National Galleries Scotland: Portrait

National Galleries Scotland: Portrait

National Galleries Scotland: Portrait
4.5
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
A neo-Gothic palace dedicated to exploring various aspects of the Scottish story, this gallery is a hidden gem right at the heart of Edinburgh. The art tells you stories of the land and its people, through the medium of imagery. Meet with friends in the welcoming Café Portrait. Find other familiar faces when you discover contemporary portraits of pop culture icons like Billy Connolly, Emeli Sandé and Tilda Swinton in the galleries above. You will spot recent pioneers in science, sport and the arts and sit alongside famous historical figures such as Mary Queen of Scots, Robert Burns and Charles Edward Stuart. The gallery is decorated in elaborate murals and sculptural embellishments inside and out - really, take time to look up at the Zodiac ceiling in the world-famous Great Hall. Seriously, it is like 2,000 golden stars and 47 constellations! Bedazzling.
Duration: < 1 hour
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The area
Address
Neighbourhood: New Town
Suits and shopping bags rule the streets of New Town, until after dark when strappy dresses come out to play. This is the city’s central business district with its smaller offices, clothes boutiques, and many of the city’s flashiest restaurants and ritziest clubs. The architecture along roads like George Street helps give it a swank and formal feel: it’s a planned Georgian development of regal townhouses, geometric squares, and self-important statues. But it’s also a very wanderable neighbourhood, with a healthy bustle at almost any time of day and fine people-watching in places like St Andrew's Square which fills with picnickers around lunch. You’ll also find a series of cheerful basement bistros on Hanover Street, while dark Rose Street has something of the feel of an undiscovered back alley and is chock-full of characterful pubs and small independent shops.
Reach out directly
See what travellers are saying
  • pfefmeister
    San Francisco, California3,044 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Not What I Expectef
    I thought this would be your typical, boring portrait museum where all the pictures looked the same. Fortunately, this wasn’t the case, as the portraits portray unique individuals important to Scotland’s culture. Uniquely presented with a placard explaining each individual, we were surprised and impressed by the quality and quantity of the art presented. A little off the tourist path, it’s worth seeking out. Well done.
    Thanks so much for your review, and for visiting us. We're so happy to hear that you enjoyed meeting lots of Scotland's famous faces!
    Written 21 June 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 1 June 2023
  • GSouth
    91 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Perfect way to spend an hour or two of your time.
    Visited the museum in June of 2023. The interior architecture of this building is beautiful. It is easy to walk around and has lifts for those that have issues with stairs. It is a great way to see art and learn more about the people that made Scotland what it is. One of the best art museums in Edinburgh.
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 5 June 2023
  • Katie
    16 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Worth the visit for any art lover
    This is my favourite of the National Galleries across Edinburgh (the others being the National Gallery and Modern One and Two). The gallery combines new Scottish art with the history of Scotland so there's something for everyone! The cafe is also great (all the National Galleries of Scotland cafes are great in all honesty!), good for a snack or a nice lunch and there is a lot of seating.
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 6 July 2023
  • MYDOGISFINN
    Emsworth, United Kingdom871 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    GREAT BUILDING AND GREAT ART
    This gallery is well worth visiting as it is housed in a magnificent Scottish baronial style building with wonderful friezes along the walls of the main hall. The top floor is rather formal with pictures of kings and aristocrats but the first floor has a very diverse selection of portraits of Scottish people and works by Scottish artists. Good cafe but no shop.
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 17 September 2023
  • Thomas G
    Amsterdam, The Netherlands1,688 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Enjoy the paintings and pictures
    The museum is very interesting with its beautiful paintings of famous people or less famous people. The hall way is gorgeous, but the highlight was the exposition of pictures of rough situations, like the war in Ukraine or the transgender Vogue movement in New York. The museum is free (as many in Scotland).
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 29 September 2023
  • YoohooWales
    Llanelli, United Kingdom301 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    An Enjoyable Experience. Well Worth a Visit.
    A beautiful building housing a fascinating range of portraits and statues including historic to modern day subjects. An enjoyable experience for everyone from art students to those like me who who think that a paintbrush is something you buy at Screwfix. Spent a couple of enjoyable hours here blown away by the vast range of artistic skills on display. Recommended.
    We love standing in the Great Hall and looking up in the Portrait. Thanks for stopping by.
    Written 24 November 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 21 October 2023
  • Emily M
    5 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Lots to see
    We visited on a rainy day and found it an interesting gallery space. Nice variety of old and new portraits with the traditional hall at the centre. The photography exhibit was a fantastic part of the gallery. There was more on display than we expected which was brilliant.
    Thanks for stopping by. Delighted to hear you enjoyed Making Space: Photographs of Architecture.
    Written 24 November 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 21 October 2023
  • star557799
    Providence, Rhode Island104 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Enjoyed this museum
    I'll admit I came here because I had to wait a few hours before I could check into my hotel. It turned out to be a good move! One of the best parts of the experience was the scale of the museum - it's not too overwhelming. Enjoyed the exhibits and the building and had a wonderful lunch in the cafe. Highly recommend.
    Hi thanks for stopping back whilst in Edinburgh. Delighted to hear you had a great visit.
    Written 24 November 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written 17 November 2023
  • suebell262
    Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom284 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Amazing visit x
    Great visit to this superb National Portrait Gallery earlier this week. The selection of art is vast and the quality of portraits amazing - so exciting and impressed! Lovely cafe and staff (as in all the other galleries) in a beautiful building and setting. Would deffo recommend a visit and for FREE too x
    Visited January 2024
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 21 January 2024
  • deb a
    5 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Culture and great food
    I visited twice during my three day holiday. I recognised very many of the portraits and really enjoyed wandering through the rooms. The Processional around the staircase has to be seen to be believed. I also ate in the gallery’s cafe/restaurant. Beautiful food and well presented. Very friendly staff too. If I lived in Edinburgh I would be there regularly.
    Visited January 2024
    Travelled with friends
    Written 2 February 2024
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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles2,741 reviews
Excellent
1,757
Very good
808
Average
143
Poor
25
Terrible
8

