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Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Certificate of Excellence
New Town
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Get directions
Address: 1 Queen St., Edinburgh EH2 1JB, Scotland
Phone Number:
+44 131 624 6200
10:00 - 17:00
Closed now
See all hours
Thu 10:00 - 19:00
Fri - Wed 10:00 - 17:00
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Fee: No

Visit one of Edinburgh’s most iconic buildings and explore a fascinating...

Visit one of Edinburgh’s most iconic buildings and explore a fascinating overview of Scotland past and present though a wealth of imagery encompassing painting, photography, sculpture and film. Meet the people who have helped shape the nation’s identity at home and abroad from Mary, Queen of Scots and Bonnie Prince Charlie and Robert Burns, through to more recent pioneers in science, sport and the arts.. See this outstanding national Collection in its newly refurbished 19th century home, from the suite of grand, top-lit galleries to smaller, intimate rooms, and discover the new Photography Gallery and the atmospheric Victorian Library. Round off your trip to the Portrait Gallery with a visit to our new café. Serving a delicious menu of fresh dishes and classic recipes, our team are passionate about sourcing the very best local ingredients and seasonal produce. A great place for lunch or even just a coffee break, our family-friendly venue is one of the best cafes in Edinburgh. Admission is free. Charges may apply for special exhibitions.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 1,885 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 1062
  • 511
    Very good
  • 93
  • 11
  • 6
Great place to visit

A great, and FREE place to visit when in Edinburgh. Its a good way to learn more about the people of Scotland. Its very well curated and you feel like you're travelling through... read more

4 of 5 bubblesReviewed yesterday
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1,885 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 1,683: English reviews
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW

A great, and FREE place to visit when in Edinburgh. Its a good way to learn more about the people of Scotland. Its very well curated and you feel like you're travelling through time as you move through the galleries. Some truly wonderful works of art are held within its walls! It also has a lovely café with a really... More 

Thank MsTumnus
Level Contributor
84 reviews
37 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW

One of my favourite places in the world! The entrance hall is stunning - I could sit here for hours just looking at the ceiling. awesome cafe too -

Thank lynniemac13
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW

Although not perhaps on the list of must-see venues for the first-time visitor, this museum is a delight and, since it is just a wee bit off the tourist path, usually not as crowded as the more obvious tourist attractions. The building itself is entrancing, and the temporary exhibits provide a contemporary balance to the permanent displays of portraits of... More 

Thank olderandwiserdiner
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

This is a beautiful building , full of interesting work. The BP portrait competition is always fabulous. And the cafe is terrific!

Thank lesley1232014
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
27 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

We were recommended to go by the lady in Fat Face and she was spot on. Look up when you get into the central atrium and keep looking as you view each floor. There are portraits for all tastes and ages. The BP portrait exhibition was a wonderful demonstration of all the different styles. If you like historical figures they... More 

Thank hudsdeb
Blackpool, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
12 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 days ago NEW via mobile

Found this gallery one of the few where I wished I had more time to enjoy. The exhibitions and special features were a real treat and the variety of paintings, sculptures and photographs made the visit interesting and informative. Found the library with it's masks fascinating.

Thank thorntonslack
Newport, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 days ago NEW via mobile

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit here during a short break to Edinburgh. Before coming I wasn't sure how interesting I would find paintings of historic Scots, not being very familiar with Scottish history, but I learnt lots about the Jacobite rising and the Act of Settlement and got to see some great paintings too. We were fortunate to see the... More 

Thank Piccalilli75
Level Contributor
115 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

Very interesting and popular place to visit. Loved the character of the building and the various rooms had clearly been well thought out. Friendly staff.

Thank hayley1980
Nethy Bridge, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
15 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

Some may think a portrait gallery might be dull and boring. The Scottish National Portrait Gallery is neither. The building itself is a beautiful red sandstone structure with statues of various people on the outside. The square central hall is stunning, with balconies on each floor above. The history of Scotland and major characters are depicted around the hall. Leading... More 

Thank nethycurl
Level Contributor
45 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

Just enter and look up: the interior is magic! Permanent collection is worth looking at, and frequent exhibitions make one's visits varied. Annual BP portrait competition is an institution in itself: a lot of talent is around!

Thank Euronomads

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Questions & Answers

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  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?

Staying in New Town

Neighbourhood Profile
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.
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