A NEW £4.5m gallery and renovation project, atop one of the iconic hills of Edinburgh, is to finally open in November.

A restored City Observatory, designed by William Playfair in 1818, is at the centre of the new Collective Gallery project at the top of Calton Hill.

For the first time in its history, the Observatory will be open to the public.

The Collective have also built a new contemporary art gallery and the location now includes a new restaurant, a notable new building on the edge of the Hill overlooking the north of the city, The Lookout by Gardener's.

The project, which has revamped the interior of the Observatory, has had a much delayed opening - it was initially due to open in the summer.

International and Scotland-based artists, commissioned specially for the opening, will exhibit their work at Collective as part of an inaugural exhibition.

READ MORE: Arts News - New Collective gallery takes shape.

Affinity and Allusion, the first show, will feature the work of artists Dineo Seshee Bopape, James N Hutchinson, Alexandra Laudo, Tessa Lynch, Catherine Payton and Klaus Weber.

Inside the Observatory, the original telescope, installed in 1831, will be on display.

The new contemporary art space is to be called The Hillside, and has been built into the side of the famous hill.

The City Dome, completed in 1895 as a subsidiary to the main Observatory, has been restored and will also be an exhibition space.

The final building to be restored as part of Collective is the Transit House: originally used as an observatory, the building will be used for education sessions.

The original ‘Politician’s Clock’, so-called because it has two faces, will be back on display.

The project has a host of funders, including City of Edinburgh Council, Creative Scotland and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

READ MORE: When Collective laid its foundations

Kate Gray, director of Collective, said: "After more than five years of fundraising and hard work it’s incredibly exciting to be opening our doors to visitors at last.

"Collective is situated in a very special location on Calton Hill and we hope to offer our visitors an equally special experience, combining extraordinary art and architecture with panoramic views of the city.

"We now extend a warm welcome to residents of Edinburgh and visitors to the city and invite them to come up and see us."

Councillor Donald Wilson, culture convener for the City of Edinburgh Council said: "Gazing over the city from the top of Calton Hill, the City Observatory has played an important role in Edinburgh life for hundreds of years.

"Now it is set to become one of the most unique ‘must visit’ destinations in all of the city.

"The building is a historically significant symbol of the Edinburgh Enlightenment as well as a major contributor to the history of star gazing.

"It’s a brilliant example of Scottish architecture – an original Playfair design – and boasts a prominent position on the Edinburgh skyline with panoramic views of the Firth of Forth, Arthur’s Seat and Edinburgh Castle.

"When it reopens, it is also going to be a space for people to enjoy the arts and for the public to visit freely."

Lucy Casot, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund, Scotland, said: "We are delighted to have played a major part in one of Edinburgh’s most significant cultural developments in recent years.

"Thanks to over £1m investment from the National Lottery one of the capital’s most notable historic landmarks located at a famous address is now open to the public for the first time in its long history."

Adam Wilkinson, the director of Edinburgh World Heritage said: "Knowing the historical, architectural and scientific significance of the building, [Collective] first approached us to fund the production of a thorough conservation statement.

"This ensured that sensitive and appropriate repairs and interventions were made.

"Particular highlights for us are the restoration of Playfair’s original 1827 open plan layout for the ground floor, and the conservation of the Transit House.

"We have invested significant funds in the conservation of other monuments on Calton Hill over the last ten years and are pleased to support these works, which form the final piece of the jigsaw.”