It would be fair to say that the visitor to Edinburgh, famous for its elegant architecture and stunning setting, can satisfy any craving for beautiful things simply by strolling the streets. But the city has even more to offer the aesthetic connoisseur, so why not plan a weekend break that’s all about art?
The city of Edinburgh, its galleries, museums and even restaurants offer such a feast for the eyes that it’s hard to know where to begin. With a vast collection of art dating back to ancient Egyptian times, the National Museum of Scotland seems like the logical place to start an art-themed pilgrimage to the city, however. Then take a leap forward to the 20th century with a visit to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art , which has an outstanding collection of works by Scottish and international artists, including Picasso, Francis Bacon, Andy Warhol, and Lucian Freud, as well as a spectacular outdoor sculpture display. At The Queen’s Gallery , you can enjoy a collection that’s literally fit for royalty, with work collected by the Royal Family through the ages and around the world. Its setting, the striking Palace of Holyroodhouse, is a feast for the eyes too.
After all that serious art appreciation, lighten up with a visit to Camera Obscura. This quirky attraction takes a look at the city and its history through the medium of optical illusion – you’ll pick pedestrians up in your hands, make the traffic climb over paper bridges, and see the world’s most amazing magic tricks and hallucinatory holograms. Then head for the City Art Centre and immerse yourself in six floors of work by Scotland’s most celebrated artists, alongside remarkable international pieces of design, photography and architecture. If this has left you inspired to embrace your own creative side, a visit to Tantallon Studios is a must – you’ll get to try your hand at drawing, painting, and sculpture under the guidance of professional artists. Or browse and buy affordable works of art to take home with you at The Red Door Gallery , a friendly melting pot of work by more than 100 young and emerging local artists.
Admiring art is cerebral work, and sure to leave you hungry! Fortunately Edinburgh is full of great places to eat and drink in surroundings that are as attractive as the food is delicious. The Scottish National Gallery’s Scottish National Café serves breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea, and takes pride in sourcing its organic vegetables, free range chickens and top quality smoked salmon from local suppliers. For dinner, get a dose of full-on gothic glamour at The Witchery , one of Edinburgh’s favourite luxury restaurants. The menu features Isle of Mull crab, Loch Creran oysters, Borders beef and Cairngorm venison, but the real star of the evening is shamelessly decadent décor that’s sure to take your breath away. And if you’re after a suitably design-led bed on which to lay your head for the night, look no further than the fabulous Hotel Missoni , a temple to 21st-century luxury where every detail is daring, bold, beautiful, unique – or all of them. Missoni sheets, bath products and dressing gowns are all part and parcel of the experience, and there’s a sublime spa where you can ease tired eyes and feet after all that art appreciation.