Scottish National Portrait Gallery


Come face to face with the people who shaped Scotland’s past, present and future.


Book now

Free admission | Advance booking required

1 Queen Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1JD
10am-5pm Sunday-Tuesday
(Closed Wednesday-Saturday)

[email protected]

Visiting the Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Provisionally opening for three days a week, due to the staffing levels required to ensure we adhere to COVID-19 health and safety standards, the Portrait Gallery is open every Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Alongside this, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern One) has moved to three days a week and open Thursday, Friday and Saturday. 

Admission is free, but tickets must be booked here in advance. Booking is now open. Everything you need to know about your visit can be found here, or in our Frequently Asked Questions

We have signed up to the Good to Go scheme to show we are committed to meeting current Scottish Government health and safety standards for our buildings and staff. 

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.

Getting here

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.

1 Queen Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1JD
10am-5pm Sunday-Tuesday
(Closed Wednesday-Saturday)

Accessibility & facilities

A full accessibility guide is available at

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
  • Wheelchairs available
  • Baby changing facilities
  • Buggy park
  • Seating throughout
  • Bike rack
  • Accessible toilets for gallery visitors
  • No lockers
  • Toilets for gallery visitors
About your visit

About your visit

What's open

Ground floor including the Great Hall.
First Floor the Ambulatory only. The Photography Gallery, Library, Research Consultation Area and The Modern Portrait exhibition all closed.
Second Floor all galleries.

Opening times

Galleries 10am-5pm Sunday-Tuesday. Closed Wednesday-Saturday.
Café Portrait 10am-4.30pm. Sunday-Tuesday. No advance booking required.
The Gallery Shop is closed. Our online shop is open and ships worldwide.


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

Your safety

We've instituted a free, timed ticketing system. Admission is free, but tickets must be booked in advance.
Everything you need to know about your visit can be found in our Frequently Asked Questions.

Keeping you safe on your visit

Keeping you safe on your visit

Book online

Admission is via a ticketed entry system which must be booked in advance online only. 

Additional cleaning

We have instituted a programme of deep cleaning of the Galleries and will have staff onsite cleaning all touch points throughout the day.

One-way system

To keep you safe, one-way routes are in place throughout the Galleries.

Maintain a safe distance

We are asking all visitors to adhere to current physical distancing rules.

Face coverings

In line with Government guidelines, we are asking all visitors over the age of 5 to bring and wear a face covering. Our staff will be wearing face coverings.

Hand sanitiser

Hand sanitiser is available in key areas, along with increased cleaning regimes in toilets and other high use areas.

Timed visitor slots

We are limiting the number of visitors coming into our galleries via timed visitor slots. We hope that this will make you feel safe when re-engaging with much-loved artworks.

Feeling unwell?

If you or anyone you live with displays symptoms associated with COVID-19, please delay your visit until it is safe to do so.


Download Smartify to access our highlights tour, large print labels and get more information about the artworks during your visit.

Featured exhibitions and displays

Featured exhibitions and displays

Must see
Exhibition Closing Soon

Scottish National Portrait Gallery visit


10am-5pm Sun-Tues (Closed Wed-Sat)


You are here | 2020: Stories, Portraits, Visions


Until Sun 31 Jan 2021

10am-5pm Sun-Tues (Closed Wed-Sat)


Reformation to Revolution


10am-5pm Sun-Tues (Closed Wed-Sat)


Heroes and Heroines | The Victorian Age


10am-5pm Sun-Tues (Closed Wed-Sat)

Café & shops

Café Portrait

Open Sunday-Tuesday 10am-4.30pm.
Booking not required.
+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


The shop is currently closed.

We look forward to seeing you again next year. In the meantime you can visit our new shop at the gardens entrance to the Scottish National Gallery or order online.

You can Click & Collect at the Scottish National Gallery and Modern One shops.

We are also offering a personal shopping experience at Modern One.

Shop online
Research facilities

Research facilities

We are not currently able to take bookings for our print rooms and libraries. We hope to be able to offer them again soon.

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.