10am-4.30pm +44 (0)131 624 6421

Round off your trip to the Portrait Gallery with a visit to Café Portrait, where you can take a break from sightseeing and enjoy a delicious lunch or coffee and cake in impressive surroundings.

Serving a delicious menu of flavourful soups, hot and cold main dishes, classic recipes with a contemporary twist, tasty & colourful salads, heavenly home-baking and a decadent afternoon tea for two priced at only £30. Our team are self-confessed foodies and use their passion for food to source the very best of local, organic ingredients and fresh seasonal produce.

All of our food is prepared from scratch in our kitchen, that’s why it tastes so good. You can choose from a wide variety of gluten and dairy free dishes.

Book a table


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.

Online shop

Browse and download our What's On Guide for September to November 2018