Many visitors to Edinburgh make a trip to one of the city’s superb galleries. And it is easy to understand why…
Scottish National Gallery
This incredible neoclassical styled building is the major art gallery for the whole of Scotland. Open since 1859, its exhibits largely span the period from the Renaissance to the end of the nineteenth century. Situated on The Mound, close to Princes Street, this huge building houses intensive research facilities and a mass of wonderful galleries. From the permanent collections of European and Scottish art, to the interactive gallery and collection of paintings from all the notables – Van Dyck, El Greco, Raphael, Rembrandt, Seurat, Titian and many more, this large, extensive series of galleries demands a full day to explore.
Scottish National Portrait Gallery
This beautiful building houses some wonderful portraits both modern and classical. Created to pay a lasting visual tribute to Scotland’s heroes and heroines, there are around 30,000 portraits inside, from historical royals to "recent pioneers in science, sport and the arts".
Its 2011 refurbishment now means it offers seventeen new displays, covering the story of Scotland and the Scottish people, with Robert Burns, Prince Charles Edward Stuart and Mary, Queen of Scots all included to great effect in this Arts and Crafts styled purpose-built portrait gallery. Truly some stunning exhibits in a stunning setting.
The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
On Belford Road, about fifteen minutes from Princes Street, this gallery is unmissable for those interested in contemporary art, holding regular events, displays and exhibitions of well known modern artists. Cubism and European twentieth century art are well represented, as are post-war collections by Hockney, Warhol, Freud, Hirst, Emin and Gilbert & George, amongst many others. With sculptures both indoors and out, this gallery set in gorgeous parkland, is certainly worth a trip.
City Art Centre
The City Art Centre, conveniently situated close to Waverly train station, has one of the best collections of Scottish art (all the major Scottish artists – Glasgow Boys, Scottish Colourists, Edinburgh School, post-war and contemporary, are represented), items of photography both historic and new, architecture, built environment, and even hosts touring exhibitions such as the display of costumes and artwork from, for example, Star Wars films! Holding regular exhibitions and events, the permanent collections here are also a real draw for visitors.
Talbot Rice Gallery
The Talbot Rice Gallery, part of the University of Edinburgh, has a remit to present "original and relevant exhibitions within a unique historical context". Their exhibitions and primarily contemporary shows, and their links with the College of Art and University in general ensure that this gallery is always vibrant and fascinating, having access to the University’s mass of collected artefacts and upcoming talent. Based at the Old College, South Bridge, the Talbot Rice isn’t far from High Street and the Royal Mile.
The Fruitmarket displays "world class contemporary art at the heart of the city" on Market Street. With past exhibitions encompassing everything from light installations, video installations, conceptual art to more traditional canvas & wall-based art, this gallery is interesting even for those with only a passing interest in contemporary art.
Their aim being to bring Scotland the work of the world’s most important contemporary artists, they recognise "that art can change lives and we offer an intimate encounter with art”. They encourage questions and debate about the sometimes controversial subjects surrounding contemporary art and artists.
The Collective Gallery
The Collective Gallery specialises in contemporary visual arts and is based at Calton Hill’s City Dome and Observatory, with a stream of exhibitions being held in the refurbished buildings.
Of course, for those intending to buy art, Edinburgh is home to fine art dealers such as The Scottish Gallery on Dundas Street, or the Ingleby Gallery who, as well as running an ambitious scheme of exhibitions will also advise clients in the purchase of artworks.
Where to stay
We are proud to offer the visitor to Edinburgh a wide choice of accommodation from which to choose. Whether you wish to stay in luxurious hotel rooms or more modest bed and breakfasts, or even stay outside of the city, our listings are sure to have something to inspire the artist in you!