The Scottish National Portrait Gallery opened last year to great fanfare after a major refurbishment. These most recent works have returned the building to the design originally envisaged by its developer John Ritchie, owner of The Scotsman newspaper at the end of the 19th century.
The gallery is at 1 Queen Street in Edinburgh’s New Town, just a short 5-minute walk north from Princes Street. The gallery building is a magnificent red stone building with tremendous detail in its exteriors and interiors – its neo-gothic design makes it stand out against the other buildings in this part of the city.
The aim of the gallery is to show portraits produced by Scottish artists, and portraits featuring Scottish people and events. Originally the gallery was developed as a place to worship Scottish heroes, but today the gallery shows all aspects of Scottish life over the many centuries, up to the present day. The gallery also features many sculptures and photographs.
The The Scottish National Portrait Gallery is set over three floors and you would need to spend many hours here to soak up all the history and life stories. I suggest, if possible, you make a few visits and on each visit follow one of the trails laid out around the gallery, each following a different theme.
The gallery is open 7 days a week from 10am to 5pm, with a late opening until 7pm on Thursdays. Entry is free but please do make a donation. The gallery has a restaurant that serves all manner of lovely snacks and light meals. There’s also a gift shop to get something for a loved one or to take home a copy of a portrait that you enjoyed.
The area around the gallery is becoming a popular place to stay as guest are also near The Playhouse Theatre, the boutique retailers of Broughton Street, Calton Hill, George Street and The Botanic Garden.
The area around the The Scottish National Portrait Gallery has some excellent hotels and apartments. Take a look at;
- Hotel Indigo Edinburgh – a budget boutique hotel with excellent restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner.
- Blue Rainbow Apartments – luxury serviced apartments directly across from the gallery.