United Kingdom

1 Queen Street

Phone: +44 (0)131 624 6200

Scottish National Portrait Gallery

The Scottish National Portrait Gallery is situated in the heart of the New Town at the east end of Queen Street. It provides a unique visual history of Scotland, told through portraits of the figures who shaped it: royals and rebels, poets and philosophers, heroes and villains.

The Scottish National Portrait Gallery was built in the 1880s largely thanks to private generosity. It is an imposing neo-Gothic building in red sandstone, designed by the architect Sir Robert Rowand Anderson. A pageant of Scottish history is displayed in the elaborate scheme of mural and sculptural decoration.

Since the Gallery first opened its doors, the collection has grown steadily to form an unequalled kaleidoscope of Scottish life and history. Among the most famous portraits are Mary, Queen of Scots, who stands in brooding isolation; Allan Ramsay's portrait of the philosopher David Hume; Alexander Nasmyth's portrait of Robert Burns, and Sir Henry Raeburn's Sir Walter Scott.

 Permanent Collection Highlights (1)

 Click on the images to enlarge

Permanent Collection

All the portraits are of Scots, but not all are by Scots. The collection also contains works by great English, European and American masters such as Van Dyck, Gainsborough, Copley, Thorvaldsen, Rodin and Kokoschka, as well as works by Ramsay, Raeburn and many other Scottish artists.
In addition to paintings, the Gallery displays sculptures, miniatures, coins, medallions, drawings, watercolours and houses the Scottish National Photography Collection.


Admission Free

Opening hours

Normal opening hours:
Open daily 10am-5pm. Thursdays until 7pm.

Festive period opening hours:
Closed 25 and 26 December only. Open 1 January from 12noon-5pm.

Getting there

The Scottish National Portrait Gallery is situated at the east end of Queen Street, just off St. Andrew Square and around the corner from the main bus station. Catch the free Galleries' bus, or any bus to St Andrew Square, Princes Street or George Street, or train to Waverley Railway Station and walk five minutes either from Princes Street or Waverley. Metered and multi-storey car parking is available nearby.


The Scottish National Portrait Gallery has excellent facilities for disabled visitors, a shop stocked with exclusive gifts, and a cosy café.

Disabled Access
There is wheelchair access to all parts of the Gallery. There is also a specially adapted toilet and lift.

Within Edinburgh, Artlink runs a service enabling people with disabilities to visit arts venues in the City. If visitors wish to use their services or find out further information, telephone +44 (0)131 229 3555.

Museum internal and external photos (1)

Click on the images to enlarge