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Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Certificate of Excellence
New Town
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Address: 1 Queen St., Edinburgh EH2 1JB, Scotland
Phone Number:
+44 131 624 6200
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Open now
See all hours
Thu 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Fri - Wed 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Fee: No

Visit one of Edinburgh’s most iconic buildings and explore a fascinating...

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.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 1,858 reviews
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    Very good
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  • 6
BP Exhibition

Surprisingly quiet for a Saturday morning so took advantage of cafe to start with. Decent coffee and scones however choc chip scones beside fruit scones resulted in an unfortunate... read more

4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 3 days ago
Margaret W
via mobile
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1,858 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 1,658: English reviews
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago NEW via mobile

Surprisingly quiet for a Saturday morning so took advantage of cafe to start with. Decent coffee and scones however choc chip scones beside fruit scones resulted in an unfortunate confusion! Exhibition better than last year with some really outstanding works to admire either for technique or simply being beautiful examples of an artists work. Tiny exhibition on Scottish architects through... More 

Thank Margaret W
Level Contributor
27 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

A lovely designed building containing a wealth of portraits that will stimulate all tastes. Many galleries containing collections and exhibitions. Well laid out

Thank Ben P
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
14 reviews
7 attraction reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 days ago NEW via mobile

Museum houses national collections of portraits, most by Scottish artists set in a beautiful Gothic revival building opened in 1896. In addition, this museum holds the Scottish National Photography Collection. Would highly recommend and return.

Thank basdgl
Lancaster, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
25 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago NEW

Worth visiting just for the fantastically beautiful entrance lobby . Quite a compact gallery but well worth a visit, often has interesting exhibitions . Largish cafe..friendly staff.

Thank T W
Merton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
31 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

If you like art in its classic form, this is the place to go. Easy access to all floors. The guides on hand were informative without being snobbish. Good gift shop and cafe too.

Thank GillyJenks
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
220 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

There is lots of fantastic art here. Some of it is not my taste but the section of Modern Portraits is absolutely stunning. It has portraits of many fantastic Scots. Andy Murray, Gavin Hastings, Robert Carlyle, James Macavoy. Really makes you think that there is some great sporting and acting talent in Scotland. Also the Landscape photography bit is also... More 

Thank Kitty8704
Sunderland, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
44 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

We went to see the BP National Portrait Exhibition. Very good indeed. The architecture of the building and the internal decoration are both worth the visit not to mention the fascinating portraiture.This is a quality place; you feel that as the door is opened for you when you arrive. And it has a good cafe. And a good shop.

Thank Barry R
Dayton, OH
Level Contributor
56 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

The building itself is as impressive as the portraits. The portraits and the descriptions help understand Scottish history and the royal lineages. Worth a stop while in Edinburgh.

Thank JandS_8
Bogota, Colombia
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

Dazling place with a lot of great artistic jobs, really calm and a nice atmosphere, happily saw one artist (student/profesional/hobby not sure) taking its time to make its own drawing of one of the sculptures, was a nice to see thing and the guy was really good, I really recommend this place, it won't take you way too much time... More 

Thank Arkano22
Athens, Greece
Level Contributor
126 reviews
59 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Besides the building itself, which is fantastic, with red sandstone, the gallery itself is very interesting, containing fantastic paintings of famous masters. A must see

Thank Pauline96

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Staying in New Town

Neighborhood Profile
New Town
Suits and shopping bags rule the streets of New Town, until after dark when strappy dresses come out to play. This is the city’s central business district with its smaller offices, clothes boutiques, and many of the city’s flashiest restaurants and ritziest clubs. The architecture along roads like George Street helps give it a swank and formal feel: it’s a planned Georgian development of regal townhouses, geometric squares, and self-important statues. But it’s also a very wanderable neighborhood, with a healthy bustle at almost any time of day and fine people-watching in places like St Andrew's Square which fills with picnickers around lunch. You’ll also find a series of cheerful basement bistros on Hanover Street, while dark Rose Street has something of the feel of an undiscovered back alley and is chock-full of characterful pubs and small independent shops.
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