Art Gallery

People travel far and wide to visit the Aberdeen Art Gallery. With its unique decor inside and out, it’s a big attraction for the city.

Built in 1885, the Art gallery remains one of Aberdeen’s prize possessions. With over 250,000 visits are year, it’s a popular destination for tourists and locals to spend time.

The Gallery was closed from 2015 to November 2019 for a huge renovation project. Initially projected to be completed in 2017, the project was delayed by two years. The reason being was the older building, there was more complexity found. Frustrated councillor Alex Nicoll said at the time, “I wonder if the next public art installation in Aberdeen will just be a pile of burning cash.”

In 1967 the Gallery was classed as a listed building. Meaning it’s protected from any further development without strict procedures.

It was described as a “Once in a lifetime renovation”. There is now a fabulous roof terrace which is a great addition to the Gallery. The work cost £36.64 million and was funded by Aberdeen Council and National Lottery money. Feedback and all surveys came back incredibly positively, and the work is seen as a huge success. Even to the extent that in 2020 the Gallery won the Art Fund Museum award, which is the most coveted title for museums anywhere in the world. Previous winners include the Science Museum of London and Towner Eastbourne. Alongside some prestigious company indeed. Quite an accolade for an outstanding building and contents.

Aberdeen is known as the Granite City, and inside, you are met with an open room with granite columns. The rock is taken from local quarries as well as granite from outside in Aberdeen. The different coloured granite is a welcome sight and leads you into the main hall. On the floor, there is an impressive black and white blocked marble floor. Above there is a balcony that looks down into the first room. Along the walls of the balcony are many of the famous works that the museum shows. It’s a stunning setting for any art with a rounded roof.

Just past the Gallery entrance on the west side is a significant war memorial that commemorates soldiers from World War 1, World War 2, as well as conflicts after the second world war, 1945 and later.

Cowdry Hall, which is adjoined to the main Art Gallery building, is a large space that is used for musical events and other performances. It was opened by King George V in 1925.

With such exquisite build and contents, you may expect to pay a high entry fee? Well, the cost is accessible to all. Luckily the museum is funded by the Museum fund and Aberdeen Council. If you are in Aberdeen, this is one of the best places to visit, even for a short stay. At the price of free, you have no excuses!

Next: His Majesty’s Theatre