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Scotland's Must-See Art Galleries

There are some fantastic art galleries around Scotland, from modern sculpture to beautiful portraits. Here are a few of our favourites.

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art is set in beautiful grounds, just 15 minutes’ walk from Princes Street. The gallery has two buildings with art ranging from Russian cubist sculptures to the work of Picasso.

The McManus

The McManus offers an insight into Dundee’s history, from early issues of comic ‘The Beano’ to behind the scenes tours of the collections unit, which includes birds, butterflies, coins, costumes, fossils and foreign artefacts.

Scottish National Portrait Gallery

The Portrait Gallery is set on Queen Street in Edinburgh and brings together art from past and present - highlights include portraits of Robert Burns and Prince Charles Edward Stuart. 

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

This gallery is in the top three ‘must see’ free to enter visitor attractions in Scotland. The gallery opened in 1901 and houses 22 themed galleries, which have a wide range of displays. Highlights include dinosaurs and prehistoric mammals and an arms and armour collection.

Scottish National Gallery

The Scottish National Gallery sits in the heart of Princes Street Gardens and houses some of the world’s best fine art. Exhibitions include: Scottish art, Eighteenth - Nineteenth century art, Italian Renaissance, Landscape paintings from the Lunde collection, and lots more.

Inverness Museum and Art Gallery

Discover how the highlands are linked with the rest of the world at the Inverness Art Gallery. Local, national and international works feature at the gallery from old master works to contemporary digital arts and crafts.

There are many more museums and galleries across Scotland - you can find many of them listed on the VisitScotland website and the website of Museums and Galleries Scotland.

What are your favourite art galleries that you have visited in Scotland? Share your thoughts and pictures in this thread.


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  • KenMKenM Member ✭✭
    Aberdeen Art Gallery is closed for a major £30m redevelopment and refurbishment from Spring 2015.  Well worth a visit before, the collections of national importance will look even more fantastic when the gallery reopens in winter 2017.

    In the meantime some of the city's art collection can be viewed in exhibitions at Aberdeen Maritime Museum, Drum Castle and at other venues across Britain and Europe.

    Upon re-opening, the Remembrance Hall balcony will have digital exhibitions exploring memories about war and conflict, focusing on people who live or lived in Aberdeen. The Gallery team would love you to contribute memories to help make the gallery reflective, informative, varied and relevant.

    Would you like to share any local Aberdeen stories, photographs, poems, drawings or artefacts relating to times of conflict? If so, the Gallery are collecting digitised versions which may be displayed in the gallery.

    email [email protected] for further details.

  • HammyHammy Member ✭✭
    It looks like there are some amazing exhibitions on in Edinburgh just now. I'm particularly excited for the Surrealism one at the National Gallery of Modern Art.
  • JWGJWG Member ✭✭
    The Pier Arts Center in Stromness in Orkney which has works by artists such as Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicolson, Alfred Wallis, Sylvia Wishart and Stanley Cursiter in its permanent collection.  It also hosts a programme of exhibitions and events all year round.  More more detailed info visit

  • MogMJMRMogMJMR Member ✭✭
    I agree with everything above - the national galleries in Edinburgh are hard to beat outwith London, and the Pier in Orkney is a real hidden gem and truly is world class. 

    Aberdeen Art Gallery is fantastic - and will be even better once restored and reopened as @KenM mentioned above.

    Some other hidden gems are, in my opinion The Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh (adjacent to Waverly  railway station) which is a rare example of an exclusively contemporary art gallery, where the work on display is not for sale.  The gallery aims to make new Scottish and International contemporary art accessible for new audiences and is fantastic - in the past has shown everything from new "traditional" paintings to turner prize winners and everything in between.

    Other regional galleries - Dundee Contemporary Arts and Kirkcaldy Art Gallery in Fire are hidden gems too - very accessible by train and a really varied programme. 
    Based in the Scottish Borders, Aberdeenshire has a special place in my heart.
  • ailsaailsa Member ✭✭
    One of my favourites is Tramway in Glasgow - I've stumbled across a few amazing exhibitions there almost by accident which I love. It's also so easy to get to by train from the city centre, which is great for those of us without a car!

    I also always loved a wander around the Burrell Collection, almost as much for the building as the amazing collection of objects. Sad to see it close in October but it will be exciting to see what it's like when it reopens in 2020. Its location in Pollok Country Park is fantastic too - always nice to see the Highland cows there!
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