Thomas Buckland
Gloucester, UK26 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
We really enjoyed our visit today did not disappoint was amazing to walk around and see such beautiful paintings so glad we went in
Written 19 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

juantwothreefour
Edinburgh, UK76 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Friends
The sad fact is that the gallery is virtually closed to the aged and infirm because its lift / elevator has broken down.
There is no warning of this.
The stairs are long and steep.

It is a great building but the displays are disappointing and I remember the old BP competition exhibits with a tear in my eye.

The food in their very popular cafe looked like stew awaiting re-heating yesterday. We went elsewhere.
Written 2 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

deb a
5 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Friends
I visited twice during my three day holiday. I recognised very many of the portraits and really enjoyed wandering through the rooms. The Processional around the staircase has to be seen to be believed. I also ate in the gallery’s cafe/restaurant. Beautiful food and well presented. Very friendly staff too. If I lived in Edinburgh I would be there regularly.
Written 2 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

suebell262
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK284 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Couples
Great visit to this superb National Portrait Gallery earlier this week. The selection of art is vast and the quality of portraits amazing - so exciting and impressed! Lovely cafe and staff (as in all the other galleries) in a beautiful building and setting. Would deffo recommend a visit and for FREE too x
Written 21 January 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

2020worldtraveler2020
Los Angeles, CA881 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2023 • Family
Spent 90 minutes walking around this beautiful portrait gallery. There was a traveling exhibit of modern portraits that was worth a visit.
Written 26 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

star557799
Providence, RI104 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Solo
I'll admit I came here because I had to wait a few hours before I could check into my hotel. It turned out to be a good move! One of the best parts of the experience was the scale of the museum - it's not too overwhelming. Enjoyed the exhibits and the building and had a wonderful lunch in the cafe. Highly recommend.
Written 18 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi thanks for stopping back whilst in Edinburgh. Delighted to hear you had a great visit.
Written 24 November 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Emily M
5 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Couples
We visited on a rainy day and found it an interesting gallery space. Nice variety of old and new portraits with the traditional hall at the centre. The photography exhibit was a fantastic part of the gallery. There was more on display than we expected which was brilliant.
Written 21 October 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thanks for stopping by. Delighted to hear you enjoyed Making Space: Photographs of Architecture.
Written 24 November 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

YoohooWales
Llanelli, UK301 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Couples
A beautiful building housing a fascinating range of portraits and statues including historic to modern day subjects. An enjoyable experience for everyone from art students to those like me who who think that a paintbrush is something you buy at Screwfix. Spent a couple of enjoyable hours here blown away by the vast range of artistic skills on display. Recommended.
Written 21 October 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
We love standing in the Great Hall and looking up in the Portrait. Thanks for stopping by.
Written 24 November 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Marc Robertson
Edinburgh, UK152 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Couples
We hadn’t been to the Portrait Gallery for a few years and I confess I was disappointed. The actual amount of art on display is quite limited and what is there is quite poorly curated.

The Library, a beautiful space, is bisected into a staff area (of which there are a lot), with noisy, giggling staff on one side and a public area on the other. The staff area is the same size as the public side and the division kills the space. The cabinets are full of items, but there is no interpretation that offers insight other than headline labelling.

The hall is a stunning space but quite ruined by a blaring television with a somewhat monotone talking head. Might the gallery invest in headphones and allow visitors to be in the space in peace?

The actual portraiture is mixed, but it is limited, I had assumed by space issues, but there is a vast, mostly empty, space on the ground floor that could be used for art. Perhaps the man sitting in the vast empty space at a table eating a sandwich was art?

All in all, dissapoonting.
Written 10 October 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Thomas G
Amsterdam, The Netherlands1,688 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Couples
The museum is very interesting with its beautiful paintings of famous people or less famous people. The hall way is gorgeous, but the highlight was the exposition of pictures of rough situations, like the war in Ukraine or the transgender Vogue movement in New York. The museum is free (as many in Scotland).
Written 30 September 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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NATIONAL GALLERIES SCOTLAND: PORTRAIT: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

Frequently Asked Questions about National Galleries Scotland: Portrait

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