I LOVE seeking out a city’s lesser-known hidden gems, and so I am thrilled to share one that has recently emerged in the heart of Edinburgh. Prepare to be delighted as we step into the enchanting world of the BirdsNest Gallery Meadows, a miniature art haven nestled along the edges of the beautiful Meadows Park.
Picture this: a petite 1930s police box transformed into a captivating art gallery, exuding charm and creativity in every inch. The BirdsNest Meadows is a project born from the vision of its larger (private) sister gallery on Edinburgh St Clerk St. But what makes this gallery truly remarkable? Well, it proudly holds the official title of the smallest gallery in Scotland! I had to go find it immediately.
As an avid explorer of lesser-known treasures in Edinburgh, I have always been drawn to unique and offbeat experiences. The BirdsNest Meadows Gallery perfectly embodies the spirit of discovery and showcases the city’s thriving artistic scene in a compact, yet captivating way. It’s also a unique new use for the old police boxes dotted around the city – most have been re-fitted as coffee stalls and food outlets.
The Bird’s Nest Meadows Gallery History
The BirdsNest Meadows is the brainchild of a passionate group of artists and art enthusiasts. With a deep appreciation for unconventional art spaces, they sought to breathe new life into the humble police box that stood as a nostalgic relic of the past. Through their creativity and determination, this tiny box was transformed into a remarkable gallery space that showcases the works of local and emerging artists.
But the story doesn’t end there. To truly appreciate the significance of The BirdsNest Meadows, we must journey back to its larger sister gallery on Edinburgh’s South Clerk St. This renowned private gallery was founded in 2020 and has been a pillar of the local art scene, curating thought-provoking exhibitions and promoting emerging talents. It serves as the driving force behind The BirdsNest Gallery, providing a platform for artists and sparking creativity within the community.
What’s even more charming is where the gallery got its name: its Founder Natalia found a bird’s nest that was completely intact after falling from a tree in the gallery’s garden. On their website, she cites that “it has served as a symbol ever since of hope and home amidst challenges and suffering.”
Where is Scotland’s Smallest Gallery?
Where do you find this hidden gem? It’s an easy one! On the east side of The Meadows is a block of public toilets, in line with the road that runs as Hope Park Crescent. You’ll find The BirdsNest Meadows Gallery on the pavement where the path enters the park here, opposite Tills Bookshop.
What kind of art is housed in The Bird’s Nest Meadows?
Whether you’re a seasoned art aficionado or simply seeking something different to explore, The BirdsNest Meadows offers up a little slice of creativity for everyone’s tastes. It hosts the works of 5 different Edinburgh-based artists, all hailing from different parts of the globe. It’s my understanding that these artists have rotated in the past, but works currently include pieces by creators from Scotland, Poland, and Taiwan.
You’ll also find beautiful works by retired art teacher, Ken Johnstone, who has spent most of his life creating artwork, teaching, organising venues and exhibitions, and travelling around the world’s main art galleries.
Ken’s enthusiasm for the space is infectious, and he was eager to give me a full tour of the gallery, alongside great background insights into the works on display. He highlighted that they had kept the gallery’s location in mind when selecting works for sale; this area of Edinburgh has a high student population. As a result, as well as larger more expensive pieces, you’ll find charming little postcards and broaches, starting from as little as £6. They make for a unique alternative Edinburgh souvenir, whilst supporting local talent.
More hidden gems in Edinburgh
Remember, the joy of discovery lies in seeking out the lesser-known treasures of a city. The BirdsNest Meadows Gallery is just one of the many enchanting secrets waiting to be unveiled in Edinburgh. If you’re looking for more, you’ll love my blog: Hidden gems of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile: A self-guided tour of things to see