A Guide To Art Galleries In Edinburgh City Centre
July 26, 2023
Art Galleries in Edinburgh City Centre
Edinburgh is a magnificent city for sightseeing due to the rich history and culture that bestows the Scottish Capital. It's a significant centrepoint for Scottish Culture and has a rich range of offerings for visitors to the city to enjoy.
Edinburgh comes to life in the summertime, and with the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Art Festival taking place - as well as the Edinburgh Tattoo, there are plenty of cultural and exciting events to discover.
Read on below for our definitive guide to all the art showcases, exhibitions and galleries you can visit in Edinburgh.
Before we delve into the amazing galleries the city has to offer, it is worth noting some fantastic exhibitions that’ll be in town for the art festival, such as:
- An exhibition from photographer Markéta Luskačová, held in the Stills Centre for Photography.
- An exhibition dedicated to Scottish Landscape painting, held in the City Art Centre.
- An exhibition dedicated to Scottish Women Artists at Dovecot Studios
- The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2022 Exhibition at the National Galleries of Scotland
- The Shipping Roots exhibition at the Edinburgh Royal Botanic Gardens from Keg de Souza.
- Blood Sweat and Tears, an exhibition about Scotland’s HIV story at the National Library of Scotland.
This list highlights only a small fraction of what the art festival and its venues have to offer. If you’re looking for more information on the art festival for your stay, we released a blog featuring some of the best exhibitions in both Edinburgh’s Old Town & New Town to look out for.
Edinburgh Art Galleries
Aside from the art festival itself, the various galleries that are in and around the city centre of Edinburgh are more than worthy of a visit to indulge in Scottish history, culture, and perceptions through groundbreaking art exhibitions. With a mix of contemporary art and more classical historic art, there’s something for everyone in the city; especially at this time of year!
National Galleries of Scotland (National)
The National Galleries of Scotland consists of a few different galleries all organised together under one unified name. The National Gallery is a gallery that is free to enter and is located on The Mound in central Edinburgh (postcode: EH2 2EL). The magnificent building was designed by the architect William Henry Playfair. This gallery is also known as the Scottish National Gallery, and it is open Monday through Sunday from 10am to 5pm.
This gallery features wonders from the art world with pieces by Raphael Velázquez, Cézanne, Van Gogh, and more. It also features pieces from Scottish talent such as Ramsay, Raeburn, McTaggart, Wilkie, as well as others. In addition, the gallery features an interactive section curated for younger audiences to make it entertaining for all ages. Tours are readily available.
National Galleries of Scotland (Modern)
For those who love more contemporary art, the two galleries that constitute the ‘modern’ galleries will be ideal. Aptly named ‘Modern One’ and ‘Modern Two’, these galleries share the essence of contemporary perspectives and capture the unrivalled power of modern art that is a wonder to observe.
Modern One features art from the greatest artists of our time, with sculptures and art installations that provide a comprehensive, thought-provoking experience that is delightfully light-hearted.
Modern Two provides a spotlight on expressionist art from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with focal points on the experimentation and creative exploration that fuelled art of this time period.
Just like the National Gallery, Modern One and Modern Two are both open 10am to 5pm, every day of the week and are located on 75 Belford Road (postcode: EH4 3DR).
National Galleries of Scotland (Portrait)
Found on Queen Street in the heart of Edinburgh’s New Town, the National Portrait Gallery is nestled in a neo-gothic palance and displays an impressive selection of exhibitions with a focus on the Scottish story. Through art, you can indulge in the story of the Scottish land and marvel at its wondrous decorations that consist of murals and sculptures - with the world renowned Great Hall hosting a zodiac ceiling.
City Art Centre
The City Art Centre is a must see gallery located close to Waverly train station in the heart of Edinburgh. The museum features some of the best works of Scottish visual and applied arts from both historic and contemporary Scottish artists. The centre includes drawings, paintings, sculptures, and prints - with over 4,500 pieces for viewing. It is open every day from 9am to 5pm.
Talbot Rice Gallery
The Talbot Rice Gallery is a publicly accessible section of the University of Edinburgh, dedicated to showcasing a host of exhibitions. Known for its contemporary white cube gallery as well as its neoclassical space, this gallery is one of the best the city has to offer for people who lean towards contemporary art over historic art. It is open Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm.
Stills Centre for Photography
Just across the road from the famous Edinburgh Dungeon is the Stills Centre for Photography. Highly regarded as one of the best photography exhibition spaces in Scotland, you’ll find a variety of exhibitions dedicated to the capture of beautiful photography - welcoming exhibitions from famous photographers from all across the globe in its 40 year existence. The gallery is open for viewing Tuesdays through Saturdays, 12pm to 5pm.
Enjoy Your Stay Where History Meets Luxury
The Witchery is a 5-star hotel experience like no other. From the beautiful, gothic architecture, and the opulence of our room designs, to the extravagance of our dining options - we redefine what it means to experience Edinburgh. Situated at the foot of Edinburgh Castle in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, you’ll be well-positioned to explore everything the Scottish Capital has to offer.
Choosing to stay with us means choosing an attentive service for an unrivalled experience of Edinburgh that’ll stay with you long after you’ve left our capital.