Scotland is a country that is ripe with historical art, and if you are curious to learn more of it, then there is no better place to visit other than Scotland's very own Scottish national gallery. Here, you can see a whole lot of arts in Scotland, be it from the locals or from the many famous foreign artists.
Scouting Scotland: The Scottish National Gallery
1. The twin porticoes at the main entrance
Porticoes are nothing new, yet many of them are a nice place for you to take a picture of because they look so ancient and photo-worthy. The very first thing that might attract you in this gallery is its two porticoes that greet you once you see the museum. The two porticoes are a place worthy of a look or a picture or two simply because of its grandeur. Nowadays, porticoes are a rarity, with the beautiful ones being even more rarer than the 'ordinary' ones. By looking at the porticoes, you can learn about the 19th-century architecture which Scotland is admittedly a fan of. While these two porticoes are not the only Porticoes that Scotland can boast, they are porticoes that would make for a nice picture on your photo book. Oh, it also got the original name of the museum, so be sure not to miss that.
2. The ionic columns of Playfair
It got a cool name, but it is actually only a collection of columns. Not significant if you are one who travels for leisure, but if you find leisure in learning, then you can definitely give this place a brief look and be done with it. One thing you should know is that Ionic columns were first used by the Greeks. Ionic columns themselves are a proof of the Greek's attention to detail, and Playfair might have created Ionic columns to tell the world of how attentive he was.
3. The Prince's Street garden entrance
Now why would an entrance be put as an attraction? If you have not seen the gallery itself, this might puzzle you. If you have seen pictures of the gallery circa 2004 (when the entrance was built), you will find out what makes the entrance such an attraction. The street garden entrance is not simply a place where you can enter the museum, but it is also a place where you can lounge around. It got tables for you to eat your food and drink your drinks (I do not know about smoking a fag, maybe it has been outlawed) before you enter the gallery. If you got your own food and beverages, make sure to use the place to its fullest extent because bringing a food to the gallery is like telling the world that you are ready to desecrate the arts inside.
4. The gallery
There is no reason why the gallery itself must not be included in here. The Scottish National Gallery is not the best gallery in the world, but it is surely one of the many Scottish points of pride. It got a collection of Scottish, French, Dutch, Italian, and even English paintings in it. Names such as McTaggart, Monet, Raphael, Constable, and Van Gogh decorate the museum exhibitions. If you are such an avid fan of those painters, this place would be worth a visit. If you are more of an Asian painter fan, then this place would disappoint you because there is little about Asian paintings here.
5. The cafes and restaurant
You heard it right, folks. The Scottish National Gallery got its own cafes and restaurants, and they are all worth a visit. Sure they are not a place where you can get your gourmet food, but if you found yourself hungry after a walk by the arts, you can make a full stop at the two cafes and restaurants near the gallery. There are two cafes and restaurants here. The first one being The Scottish Cafe and Restaurant while the second being the Garden Cafe. The first one has been hailed as one of the best places to eat in Scotland while the second one is pretty close to the garden entrance mentioned above. Whichever of your choosing, you would not find disappointment.
How to Get Tickets?
There is no admission fee involved, so you can just walk in and enjoy the view.
How To Get Around?
On foot, obviously. If you want to ride a scooter in, you are free to do so. Just be prepared for the repercussions.
What Should I Wear?
Wear something that is appropriate. Scotland is a pretty secular country, so you can be pretty secular with your clothing as well. Pashmina, tanks tops, hijabs, hot pants, all are fine.
Best Time to Visit
The gallery opens at 10 and will stay open until 5 the afternoon. Visit the gallery at those times, not before nor after.
Will I Need a Guide?
Mostly no. There are descriptions of each painting and those descriptions are all in English. If you hire a Scottish guide, high chance that would not be able to interpret what the guide is saying. No offence to Scotts, but some Scotts can be pretty hard to interpret, even for Englishmen.
How To Get There?
The National Galleries of Scotland, this gallery's very own umbrella organization, gives a bus ride to the three galleries in Edinburgh. Hitch on one if you are planning to ride a bus. You can also go there by train and stop at Waverley Station. You can also use cars, but you need to know that there are only disabled parking spots at the gallery ground. They really want you to take the public transportation it seems.
There is no entrance fee whatsoever to the museum, but when you do visit the place, be sure to follow all the rules and regulations it got. If it tells you not to take pictures of exhibitions, then respect the rule or be thrown out. Do not be obnoxious and the Scotts will not be spiteful of you for it.