Top 10 things to do in Edinburgh this Easter

14 Apr 2022
Top 10 things to do in Edinburgh this Easter
Top 10 things to do in Edinburgh this Easter

Whether you are travelling to Edinburgh for Easter or planning a wonderful staycation, The Gallery has created an Easter guide to give you some ideas and inspiration near and far – all with an eye on art. Discover some of the joys of the old town, including Masterpieces from Buckingham Palace at The Queen's Gallery. Wander further up the Royal Mile to the National Trust for Scotland’s sublime Gladstone’s Land, discover Dunbar's Close; a hidden garden at Canongate or explore Edinburgh’s history through the maze of 16th century buildings at the Museum of Edinburgh. Do not miss Audubon’s Birds of America at the National Museum of Scotland or check out Van Gogh Alive on Festival Square ‘the most visited immersive multi-sensory experience in the world’. The Royal Botanic Garden is always a favourite at Easter, especially the Japanese Gardens and we also recommend their current Forth Lines exhibition. Barbara Hepworth Art & Life has just opened at the National Galleries, which is a major retrospective spanning the artist's entire career. For those wanting to wander a little further out of the city, we recommend Art & Ornament at Dalkeith Palace, or Jupiter Artland, who are all putting on special events and activities this Easter. Get exploring now!

1. Masterpieces from Buckingham Palace

1. Masterpieces from Buckingham Palace brings together over 30 spectacular works by artists including Sir Peter Paul Rubens, Claude Lorrain, Artemisia Gentileschi and Sir Anthony van Dyck. A particular highlight will be four paintings by Rembrandt, the largest group of works by the Dutch artist currently on public display in Scotland.

This exhibition provides an opportunity to view these world-renowned paintings in a modern gallery setting, away from the historic interior of the Picture Gallery at Buckingham Palace. The more intimate display at The Queen’s Gallery gives audiences the chance to encounter each painting close up at eye level. Visitors are invited to consider what makes a ‘masterpiece’, from the artists’ use of materials and composition to their evocation of the real world and the expressive quality of their works.

Book your ticket here

Top 10 things to do in Edinburgh this Easter
Photo: Royal Collections Trust

2. Gladstone's Land

Explore 400 years of Edinburgh's Lawnmarket history on 3 floors throughout one of the city's oldest tenement houses! Gladstone's Land was named after Thomas Gladstone, a merchant who bought and extended the House in the early 1610s. He also introduced the beautiful painted ceilings, which are well-preserved and impressed tenants back then as well as visitors today.

Gladstone’s Land has been a commercial hub for more than 500 years, and food and drink has been at the centre of many of its businesses. From dram shops to dairies, this unassuming tenement has seen it all. The National Trust for Scotland has partnered with Equi to open an ice cream parlour and coffee shop on the ground floor. The brand new café and ice cream parlour is fully accessible and offers a variety of delicious cakes, hot drinks, snacks and ice cream flavours - including a bespoke Sicilian Lemon and Elderflower flavour inspired by a 17th century cookbook - contemporary to the first opening of Gladstone's Land.

Book your tickets here

Top 10 things to do in Edinburgh this Easter
Photo: National Trust for Scotland
Top 10 things to do in Edinburgh this Easter
Photo: National Trust for Scotland

3. Dunbar's Close

Dunbar's Close is a hidden garden just off the Royal Mile and is a recreated 17th-century garden against a church wall. A great place for some fresh air and a break from the hustle and bustle of the city!

Address: 137 Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8BW. Open daily from 7am-4.30pm.

To read more about this beautiful garden please read the Hidden Scotland blog here.

Buy your copy of Hidden Scotland here


Top 10 things to do in Edinburgh this Easter
Top 10 things to do in Edinburgh this Easter

4. Museum of Edinburgh

Discover Edinburgh’s fascinating history through the Museum of Edinburgh’s wide and varied collections. In exploring the Museum’s maze of 16th century buildings, you will see iconic items, beautiful objects and learn fascinating facts and gruesome tales.

This free museum is easy to locate on the historic Royal Mile and with a wide range of stories and objects, this museum has something for young and old, locals and visitors.

Find out more about the Edinburgh Museum here.

Top 10 things to do in Edinburgh this Easter

5. Audubon’s Birds of America at National Museum of Scotland

Learn about the making of Birds of America, one of the world's rarest and most coveted books, in this once-in-a-generation exhibition. Around 1820, naturalist John James Audubon declared his intention to paint every bird species in North America. The result of this ambition was Birds of America, published between 1827 and 1838, and featuring 435 life-size, hand-coloured prints. Discover Edinburgh's integral role in the development of the book and explore the publication’s technical achievement and artistic legacy.

Book your ticket here

6. Van Gogh Live

Van Gogh’s works have been exhibited and admired for over a century – but never like this. Created by Grande Experiences, Van Gogh Alive gives visitors the unique opportunity to immerse themselves into Van Gogh’s artistry and truly venture into his world.

Book your tickets here

7. The Royal Botanic Garden - Forth Lines exhibition

Explore the shoreline of the Firth of Forth through the eyes of the people who live and work around it at The Royal Botanic Garden in their exhibition Forth Lines. Over the past year, people from Edinburgh, Fife and East Lothian have come together to create an illustrated story through 184 pieces of crafted calico. Each square relates to a specific square kilometre of coastline, capturing a vision of its unique natural and cultural heritage.

Book tickets here

Top 10 things to do in Edinburgh this Easter
Forth Line exhibition
Top 10 things to do in Edinburgh this Easter
Daffodils at the Royal Botanics Edinburgh

8. Barbara Hepworth - Art & Life at The National Galleries of Scotland

Barbara Hepworth: Art & Life is a major retrospective. It spans the artist’s entire career charting the development of her practice, her engagement with political and societal change, and the events in her personal life which shaped her work. It features more than 120 works, borrowed from public and private collections, including renowned sculptures and rarely seen drawings and paintings.

Book your tickets here

9. Art & Ornament at Dalkeith Palace

Art & Ornament is a collaboration with Master Carvers’ Association and friends, to commemorate and celebrate the legendary Baroque Master, Grinling Gibbons. Over 40 Artists and Makers from all over Britain will be exhibiting to complement the marble overmantel located in Dalkeith Palace – Neptune Summoning Galatea – which was commissioned for The Palace from Gibbons by Anna Buccleuch in 1701. A selection of work will be available for sale, including work from The Gallery's own presentation of paintings and prints by Victoria Crowe from Venice and Italy.

Book your tickets here

Top 10 things to do in Edinburgh this Easter
Photo: Dalkeith Palace
Top 10 things to do in Edinburgh this Easter
Victoria Crowe, Richer Twilight, Venice, tapestry

10. Jupiter Artland

Jupiter Artland is open for five days over the Easter period with a packed schedule of family-friendly activities, magical story telling and performers as well as a reconnect trail and a pop-up spring shop that is full of Easter treats.

Friends of Jupiter Artland enjoy exclusive access on Thursday 14 April and Friday 15 April. General public can book tickets for Saturday, Sunday and Easter Monday.

Book your tickets here.

Top 10 things to do in Edinburgh this Easter
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