Categories > Guides and Tips

Top 15 Edinburgh Art Galleries That'll Make You Say, 'Aye Can't Believe It

Top 15 Edinburgh Art Galleries That’ll Make You Say, ‘Aye Can’t Believe It!’

Hey, so you know how sometimes you plan to hit up all the “must-visit” tourist spots and end up standing in line longer than you’d queue for a deep-fried Mars bar at the Edinburgh Festival? Yep, travelling can sometimes rip the tartan right off your kilt!

But here’s a cheeky tip: Edinburgh’s art galleries are like the silent disco of the city: massively entertaining, slightly under the radar, and something you can’t help but enjoy. 

So, hear me out and check out our top picks—trust me, the only standing in line you’ll be doing is for a pint after soaking in all that art.

National Galleries of Scotland: Portrait 


Address: 1 Queen St.

Contact details: +44 131 624 6200

Operating hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 10 AM to 5 PM

The Portrait Gallery isn’t your ordinary gallery; it’s like stepping into a living history book of Scotland, but through portraits. They’ve got everyone from historical big shots to the latest cultural icons on their walls.

The exhibitions change now and then, keeping things fresh, so even if you’ve been before, there’s always something new to see. 

Plus, the building itself is an absolute stunner—gothic architecture that’ll have you snapping photos before you even step inside.

Pro tip: Try to swing by when they’ve got a guided tour happening. It’s free, and you’ll get insights and stories you’d miss on your own.

Also, the Cafe Portrait is a hidden gem for coffee or a bite, so definitely check that out.

City Art Centre 

Media credit: willthos


Address: 2 Market St.

Contact details: +44 131 529 3993

Operating hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 10 AM to 5 PM

The City Art Centre is (legit) a treasure chest of Scottish art. It’s got this laid-back vibe that makes exploring its floors super enjoyable. 

They rotate their exhibitions based on their massive collection, so you get this brilliant mix of old and new, from fine art to photography and everything in between. One of the cool things about this place is how committed they are to showcasing local talent. 

Plus, they often have interactive exhibits or activities, which really pull you into the experience more than just eyeballing the artwork.

Pro tip: Make sure you keep an eye on their calendar for their workshops, which are a blast, even if you’re not the next Van Gogh. And, best to visit during the week if you can; it’s quieter then.

National Galleries of Scotland: Modern One 


Address: 75 Belford Rd.

Contact details: +44 131 624 6200

Operating hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 10 AM to 5 PM

Modern One at Belford Road is where it’s at if you love contemporary art. The space is massive and surrounded by these serene, beautiful gardens that are artworks in themselves.

Inside, it’s all about the modern and contemporary vibes. They’ve got everything from surreal sculptures to abstract paintings that make you ponder life.

And the layout makes you feel like you’re discovering something secret and new around every corner.

Pro tip: Don’t skip the garden sculptures and the gallery’s café, which is a great spot to chill with a view of the Water of Leith. If you’re visiting in the summer, the gallery hosts incredible outdoor concerts and events.



Address: 45 Market St.

Contact details: +44 131 225 2383

Operating hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 9 AM to 6 PM

Fruitmarket is not huge, but it’s a real gem for contemporary art lovers. They showcase local and international artists, so there’s always something fresh and interesting to see.

Now, the space itself is pretty cool. They’ve got a bookshop packed with artsy finds and a café that’s perfect for a cuppa after soaking in all that culture.

Moreover, the talks and workshops here are super engaging; you can get to know the brains behind the art, you know?

Pro tip: Before heading to Fruitmarket, make sure to peek at their website. Their calendar is jam-packed with upcoming events you won’t want to miss! 

Jupiter Artland 


Address: The Steadings, Bonnington House, Wilkieston

Contact details: +44 1506 889900

Operating hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 10 AM to 5 PM

Jupiter Artland isn’t just another gallery; it’s an adventure in Wilkieston. This place is all outdoors in a sprawling woodland and garden setting, filled with jaw-dropping sculptures and installations.

It’s like walking through a fairy tale, but instead of fairies, you’ve got epic art pieces that pop up when you least expect them. Every visit feels different because the natural setting changes with the seasons.

