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Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Certificate of Excellence
New Town
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Address: 1 Queen Street, Edinburgh EH2 1JD, Scotland
Phone Number: 44 131 624 6200
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Closed 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 1,768 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 999
  • 474
    Very good
  • 89
  • 11
  • 6
Amazing historical portraits in a beautiful setting

A wonderful place to spend a few hours wandering and learning Scottish history and all for free. Start on the second floor with spectacular historical portraits. The personnel are... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed 2 days ago
Steve S
Palm Springs, California, United States
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1,768 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 1,579: English reviews
Palm Springs, California, United States
Level Contributor
298 reviews
131 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 122 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

A wonderful place to spend a few hours wandering and learning Scottish history and all for free. Start on the second floor with spectacular historical portraits. The personnel are knowledgeable and happy to answer questions. Heather spent a great deal of time with us and we felt like it was a private tour. We learned about painting technique and all... More 

Thank Steve S
Central Florida, Florida
Level Contributor
22 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

This gallery was walking distance from our hotel and was on our to do list for Edinburgh because of family history. It's a beautiful facility, with lots of space, and the portraits are displayed very nicely. The collection is a very fine one, representing and spanning centuries of history, and worth seeing. There is no admission charge, but like other... More 

Thank Penny W
Level Contributor
11 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

I visited this gallery in 2013 and it was quite impressive as I suspected it might be, well worth a visit it was of course raining when I visited but then this seems to be the state of Edinburgh for 300 days a year if you get a nice day there are lots of places to visit outside but on... More 

Thank Ericcau
New York, New York, United States
Level Contributor
34 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 5 days ago NEW via mobile

This is a fun place to visit and it won't take long. It's only a couple of levels so it shouldn't take more than an hour or two but it's still worth the visit- even just to see the building itself. Beautiful architecture and a beautiful library. And it's free so no risk or loss :)

Thank Jenny I
Level Contributor
109 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

This is a beautiful building. Worth the visit just to see it. Also go into the reading room that you can often miss. Really good exhibitions are put on here. It has a great cafe with home made food surrounded by great art on the walls

Thank Scottkelly53
Mississauga, Canada
Level Contributor
15 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

Visited this Gallery on my last day in Edinburgh as it was just down the street from the hotel where I was staying and passed by everyday during my time in the city ! Only spent an hour but I did have the chance to see the " must sees ", the portraits of Sir Walter Scott, Robert Burns, Mary... More 

Thank 060155
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 attraction reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

The paintings were very interesting with a great story behind each one. Architecture of the building was amazing. Best of all admission was free.

Thank Stephen S
Lakeland, Florida
Level Contributor
404 reviews
240 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 115 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

They had several galleries with Royal portraits and did a good job telling how they fit into history. One of the special exhibits was a group of photographic portraits of "ordinary people" which I found fascinating. Everything from babies, teenagers, to oldsters with a short bio on each. The gallery building had a great hall. I tried to take pictures,... More 

Thank ImeldaMario
Granada, Spain
Level Contributor
46 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

Interesting exhibition of the Scottish monarchs over the centuries and a very pleasant tea room. There's a lift which helps with access to the upper floors.

Thank Otteraswas
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

I am not big on art, but I loved the National Portrait Gallery where original portraits of Scotland's famous can be seen. Well worth a visit.

Thank Nancy M

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  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?

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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