Edinburgh’s Best Museum and Gallery Exhibitions 2019-20

Fascinating Edinburgh Museum Exhibitions and Gallery Displays

Edinburgh is full of culture and history, and there is plenty to see and do in our beautiful city. Bursting with museums, art galleries, theatres, attractions and live music venues, there’s something for everyone here. With a collection of Edinburgh museum exhibitions open to the public all year round, you’ll find it hard to choose which one to visit! At Parliament House Hotel, we’re just a short walk to the museums and galleries. Here, you can explore everything from Scottish history, to art and fashion. So, here’s our guide to some of the best museum exhibitions and gallery displays in Edinburgh in 2019 and 2020:


A closeup and side profile view of a fierce Tyrannosaurus Rex figure

One of the exhibitions we’re most excited about won’t be arriving until the 24th January 2020 (running until 4th May 2020). But Tyrannosaurs at the National Museum of Scotland will be the most comprehensive exhibition ever on this infamous dinosaur. Expect cutting edge technology, interactive exhibits and even an augmented reality experience where you can play with life-size dinosaurs. Plus ‘Scotty’, one of the world’s largest, most complete T. Rex skeletons. Entry is free, and this Edinburgh museum is just a 15-minute stroll from Parliament House Hotel.

Arbus, Mapplethorpe and Woodman

If you’re looking for an Edinburgh art gallery that offers something a little different, we recommend the Scottish National Portrait Gallery on Queen Street. This stunning building is home to a huge collection of portraits. But there are always regularly changing exhibitions too. Until 20th October 2019, photography fans can check out Artist Rooms: Self Evidence. The exhibition features portraits from Woodman, Arbus and Mapplethorpe. Entry is free and this is a rare chance to see Diane Arbus’s limited edition portfolio ‘A Box of Ten Photographs’.

Past Lives of Leith

Old gravestones in a burial ground

If you like your history a little murky, this is one of the best Edinburgh museum exhibitions to check out. Before the tram installation in the city centre, an archaeological excavation in Leith in 2009 uncovered almost 400 burials. This is a unique chance to learn about the life and death of Leith’s ordinary inhabitants. It’s running at the Museum of Edinburgh until the 6th October 2019.

The Italian Connection

For those who prefer classical art and sculpture to forensic analysis, the free Italian Connection exhibition at the City Art Centre is a must. Running from 7th September 2019 to 24th May 2020, it explores the bond between Scotland and Italy. Expect oil paintings, sculpture and drawings from artists such as Elizabeth Blackadder and Allan Ramsay.

Victoria Crowe

Art exhibitions in Edinburgh don’t come much better than this one, also at the City Art Centre. Victoria Crowe is one of the country’s most distinguished artists and you can see over 150 paintings from her here, until 13th October 2019.

Charles Piazzi Smyth

The Nelson Monument on Calton Hill in Edinburgh

An icon of Edinburgh, Scottish Astronomer Royal Charles Piazzi Smyth is the subject of this exhibition. Running until 31st December 2019, catch it at the Nelson Monument on Calton Hill. Just around the corner from our hotel. This year marks the bicentenary of Piazza Smith’s birth. As well as an exhibition there’s a fascinating short film about his life as a pioneer of mountain-top astronomy. 

With so many Edinburgh museum exhibitions to choose from, which will you check out first? Many offer free entry. And you can save even more money on your Edinburgh break by booking one of our fantastic special offers for central accommodation in the city.