Tale of two art galleries

Edinburgh is lucky enough to have two modern art galleries standing just across the road from each other. Both are former schools set in extensive parkland close to the city centre. Both make for great days out. The Gallery of Modern Art, at 75 Belford Road, exhibits works from 1900 to the present day, with a; standing collection featuring works by Francis Bacon, David Hockney, Andy Warhol and Lucian Freud.

It also features works from contemporary artists. Antony Gormley, Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin and Gilbert and George are all represented. Just as pertinent, at least for those visitors with small children, is a good cafe (but expect long queues at lunchtime) and walled garden. The official Gallery line is that no children are allowed to play on the 'installations' in the garden - all too easily mistaken for climbing frames. But the rule is rarely enforced. And most kids amuse themselves by climbing on the sculpture works while their parents rest tired feet and sip coffee. The 'landform' to the front of the Gallery is also worth a special look. The coiled snakes of land and water are landscaped to a design by artist Charles Jencks.

Over the road is the Dean Gallery, home to works from Surrealist artists including Dali, Miro, Ernst, Magritte and Picasso. A giant robot-shaped sculpture by Eduardo Paolozzi dominates the ground floor, fascinating even regular visitors.

The galleries are accessible by bus, or, if you're not in a hurry and fancy a scenic stroll, you can walk from central Edinburgh via the Waters of Leith walkway. The Gallery of Modern Art has free car parking. Entrance to the permanent exhibitions is free - but there is a charge for special shows.

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