Scottish National Gallery, the best museum for art lovers in Edinburgh

If you’re interested in art, you definitely shouldn’t miss the Scottish National Gallery while you’re in Edinburgh. This neo-classical building houses art from the Renaissance to the 20th century, and is now the largest fine art collection in Scotland.

Famous artists

You can admire the works of many famous artists inside the National Gallery, both international and Scottish.

Roam the huge galleries on the ground floor to see the works of the Old Masters, including Raphael, Velasquez, Vermeer, Poussin, Van Dyck, and Rubens.

Head upstairs to the first floor if you’d prefer to see the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painting collection, which has pieces by Van Gogh, Monet, Cézanne, Seurat, and Gaugin.

Don’t forget to head down to the basement level too, where you will find the largest collection of Scottish art in the world, including works by famous local artists such as Raeburn, Wilkie, McTaggart, and Ramsay.

Scottish National Gallery

Events & amenities

As well as viewing the stunning artwork, you can enhance your experience in the gallery by joining a guided tour, or even participating in one of the many events hosted there. You can pick from life drawing classes and storytelling sessions, or explore the special interactive IT gallery - check their website for details of upcoming events!

You can also take a break in The Playfair Project, the underground link joining the National Gallery and the Royal Scottish Academy. Here, you will find a gift shop, selling art prints, books, jewellery and fashion; The Scottish Cafe & Restaurant; and an education area and lecture theatre. You can access Princes Street Gardens directly from here too.

Old woman cooking eggs

If you like the Scottish National Gallery, you can also check out the other major galleries in Edinburgh, the Gallery of Modern Art and the Portrait Gallery, which are all owned and run by the same public organisation. Make a day of it by using the free shuttle bus that connects all three!

Useful Information

Opening hours:

Daily from Sep-July, 10am-5pm

Daily in August, 10am-6pm

Entry price:

Free, donations welcome

*£1 voluntary donation requested for Gallery Bus service


You will find the National Gallery at the bottom of The Mound, just off Princes Street. The Gallery is inside the rear of the two buildings there, the front one being the Royal Scottish Academy, an independently funded art institution.

Get directions to the Scottish National Gallery.

Find many more curiosities and anecdotes about Edinburgh in our tours around the city.