It’s hands-on too, with plenty of pieces you can interact with, which is pretty rare and super cool for an art space.

Pro tip: Make sure you wear comfy shoes because you’ll be doing a lot of walking. Also, check their calendar for workshops and outdoor performances.



Address: 1 Summerhall, Newington

Contact details: +44 131 560 1580

Operating hours: 

  • Sunday to Thursday – 12 PM to 12 AM
  • Friday and Saturday – 12 PM to 1 AM

Summerhall used to be a vet school, of all things, but now it’s where the art vibes are. Here, you’ve got everything from contemporary art exhibitions to live music and theatre performances.

The place is a maze of creativity; one minute you could be staring at the latest visual art piece, and the next, you’re sipping on a craft beer at their onsite bar, all while planning which fringe festival show to catch next.

Their art stuff really spans the gamut, offering everything from cutting-edge digital art to classic paintings. Artists, musicians, locals, tourists—everyone’s mingling and sharing in this big creative melting pot.

Pro tip: Definitely check out their event calendar before you go. Summerhall is always buzzing with something cool, and you wouldn’t want to miss out, especially during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.



Address: City Observatory, 38 Carlton Hill

Contact details: +44 131 556 1264

Operating hours: 

  • Wednesday to Sunday – 10 AM to 5 PM

Now, if you’re up for a bit of a walk, heading up to Collective on Calton Hill is worth every step. They’ve got this unique set-up at the City Observatory site, blending art, history, and stunning views of Edinburgh all into one.

Collective is all about contemporary art, showcasing some seriously thought-provoking stuff from both local and international artists. And, because of the location, you get this blend of exploring art while taking in the city from a vantage point.

Plus, the architecture of the observatory and the surrounding buildings adds an extra layer of coolness to the whole experience.

Pro tip: Don’t forget to grab a bite at the Collective’s panoramic restaurant – The Lookout by Gardener’s Cottage. 

And mornings are less crowded, so you get Calton Hill pretty much to yourself, along with some prime ‘gram-worthy pics without the masses.



Address: 23 Cockburn St.

Contact details: +44 131 622 6200

Operating hours: 

  • Tuesday to Saturday – 11 AM to 5 PM

Stills is a compact gem in the world of photography galleries, offering everything from traditional prints to experimental photo-based art. 

What’s cool about Stills is that they’re super dedicated to the medium of photography, providing resources, workshops, and courses for anyone interested in upping their photo game.

The exhibitions are always top-tier, showcasing a diverse range of photographic work that’s both intriguing and enlightening. Plus, they have a library packed with photography books that you can flip through.

Pro tip: Make sure you keep an eye out for their workshops. Whether you’re a seasoned photographer or just starting, learning something new in such a cool environment is super rewarding.

Plus, popping in during the week usually means you get a more relaxed vibe to take it all in.


Address: 33 Barony St.

Contact details: +44 131 556 4441

Operating hours: 

  • Wednesday to Saturday – 11 AM to 5 PM

Ingleby Gallery is a sleek space that’s all about contemporary art. It represents a mix of established and emerging artists, so there’s always something fresh and exciting on display.

The gallery itself is in this cool, airy building that’s the perfect backdrop for letting the art shine. Furthermore, the staff know their stuff, and they’re always up for a chat about the pieces or the artists.

Pro tip: They often have openings and artist talks, which are amazing opportunities to get insight into the art and meet the artists themselves. Also, because it’s a bit off the main tourist path, it never feels too crowded.


Address: Palace of Holyrood, Canongate The Royal Mile

Contact details: +44 303 123 7306

Operating hours: 

  • Monday, Thursday to Sunday – 9:30 AM to 6 PM

Tucked away in the Palace of Holyroodhouse is the King’s Gallery, and let me tell you, it’s as regal as it sounds. The pieces here range from the old masters to more contemporary works, all with that royal seal of approval.

The setting of The King’s Gallery adds so much to the experience. I mean, you’re basically wandering through royal chambers, viewing art that’s been admired by queens and kings.

