Scottish National Gallery
Walking along Princes Street, you’d be hard pressed to miss the Scottish National Gallery. Its impressive buildings sit firmly in the centre of Edinburgh’s literal and cultural heart, nestling in the expanse of Princes Street gardens. According to their website, the museum boasts “some of the greatest art in the world”. It’s not hard to see why. The jewel-coloured rooms are host to artists such as Botticelli, Raphael, Turner, Monet and Van Gogh. In addition, there are ever-rotating exhibition spaces.
Entrance to the main gallery space is completely free, but be aware of accessibility restrictions during their current redevelopment.
Scottish National Portrait Gallery
Tucked away on Queen Street, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery is less well known than its sister museum. The imposing red brick interior gives way to 17 large gallery spaces, showcasing the best of Scottish artists and subjects. If, like me, you’re less of a fan of the Renaissance period, there’s a fantastic collection of modern portraiture. Go before March 10th to catch the successful entries of the BP Portrait Award 2018.
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
The last in the trio of National Galleries Scotland, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art is well worth a visit. Split over two adjacent sites, the gallery is impressive even on approach. Modern One is fronted by a huge ‘landform’, a concentric pond which sweeps upwards. Inside, the galleries contain work from Dada, the Surrealists, and plenty of modern work too.
City Art Centre
Directly opposite the Fruitmarket Gallery lies the City Art Centre. This gallery is all about mixing the historic and contemporary, providing a diverse visit guaranteed to show you some hidden gems. Entrance is free, with a small charge to the exhibitions.
Talbot Rice Gallery
Last but not least is Edinburgh University’s own Talbot Rice gallery. If you want to see upcoming talent showcased, this is the place to find. Find the entrance on West College Street.