National Gallery of Scotland

Scotland's finest art gallery

Most tourist destinations would charge a small fortune for their top art gallery but in Edinburgh, visiting the National Gallery of Scotland is free. There are special art exhibitions for which admission price must be paid but the comprehensive permanent collections are free to visit, to everyone's enjoyment.

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About the Edinburgh's top art gallery

The National Gallery building is located on the street known as the Mound that divides Princes Street Gardens in two. The other building on the Mound is known as the Royal Scottish Academy building where the National Gallery special art exhibitions take place.

The two gallery buildings, originally separate and completed in different time frames are now linked together through the underground Weston Link building with world-class visitor facilities.

The space outside the two art galleries is known as the Mound Precinct and is a popular Edinburgh Festival venue with a host of live acts and open-air events taking place throughout August: magic tricks, live statues, live folk music, crafts stalls and some more major events such as the Film Festival Under The Stars and Painting with Rolf Harris.

Major art exhibitions at the National Gallery of Scotland

The National Gallery has hosted two major exhibitions in 2004 and 2005 bringing it in line with other top attractions in Edinburgh: Monet: The Seine and the Sea and Gauguin's Vision. Both on display for the entire summer, they are well worth the visit especially since the entry price is quite affordable.

Artworks displayed in these exhibitions are not usually included in the permanent art collections although this does include several artworks from these major artists like the Dutch masters and the impressionists. So even if you don't go to the paid exhibition at the National Gallery of Scotland you still have plenty to see in Edinburgh's free art gallery.

Visiting the National Gallery and Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh

There are two access points for the National Gallery of Scotland. One is from Princes Street Gardens via the Weston Link where stairs and lifts are available and via the main entrance on the Mound.

The art gallery is also worth visiting for the building itself as it's quite impressive on the inside.

More National Gallery of Scotland information:

» Back to Princes Street guide index

All Princes Street articles:

  • Edinburgh New Town introduction Overview of the New Town including best places to visit plus tips and advice.
  • Princes Street highlights Visitor information about the shops and attractions on Princes Street.
  • Princes Street Gardens Overview of the most popular green space in Edinburgh.
  • Scott Monument Information about the unmistakable neogothic monument dedicated to Sir Walter Scott.
  • National Gallery of Scotland Information about the top free attraction in Edinburgh and one of the finest art galleries in Britain.
  • Calton Hill While not at the end of Princes Street itself, Calton Hill plays a very big part in the distinctive Edinburgh panorama but also as an excellent viewpoint.
  • Ramsay Gardens Although at the top of the Royal Mile, Ramsay Garden is a distinctive part of Edinburgh's skyline that can be seen from Princes Street.
  • Photos of Edinburgh City Centre Picture gallery of Princes Street, the gardens, Scott Monument, the Balmoral Hotel, Calton Hill and the New Town.
  • Attraction Details - Princes Street Princes Street tourist information including opening times and contact details of the Tourist Centre and attractions on Princes Street and Edinburgh City Centre.
  • Princes Street on the web Links to other web pages related to Princes Street, the Gardens and the heart of Edinburgh.

Also see:

Accommodation near City Centre in Edinburgh

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