Scotland Traveloholic

The Artistic Hidden Gems Day Tour in Edinburgh

When going on holiday, a short weekend trip or visiting Edinburgh in general, it is natural to consider a place that apart from spectacular views can also offer some truly artistic hidden gems! Edinburgh is jam-packed with these if you know where to look.

It is worth seeing something that delight, enchant and encourage to contemplate. It would be ideal to be able to choose from many different options and venues all in one place when planning your trip.

This is exactly what Museums & Galleries of Edinburgh has to offer. The locations include a collection of 13 venues and more than 200 monuments spread all over Edinburgh. 

The art and history of Edinburgh delights, captivates, provokes and inspires, which is why it is worth to get to know and experience it.

That’s why I’d like to introduce you to a tour around the city as well as places that deserve your attention.

Get ready for a solid dose of art!

If you planning to visit Scotland, you should definitely visit Edinburgh first. It is a city filled with history and art, full in amazing museums and galleries. The city itself is a beautiful representation of historical architecture and a tradition deeply rooted in Scottish culture.

Edinburgh is considered by many to be a gateway to the rest of the country so you should visit this place at the very beginning of your travels in Scotland. This will allow you to enter the world of Scotland’s history gently and subtly, as well as explore a thrilling area associated with art.

A tour full of artistic flair

Bright morning at the Artistic City Centre

The City Art Centre

There is nothing better for an artistic soul (we all have it!) than to admire the magnificent works of art. The City Art Centre is located in the very heart of Edinburgh, just across the Waverley Station and will surely make your heart beat faster!

There are more than 4,500 stunning paintings, photos, drawings, prints and sculptures created by the most renowned Scottish artists. Moreover, the place impresses not only with its magnificent interior but also with its intriguing architecture.  

The masterpiece of historical as well as contemporary Scottish art, made for utility and visual purpose will surely delight you right after you pass through the entrance door.

While visiting the City Art Centre, you can also experience inspirational temporary exhibitions that will definitely stay with you for a long time.

Victoria Crowe – 50 years of Painting

When I visited the City Art Centre I have also visited an exhibition dedicated to the work of one of the most outstanding British artists, Victoria Crowe.

This exhibition includes more than 150 magnificent paintings and many other elements related to Victoria Crowe’s life and work. Her paintings delight with vibrant colours and inspire contemplation. This beautiful art collection is worth your time and attention.

I can’t help but mention that if you buy a ticket, you get a 10% discount at Mimi’s Café. The coffee there is delicious and I highly recommend it.

The Writers’ Museum

After seeing the beautiful paintings, it’s time for literature. When it comes to the greatest Scottish writers, Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson should be mentioned in one breath.

And it is to them that the Writers’ Museum is dedicated.

Located in one of the most beautiful buildings behind The Lady Stair’s Close, The Writers’ Museum is home to unique personal items of the writers as well as their portraits, rare books and manuscripts. If you love literature and especially Scottish literature, this place should definitely be on your must-see list.

A glourious afternoon with stunning Monuments

Scott Monument

The Scottish soil has raised many distinguished artists, however, during their listing Sir Walter Scott is unrivalled in the lead. He was a great and famous writer and after his death in 1832, the work on the construction of the monument in his honour began.

It is a huge statue weighing 30 tons, which stands proudly surrounded by remarkable arches. 

You probably have no idea that on the “first floor” in Scott’s Monument, there is a Museum Room. You can not only listen to the works of this great writer but also get to know the interesting history of the creation of this unique monument.

It is also worth to come closer and take a good look at how beautiful this monument looks at any time, during the day or night light. 

There are guided tours every half hour, and it’s awesome way to get to know all the secrets of this remarkable place. The ticket cost £8.

Nelson Monument

Once you’ve visited Scott’s Monument and you’ve got enough energy and time to see something impressive, you can also visit Nelson Monument.

Walking through and then crossing the Princes Street you will easily reach Calton Hill, a beautiful hill that towers over the city.

The road to the top can be tiring (especially after climbing Scott’s Monument), but the panorama which you will discover from the top will amaze you and is certainly worth the effort. 

On top of Calton Hill, there are many other interesting attractions. One of them surely is the Nelson Monument. It is a memorial tower built between 1807 and 1815 in honour of Horatio Nelson, commemorating the victory over the French and Spanish fleets at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

After climbing over 140 steps, the observation deck offers a magnificent panoramic view of the surrounding area. There is also an exhibition dedicated to the astronomical pioneer Charles Piazzi Smyth.


Museums, galleries and monuments, isn’t this the perfect day to spend in the cultural heart of Scotland?

Definitely is!

These places are not only full of great history but also full of fine artistic flair.  

A day spent in museums, galleries and visiting magnificent monuments can definitely be the perfect entertainment for everyone. The Museum and Galleries of Edinburgh also look after other interesting venues such as the Museum of Edinburgh, The People’s Story Museum, The Museum of Childhood and many more.

It’s worth getting to know them all and completely immerse yourself in this wonderful artistic world in a wonderful Edinburgh.


Disclaimer – The post was created in partnership with Museums and Galleries in Edinburgh who supported this trip to the city. All the views and recomendations are my own.

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