Scottish National Gallery is home to a massive assembly of Scottish fine-art pieces and some international pieces. Some of the works on display date back to the Renaissance, with the most recent pieces dating back to the early 20th century. Many of the items were transferred from the Royal Scottish Academy, including iconic works by Van Dyck, Giambattista Tiepolo and Jacopo Bassano.

    When you step inside to the main floor, the first thing you'll probably notice is the large-scale canvas works. The 'Alexander III of Scotland Rescued from the Fury of a Stag' painting, for example, stretches approximately 3.5 by 5 metres in size. You'll also find one of the sculptures of The Three Graces crafted by Antonio Canova. That's just the main ground floor, so you can expect even more wonders waiting further inside.

    Scottish National Gallery highlights

    Within the Scottish National Gallery are several world-famous key works of art, which cements this museum as a must-visit destination for art lovers from all over the world. You'll find 2 works from Gian Lorenzo Bernini, 'Carlo Antonio dal Pozzo' and 'Design for a Papal Monument'. You can also see the 'Virgin Adoring the Sleeping Christ Child' by Sandro Boticelli, a late 15th-century work made with tempera and gold on linen.

    The museum houses more recent works as well, including several pieces by well-known British artists like Henry Raeburn and John Constable. You'll even find 'Niagara Falls, from the American Side' painted by American artist Frederic Edwin Church in the 19th century. Of course, Scottish greats like David Allan, David Young Cameron and William Dyce have a serious presence here, and you'll also see works from  Da Vinci, Monet and van Gogh.

    History of the Scottish National Gallery

    The Scottish National Gallery dates back to the early 19th century when its founding organisation, The Royal Scottish Academy, began. They began collecting works but wanted a specialised building to display them rather than renting space in the Royal Institution Building. To that end, William Playfair was ordered to design the Scottish National Gallery building, and the groundwork was laid in 1850.

    Originally, the premises were going to be split in half with 1 side showing the displays of the Royal Scottish Academy and the other half showcasing works gathered by the National Gallery of Scotland, but the RSA relocated to the Royal Institution Building in 1912. In 2004, the 2 buildings were connected by an underground passage, which you can visit today and easily explore both the Scottish National Gallery and the Royal Scottish Academy Building.

    Good to know when visiting the Scottish National Gallery

    The Scottish National Gallery is free to visit, although some temporary special exhibitions may have an entrance fee. You can enjoy lunch onsite, as the gallery features the award-winning Scottish Cafe & Restaurant, which is known for its locally sourced ingredients and traditional recipes.

    While you're in the area, you'll find yourself just a short walk away from iconic Edinburgh Castle and the National Museum of Scotland. You can also enjoy some time outside, as the gallery is located right next to the Princes Street Gardens, a vibrant green space with numerous walking paths to enjoy. No matter where you are in town, the gallery is easy to access since it's just a short walk from Edinburgh Waverley train station.

    Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh

    Location: The Mound, Edinburgh EH2 2EL, UK

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1316 246200

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