National Galleries of Scotland Prepares for a Sensational Year of Art for Everyone in 2025

National Galleries of Scotland announces an unmissable programme of free and ticketed exhibitions set to take over the National, Portrait and Modern galleries in Edinburgh throughout 2025. From striking installations in Andy Goldsworthy: Fifty Years to time travelling into The World of King James VI and I, taking to the skies with Alfred Buckham: Daredevil Photographer, a celebration of 250 years of JMW Turner with Turner in January: The Vaughan Bequest from the National Gallery of Ireland and more. There will be a sensational array of art to enjoy in the Scottish capital next year. Ticketed exhibitions can be booked online now What’s on | National Galleries of Scotland 

From 26th July 2024 until 2nd November 2025, immerse yourself in a major large-scale exhibition by Andy Goldsworthy. Andy Goldsworthy: Fifty Years will take over the upper and lower galleries in the Royal Scottish Academy building for the summer. Based in Scotland, Goldsworthy (born 1956) is internationally famous for his extraordinary work with natural materials. The exhibition will span five decades of creation with over 200 works, including photographs, sculptures, and expansive new installations. Goldsworthy will also create several major new works onsite at the Royal Scottish Academy building, especially for Andy Goldsworthy: Fifty Years. This spectacular summer exhibition is sure to be one of the most talked-about of the year, and it is showing only in Edinburgh.  

Next spring at the Portrait, travel back in time and be immersed in The World of King James VI and I. Son of Mary, Queen of Scots, successor to Elizabeth I, and the first monarch to rule over Scotland, England, and Ireland, get to know King James (1566–1625) and step into the world in which he lived, ruled, and changed forever. Marking the 400-year anniversary of King James’s death, this exhibition will chart his remarkable reign through stories of friendship, family, feuds and ambition. Drawing on themes with contemporary relevance, including national identity, queer history, belief and spirituality, The World of King James VI and I will be an enriching journey through the complex life of a King who changed the shape of the United Kingdom. Over 100 objects will be on display, including ornate paintings, dazzling jewels, lavish designs and important loans from galleries across the UK, celebrating craft and visual art from the 16th and 17th centuries. From 26th April to 26th September 2025 come and be fully immersed in the sights, sounds, and even smells of the period, connecting the people of the past with the people of today. Tickets are on sale now.  

In 2025, the National Galleries of Scotland will commemorate the 250th birthday of beloved British artist JMW Turner (1775–1851) with a once-in-a lifetime, free exhibition. For the first time, visitors will be able to marvel at over 30 Turner watercolours from Dublin. Turner in January: The Vaughan Bequest from the National Gallery of Ireland at the Royal Scottish Academy building will be one-off special take on the keenly awaited and much-loved annual tradition. Spanning the breadth of Turner’s career, visitors can roam through sweeping seascapes, dramatic landscapes and spectacular cities, many displayed in their original frames. As part of this special partnership, the Turner works from the Scottish national collection will go on display at the National Gallery of Ireland, allowing visitors in both Scotland and Ireland to connect with works from the Henry Vaughan Bequest they don’t often get to see.  

There will be two new and exciting exhibitions making their way to the Modern in 2025. From next summer, you can explore your collection at Modern One with a series of new displays showcasing magnificent and diverse works of 20th and 21st century art belonging to the people of Scotland. This includes an opportunity to see compelling works from your ARTIST ROOMS collection, cared for jointly by the National Galleries of Scotland and Tate.  Explore this exhibition of the nation’s superb contemporary and modern collection starting 12th July, 2025.  

The centenary of revered Scottish artist Ian Hamilton Finlay (1925–2006) will also be marked by a new free display of his work at Modern Two from 8th March to 26th May 2025. A visionary in his craft, Ian Hamilton Finlay harnessed the power of collaboration throughout his career, drawing on the expertise of fellow makers and creators to bring his artistic visions to life. Hailed as a poet, sculptor, printmaker, gardener, and provocateur, his practice covered a wide range of media, reflected in this display through over 30 sculptures, installations and prints as well as extensive archival materials, all from Scotland’s national collection.    

Moving into the autumn at the Portrait, take to the skies and see the world from above the clouds through the remarkable work of Alfred Buckham: Daredevil Photographer.  A trailblazer in his field, Buckham (1879–1956) soared above the realms of what was thought to be possible in 20th-century photography and aviation. From 18th October 2025 to 19th April 2026, meet the man behind some of the most iconic aerial photographs, marvel at the death-defying lengths he took to capture the perfect image, and explore how his innovative techniques paved the way for modern technologies such as Photoshop and AI.  

Explore the imaginative Your Art World exhibition at the National, showcasing the inspirational new works of young artists from all over Scotland aged 3–18 years old. The exhibition is a celebration of what happens when young people are encouraged to be wildly creative. Discover installations from school and community groups that have worked alongside the National Galleries of Scotland. Or even view the creations of the young people in your own life. With the opportunity to upload artwork online via the website, anyone aged 3–18 can see their own digital submissions on screen in the gallery. Immerse yourself in the imagination of these young artists from 10th May to 2nd November 2025. 

Anne Lyden, director-general at the National Galleries of Scotland, said, “We’re really excited to announce our 2025 public programme, which is packed full of fantastic exhibitions. Breathtaking installations at the Royal Scottish Academy, soaring above the clouds at the Portrait gallery, and modern and contemporary highlights from your national collection at the Moderns. Whether you want to be inspired, find a moment of calm, or share a joyful experience with friends, there’s so much to discover at the National Galleries of Scotland.”