Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the information displayed here is accurate, always check with the venue before attending (especially during the Covid-19 pandemic).
Scottish National Portrait Gallery
1 Queen Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1JD
  • Telephone 0131 624 6200
  • Opening times 10am–5pm.
  • Email
  • Website…
Photo of Scottish National Portrait Gallery
Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Photo: Lisa Flemming © National Galleries of Scotland

One of the most magnificent buildings in the entire city, modelled on the Doges Palace in Venice, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery has an impressive Gothic red sandstone façade designed by Sir Robert Rowand Anderson. As well as classical subjects such as Mary Queen of Scots and Bonnie Prince Charlie, the gallery is home to more contemporary Scottish portraits, such as those of Sean Connery (by John Bellany), Robbie Coltrane and Tilda Swinton (both John Byrne, whose self-portrait is also at the gallery). In 2009, the gallery was closed for the first major refurbishment in its 120-year history, re-opening to great acclaim in late 2011.

Reviews & features

Best free world-class art to enjoy in Edinburgh and Glasgow

21 Sep 2018

With a range of free galleries and exhibitions across both cities, there's plenty of scope to have a very arty day out on a shoestring budget

In Edinburgh, entry to all of the National Galleries doesn't cost a penny. The Scottish National Gallery on the Mound has one of the best fine art collections in the world, and is open daily (10am–6pm). Here, you'll find masterpieces by Botticelli…

Edinburgh Art Festival features of leading international and UK artists

2 Aug 2018

Major retrospectives of Rembrandt and Nolde are alongside work from emerging and established artists from Tacita Dean to Bill Viola

The Edinburgh Art Festival is in full swing, and whether you're a visual art fan who's already planning your itinerary or you just feel like taking a break from the tsunami of live performance, there are a lot of ways to see something a little quieter…

The Best Activities for Kids and Families in Edinburgh

3 Mar 2015

Places to go and things to do in Auld Reekie

Visitors have been climbing to the top of Camera Obscura’s rooftop chamber for over 150 years, so they must be doing something right. Up there, you can view Edinburgh through a giant periscope, ‘pick up’ a bus or person on a piece of paper, and learn…

The Scottish National Portrait Gallery want your children to become Portrait Detectives

9 Jan 2012

New events to get kids interested in the refurbished Gallery

Under wraps for the past two and a half years, the newly re-opened Scottish National Portrait Gallery cuts quite a dash. But for younger visitors, the wow factor generated by a £17 million spend can be hard to see. Which is why events like Portrait…

The Scottish National Portrait Gallery re-opens

14 Dec 2011

Edinburgh gallery transformed after major refurbishment

The public and exhibition space within the Gallery has increased by more than 60% since its refurbishment; as well as the traditional (and much missed) artworks from the likes of Ramsay, Nasmyth and Raeburn being on prominent display, the new Scottish…

Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh reopens

18 Nov 2011

Three-year rejuvenation makes collection more accessible

It’s a starry night in early November, and I’m about to get my first taster of the newly refurbished Scottish National Portrait Gallery. The imposing sandstone building that sprawls across an entire block of Edinburgh’s Queen Street has been closed…

The most significant works of art in Edinburgh

16 Feb 2011

Scotland's National Galleries are home to many major works

What’s your idea of true art? The perfect peachy bums of The Three Graces? Football mastermind Sir Alex Ferguson rendered in cut-up red postcards? A stern-faced ice-skating minister? Whatever tickles your artistic fancy, you can be sure to find it in…

Visual art: In the frame

15 Sep 2008

The most significant works of art in Scotland

Glasgow and Edinburgh’s galleries and museums play host to some of the most famous art works in the world. David Pollock selects the ten you cannot afford to miss.