Plus, the rest of Holyroodhouse is just as breathtaking, making for a pretty splendid art-filled day out.

Pro tip: Since it’s part of the palace, buying your ticket online in advance is a smart move to skip those gnarly lines. And, if you can, check for any special exhibitions and creative courses on offer.

Edinburgh Printmakers 


Address: Castle Mills, 1 Dundee St.

Contact details: +44 131 557 2479

Operating hours: 

  • Wednesday to Saturday – 10 AM to 6 PM

Nestled in what used to be a historic mill, Edinburgh Printmakers has transformed into a buzzing centre of creativity. They regularly churn out exhibitions that showcase everything from screen prints to etchings and every print form in between.

What’s cool about them is that they’re also a workshop space. This means not only do you get to see art, but you can also watch artists in the thick of creation, sometimes even getting your hands dirty with some ink.

Pro tip: Hitting the gallery shop on your way out is a must; it’s stocked with unique prints that can add a touch of art to your living space.



Address: 3ly, 10B Broughton St. Ln.

Contact details: [email protected] 

Operating hours: 

  • Friday and Saturday – 12 PM to 6 PM 

The Embassy Gallery should definitely be on your radar if you’re into cutting-edge contemporary art. Tucked away in an alley, it’s run by artists themselves, which gives it a fresh and raw vibe.

They’re big on emerging talent, so visiting here means you often catch innovative work before it hits the mainstream. The exhibitions are always super dynamic, ranging from multimedia installations to experimental paintings that challenge the norm.

Moreover, they host a ton of events like performance nights and artist-led discussions, which aren’t just passive experiences; they invite you to get into debates, share opinions, and engage directly with the art and artists.

Pro tip: Remember to keep an eye out for their late-night openings and finissage (that’s fancy talk for closing parties). They’re not just fun; they are a fantastic way to experience art in a more social, less formal setting.


Address: University of Edinburgh, South Bridge

Contact details: +44 131 650 2210

Operating hours: 

  • Tuesday to Saturday – 10 AM to 5 PM

Set inside the historical University of Edinburgh, the Talbot Rice Gallery is a cultural treasure trove. They mix it up with both contemporary and historical art, hosted against a backdrop loaded with character and history.

Their shows tend to be smart and thought-provoking, often curated around hot-button topics that get you thinking well after you’ve left the gallery. So alongside modern exhibitions, you also get to peek into collections that have deep historical significance.

Pro tip: Try to catch their guided tours, which are led by knowledgeable curators who really dive deep into the context of the exhibitions, which can totally enhance your visit.


Address: 298 Portobello High St, 

Contact details: +44 7835 813689

Operating hours: 

  • Wednesday to Sunday – 10 AM to 5 PM

The Velvet Easel Gallery feels like a coastal retreat packed with art. They feature a plethora of works, ranging from paintings and sculptures to ceramics and jewellery.

It’s all very bright and uplifting—exactly what you’d expect from a seaside gallery. The revolving exhibitions mean every visit could offer something different, always punctuated by works from local and national artists.

Plus, the space itself is intimate, and decorated in a way that makes you feel like you’re walking through a rich, vivid art book.

Pro tip: Try to plan your visit during one of their seasonal openings, where they launch new exhibitions—these are often lively events with a lot of the featured artists present.


Address: 34 Abercromby Pl.

Contact details: [email protected] 

Operating hours: 

  • Tuesday to Friday – 11 AM to 5 PM
  • Saturday – 11 AM to 4 PM

The Open Eye Gallery specializes in contemporary and twentieth-century Scottish art and showcases an incredible range of pieces. From paintings and sculptures to jewellery and crafts, they cover a wide spectrum, all rooted in deep Scottish tradition.

What’s really cool is how they have this main gallery space and then this smaller room called ‘The Annex’ where they spotlight new talent. It’s kind of like getting a peek into the future of art!

Pro tip: Don’t forget to check out their website before visiting. It’s your golden ticket to discover the latest exhibitions and events on their horizon. 

Also, visiting during the week is a smart move, as it’s typically quieter, giving you a more serene viewing experience.

Related topics