The best child-friendly art galleries in Central Scotland

The best child-friendly art galleries in Central Scotland

Kids can enjoy an art-themed treasure hunt at Portrait Detectives / Credit: Alicia Bruce

Where to take your art-loving wee ones, including the Burrell Collection, the DCA and Jupiter Artland

Any contemporary art gallery with good accessibility and ideally a decent café and bathrooms is worth a visit with the kids – if only to get some interesting conversations about the art on the go and take advantage of the facilities. Yet many go one step further and programme specific children’s activities, while the location of others make them perfect for a few hours out. Here are some of our top picks of child-friendly art galleries in Central Scotland.

The Burrell Collection
Pollok Country Park, Glasgow
The Burrell For Families and Wee Wednesdays series offer various themed creative activities at various times, and on different days. Plus, it’s in a park so tots can make a break for the outside when they’ve had enough.

Dundee Contemporary Arts
Nethergate, Dundee
Modern, multi-purpose arts venue – it also has a cinema and a well-regarded café / restaurant – which runs Family Art Labs (every Sat, 1–3pm, ages 5+, free) at the weekend. Enjoy mess and creative experimentation in response to the current exhibition.

Gallery of Modern Art
Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow
The CREATE Space of resources and activities (ages 3–11, free) is open throughout the year, while the Saturday Art Club (every Sat, 10.30am–12.30pm, up to age 11, free) features more guided activities for young kids and their families.

Jupiter Artland
Wilkieston, near Edinburgh
Beyond the fact the art’s set in a visually interesting and largely very accessible woodland park, this unique venue hosts workshops and courses for families and young people from pre-school to teenagers. However, it’s only open from May to September.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
Argyle Street, Glasgow
Featuring songs, rhymes and stories inspired by the artwork and animals on display at Toddler Time (every Sun, 11.30am–12.30pm, under-5s, free), and animal-themed songs, stories and activities at RSPB: Tweeting Toddlers (every Tue, 11.30am–noon, under-5s, £3 donation).

Scottish National Gallery
The Mound, Edinburgh
Learn about an exhibit in the Gallery and follow the instructions to make a similar artwork of your own, led by artists Tessa Asquith-Lamb and Louise Fraser at Art Maker (first Sun of the month, 2–4pm, ages 4–12, free).

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art: Modern 1
Belford Road, Edinburgh
Explore the collection and create your own artworks with activity packs given out during Bags of Art (third Sun of the month, 2–4pm, ages 4–12, free).

Scottish National Portrait Gallery
Queen Street, Edinburgh
The hub of kid-friendly art activities in Edinburgh, mainly because of Portrait Detectives (second Sun of the month, 2–4pm, ages 4–12, free), a popular art-themed treasure hunt around the gallery. There’s also a monthly Storytelling session (fourth Sun of the month, 2–4pm, ages 4–12, free), and specially-arranged evening visits as part of The Twilight Zone (ages 5–14, details vary).

Saturday Art Club

Art activities run by a different educator each week relating to the displays, with drawing, collage, sculpture-making and games. Parents can get stuck in too. Ages 3–11.

Burrell For Families

Regular family drop-in session featuring fun activities including storytelling, tours, arts and crafts based on the Burrell's fascinating collections. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Bags of Art

Collect a bag of art activities from the art station, and you and your family can explore the gallery with its help and make your own art. Ages 4–12.

Toddler Time

Take the wee ones along for songs, stories and fun with a different theme inspired by the museum each week. Suitable for under-twos.

Wee Wednesdays

An exciting workshop based on the museum displays. For under 5s and their parents/carers.

Portrait Detectives!

Do the National Galleries a favour by solving some age-old mysteries from Scottish history, the answers to which are contained within some of the fascinating portraits in the gallery. Ages 4–12.

Art Maker

Drop in to the gallery and make your own masterpiece using materials provided. Go four times and you can earn a badge. Ages 4–12.

Tweeting Toddlers

Group for young animal lovers and their guardians. Expect songs, stories and activities, including – if the weather behaves – outside exploring. Suitable for ages 0–3.