You will be spoiled for choice when it comes to art galleries in Edinburgh, with several across the city. However, if modern and contemporary art is your preference, then the Gallery of Modern Art should be your destination, situated in two buildings, with landscaped gardens surrounding them.
Inside the Modern One building, you can browse artwork ranging from 1900 to the present. The gallery has works by both Scottish and international artists, including Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Samuel John Peploe, Francis Bacon, Andy Warhol, and Damien Hirst.
The Modern Two gallery was opened later, and showcases collections of Dada and Surrealist art, including works by Salvador Dali, and René Magritte. You can also see a recreation of sculptor Eduardo Paolozzi’s studio, and visit the library and archives housed in this building.
Depending on when you visit, you can also enjoy the regularly updated temporary exhibitions hosted in Modern Two. Don’t forget to stop by the gift shop, which has a great selection of art books, prints, posters, and more to choose from, and you can break for lunch in either of the cafes, with their delicious menus.
You should also set aside part of your visit to roam the park surrounding the gallery, which are a work of art in their own right. Admire the lawn in front of Modern One, designed by Charles Jencks, featuring a dramatic serpentine mound, reflected in three crescent shaped ponds, a work entitled Landform. Take a stroll around the sculpture park, with works by artists including Barbara Hepworth, Rachel Whiteread, and Richard Long, among others.
You can also stop by Pig Rock Bothy, installed in 2014, as a temporary venue for talks, performances, and events. You can now visit it as a permanent structure hosting various events, and it is part of a wider network of similar venues across Scotland called ‘The Bothy Project’.
*Charge for some special exhibitions
Find many more curiosities and anecdotes about Edinburgh in our tours around the city.