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Scottish National Portrait Gallery

1 Queen St., Edinburgh EH2 1JB, Scotland
44 131 624 6200
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As featured in Edinburgh for free
Ranked #15 of 207 Attractions in Edinburgh
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Type: Art Museums
Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Visit one of Edinburgh’s most iconic buildings and explore a fascinating overview of Scotland past and present though a wealth of imagery encompassing... more » Owner description: 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. « less
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953 reviews from our community

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English first
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 18, 2014 NEW

Really enjoyed the Gallery; the portraits are all labelled and there are plenty of staff to provide any answers. Very clean and welcoming place.

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Glasgow, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
11 attraction reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2014 NEW

This is well worth a return visit as there is such a lot to see and I greatly enjoyed the catering too

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Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Top Contributor
79 reviews 79 reviews
73 attraction reviews
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 14, 2014 NEW via mobile

There are a few stairs up n down to each exhibition room so be aware of this. Just to start with Portrait Galleries are one of my favourite things to go to so I went this place with every expectation to be impressed. You will be happy to hear I was! The John Byrne 'Sitting Duck' exhibition was a treat... More

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Poole, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
7 attraction reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 12, 2014

I had an hour to kill before catching my train, this was an ideal distraction as long as you like portraiture. There is a lot of variation between the galleries, if I visit again I'd happily spend more time here.

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Top Contributor
103 reviews 103 reviews
72 attraction reviews
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2014

A lovely building in New Town with an impressive variety of portraits and exhibitions. Having been to the portrait gallery in London a few days before, I was amazed... I think Edinburgh's is better!

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Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
11 attraction reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2014

I've been to this gallery many times with various different family members. On some occasions we have gone to see the specific presentations that are only on for a few weeks, and other times i have gone to look at the exhibits that stay there. It's a really interesting gallery with each exhibit well thought out. The renovations that have... More

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Washington, DC
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
9 attraction reviews
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2014

This place is beautiful. The mail central hall is just stunning and the portraits are very good. Helps you follow the history of Scotland. It's free which is great. I also timed it perfectly to go on a Thursday when they are open late until 7 pm. Most sites and museums close at 5 or 6 pm.

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Canterbury, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
5 attraction reviews
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2014

My preference is more modern portraits so majority of the exhibitions didn't interest me. A good gallery to mooch around for awhile. unfortunately it was raining so i think they had an influx of student tourists visiting to shelter from the rain. They didn't manage the numbers so well and it became a bit of a rugby scum in the... More

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Worcester
Top Contributor
73 reviews 73 reviews
37 attraction reviews
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 7, 2014

Magnificent combination of portraiture and history. Beautiful building provides the best access and a venue for important images.

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Perth
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
6 attraction reviews
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 7, 2014

It's worth going to this gallery just to see the interior decor - the murals in the main hall are incredible. A lesson in Scottish history, ancient and recent, there's a good mix of permanent collection exhibits and contemporary art - all with a focus on portraiture, of course. A Ruskin exhibition (ticket entry) was showing but I only had... More

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