8 Museums & Galleries for the Art Lover

Sarah Henderson ·January 09, 2024Reading time: 4 minutes

Grab your coat and head out to explore some of Scotland’s art galleries and museums this winter. There’s nothing better than getting inspired in the new year, and Scotland has plenty of changing exhibitions, world class collections and engaging spaces to explore. Here’s our round-up of some of our top spots to visit this season, as well as some temporary exhibitions taking place not to miss! 

  1. Aberdeen Art Gallery Aberdeen

    Looking down on the Sculpture Court at the Aberdeen Art Gallery

    If you’re looking for a free experience in the north east of Scotland, look no further! Open throughout the winter season, Aberdeen Art Gallery is the perfect spot to enjoy some culture in the beautifully refurbished space. The collection spans 700 years of artists, from Henry Raeburn and Claude Money to Joan Eardley and Barbara Hepworth. In addition to their permanent displays, they have a number of great exhibitions to see over the season. The new Celebrating Printmaking at Peacock display is a brilliant showcase of contemporary printmaking, and their Look of Love sculpture exhibition opens at the end of January.  

    Key facilities
    • On Public Transport Route
    • Hearing Loop
    • Level Access
    • Accessible toilets
    • WiFi
    • Cafe or Restaurant
  2. The Great Tapestry of Scotland Galashiels

    The Great Tapestry of Scotland

    A cosy winter day is one of the best times to experience The Great Tapestry of Scotland. Catch an atmospheric, frosty train ride through the rolling countryside of the Scottish Borders and hop off at Galashiels train station, just a short walk from the Tapestry. The impressive building houses individually crafted tapestries which take you through the stories and histories of Scotland in intricate detail. In March 2024, they’ll also be launching their Passion for Paisley exhibition, which puts this world-renowned fabric at the heart of their display. Make sure you complete your visit with a stop off at the Stitchers Café , full of lunch options, cakes and bakes produced locally.  

  3. The City Art Centre Edinburgh

    City Art Centre with Arthur's Seat in background

    © The City of Edinburgh Council

    If you’re an art lover visiting Edinburgh, you’re spoiled for choice with national collections and independent galleries galore. The City Art Centre is handily located right opposite Waverley train station and highlights historic and contemporary Scottish art. Its permanent exhibition boasts around 4,500 pieces of culturally significant artwork, but this season it’s also hosting the Scottish Landscape Awards, which are a must-see. There are accompanying events and talks taking place throughout the exhibition and, best of all, it’s free! Mimi’s Bakehouse, an Edinburgh institution, also runs the café in the gallery, which offers coffee, cake and an all-day brunch menu. 

    Key facilities
    • On Public Transport Route
    • Hearing Loop
    • Accessible Parking Or Drop-off Point
    • Level Access
    • Accessible toilets
    • WiFi
    • Cafe or Restaurant
  4. Pier Arts Centre Stromness, Orkney

    The Pier Arts Centre

    The Pier Arts Centre in Stromness, Orkney, is well worth a visit in the new year. The centre is a partner of Tate and includes pieces by Ben Nicholson, Eva Rothschild and Olafur Eliasson as well as featuring local artists. Best of all, admission is free! If you’re interested in local art and upcoming talent, the Orkney Art Graduates exhibition is running from February-March 2024. 

  5. Dovecot Studios Edinburgh

    Weaving Floor, 2015, Shannon Tofts

    This tapestry studio is ideal for art lovers looking to explore and engage with other mediums and crafts. It's nestled in the heart of the city in an impressive historic building which used to be the Infirmary Street Baths. As well as a great cafe and gift shop stocking local arts and crafts, this winter the studio is opening their exciting new exhibit, Andy Warhol: The Textiles. They also have their Monarchs of the Glen: From Whisky to Wes Anderson exhibition showing until March, which is a fabulous exploration of the continued inspiration of one of Scotland’s most famous paintings.  

    Key facilities
    • Hearing Loop
    • Level Access
    • Accessible toilets
    • WiFi
    • Cafe or Restaurant
  6. The Royal Scottish Academy Edinburgh

    The RSA

    This impressive building at the bottom of the Mound in Edinburgh houses an exceptional collection of Scottish art and architecture from the past 200 years. They host exhibitions and events throughout the year and in January will be unveiling their latest exhibition, Impressions. Entry to the exhibition is free and features an extensive display of Scottish Masters of Printmaking, from historic pieces to more recent prints.  

  7. The Burrell Collection Glasgow

    The Burrell Collection

    The Burrell Collection was named the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2023, so a visit in 2024 is the perfect way to kick off the year for any art lover. Recently refurbished, the Glasgow museum is full of light, open spaces and interesting nooks to explore. The collection includes pieces by Degas, Rodin and Cézanne, as well as some great examples of work by The Glasgow Boys. Set in Pollok Country Park in the south of the city, if you’re looking for a spot to blow away the cobwebs this winter and get inspired, this is it.  

  8. The McManus Dundee

    The Mcmanus Art Gallery and Museum

    The McManus in Dundee has no less than 8 gallery spaces, so there’s plenty to discover for art enthusiasts over the winter season! There’s lots to see and choose from, but make sure to check out a couple of their changing exhibitions as well - Impressed and Making an Impression are two of their current collections which showcase 20th century printmaking and etchings from 1850-1930, respectively.  

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