The Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse

Anusuya Mukherjee
Jan 19, 2022 By Anusuya Mukherjee
Originally Published on Oct 07, 2021
A painting from the Eastern Encounters exhibition at The Queen’s Gallery, Edinburgh.

  • Combine a trip to the Queen’s Gallery with a visit to Queen Elizabeth II's official royal residence in Scotland, the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
  • Delve into the wonderful changing art exhibitions from the Royal Collection, which is one of the largest and most important art collections in the world.
  • The Gallery was opened by The Queen on 29 November 2002 as part of the celebrations for the Golden Jubilee.
  • Get special insights into the exhibitions with a free interactive multimedia guide, which lasts approximately an hour.

Enjoy a royal day out with your family to the Queen’s Gallery in Holyrood Palace at the end of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile in historic Scotland. Appreciate the brilliant changing exhibitions of artwork from the Royal Collection, which have been carefully chosen by monarchs over the past 500 years.

The Queen’s Gallery typically displays some of the finest portraits and paintings, drawings, photographs, manuscripts, ceramics, rare furniture, jewellery, sculptures and textiles. Exhibitions have included works by Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci and the famous Russian jeweller, Carl Fabergé.

A purpose-built art gallery, the Queen’s Gallery is located at the entrance to the palace and opposite the Scottish Parliament and is built in the shell of two former Victorian buildings, the preceding Holyrood Free Church and Duchess of Gordon’s School.

Built in the 1840s by the Duchess of Gordon, the buildings have not been used since the late 19th century. Forming part of the Holyrood Palace, plans for the new Queen’s Gallery in Edinburgh started in October 1999 with the desire of keeping the original 19th-century architecture with an architectural design by Ben Tindall Architects.

This Edinburgh gallery was eventually opened in 2002 by The Queen to celebrate her Golden Jubilee.

After you've admired the art, take a browse of the venue's shop, which features a vast range of gifts inspired by the royal palaces and works of art in the Royal Collection, including kids’ toys, homeware, books and jewellery.

While you're in Edinburgh, extend your Queen’s Gallery visit and explore the rest of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, which you will need other tickets for. Originally founded as a monastery in 1128, the palace was rebuilt between 1671 and 1679 as an elegant Renaissance palace designed by architect Sir William Bruce.

As well as the Queen’s Gallery and Holyrood Palace, whilst you are visiting Edinburgh be sure to visit Edinburgh Castle, the Gatehouse and the Great Hall, all of which are located on the Royal Mile.

What to know before you go

  • Pick up a complimentary multimedia guide, which is available in English, and discover everything there is to know about the Queen’s Gallery. It includes commentary from experts and lasts approximately one hour. We recommend you bring your own headphones.
  • Family-friendly Café at the Palace serves simple homemade food, including soups, salads, sandwiches, speciality breads and homemade cakes. Why not drop in for afternoon tea, which is served daily? There’s even a special children’s afternoon tea!
  • There’s a great variety of family friendly restaurants in Edinburgh. Wedgewood The Restaurant in Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile serves seasonal Scottish cuisine and although they don’t have a kids’ menu, they are happy to make a selection of dishes especially for children if requested. High chairs are also available.
  • Eating or drinking is not permitted inside the Gallery.
  • You are not permitted to take photographs or film whilst inside the Gallery. Mobile phones must be switched off in consideration for other visitors.
  • The Queen’s Galley is fully accessible. Accessible toilets can be found in the Gallery and the Café at the Palace.
  • Baby-changing facilities are located in the Café at the Palace.
  • Buggies can be taken inside the Gallery, except during busy periods where there will be a dedicated area to leave them.
  • Baby carriers and hip seats are available.
  • Breastfeeding is welcome anywhere in the Queen’s Gallery.
  • Expect security checks as you enter the Gallery.
  • Before you leave, make sure you ask a warden to stamp your entry ticket and convert it into a one-year-pass!

Getting there

  • The Queen’s Gallery is situated at the entrance of the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
  • Edinburgh Waverley station is a 15-minute walk. You can travel from London Kings Cross to Edinburgh in four hours on the fastest route.
  • York Place tram stop is a 20-minute walk away.
  • Bus routes 6, 35, 253, X18, X24 and X38 all stop near the Gallery. Open-top tour buses also stop nearby.
  • If you are driving to Edinburgh, the Broad Pavement car park is next to the Queen’s Gallery at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. There are accessible spaces located on Horse Wynd outside the palace.

United Kingdom City of Edinburgh Edinburgh Scotland

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A painting from the Eastern Encounters exhibition at The Queen’s Gallery, Edinburgh.

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Written by Anusuya Mukherjee

Bachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

Anusuya Mukherjee picture

Anusuya MukherjeeBachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

With a wealth of international experience spanning Europe, Africa, North America, and the Middle East, Anusuya brings a unique perspective to her work as a Content Assistant and Content Updating Coordinator. She holds a law degree from India and has practiced law in India and Kuwait. Anusuya is a fan of rap music and enjoys a good cup of coffee in her free time. Currently, she is working on her novel, "Mr. Ivory Merchant".

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A painting from the Eastern Encounters exhibition at The Queen’s Gallery, Edinburgh.

The Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse