Official Guide to Edinburgh


Edinburgh is full of fascinating museums and exhibitions that cover every area of interest that you could possibly imagine. Whether you are into science, medicine, world culture, history, economics or even teddy bears, there will be a museum in Edinburgh that will be right up your street. Read on to discover some of our favourites... 

National Museum of Scotland

National Museum Scotland Dino

Chambers Street, Edinburgh EH1 1JF (website)
Open 10am until 5pm daily 
Free to enter, donations welcome

Arguably Edinburgh's largest and busiest museum, the National Museum of Scotland has a range of exhibits from around the world, showcasing the Natural World, World Cultures and Scottish History and Archeology. 

Before you explore the exhibits on display, take a moment to take in the striking architecture of the Grand Gallery, a beautiful example of Victorian design with soaring high pillars, large windows and a magnificent glass ceiling that floors the gallery with light. From here you can walk through to the more contemporary Museum of Scotland building, dedicated to telling Scotland's story through fascinating displays and artifacts. 

Top Tip 1: Make the most of your trip by taking a free guided tour. The museum runs a programme of free tours which run most days, including general overview of the exhibits to get your bearings, as well as specialist tours to help you develop an in depth understanding of the many exhibitions on display. Check out the website for the latest schedule. 

Top Tip 2: If the weather is good, make sure you take the trip up to level 7 of the Museum of Scotland building and explore the rooftop terrace for a breathtaking panoramic view of the city. 

Museum of Edinburgh

Museum Of Edinburgh Courtyard

Huntly House, 142 Canongate, Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH8 8DD (website)
Open 10am until 5pm Monday to Saturday, and 12noon until 5pm on Sundays during August
Free to enter, donations welcome

Found in the iconic bright yellow Huntly House, The Museum of Edinburgh is a must-visit for anyone who wants to discover the story of our city. Take a look at the collar which once belonged to Greyfriar's Bobby, see James Craig's original plans of the New Town, get lost in a spectacular collection of silver and read the historically significant National Covenant. 

There's also plenty to keep the kid's amused, with a fantastic dressing-up area and free to use arts and crafts zone. 

Top Tip: Make your way to through to the back the museum and discover the secret outdoor courtyard. Recently reopened in 2015, this quiet and charming space features some fascinating artifacts which date back as far as the 16th century. 

Surgeons' Hall Museums

Surgeons Hall

Nicolson Street, Edinburgh EH8 9DW
Open 10am to 5pm daily
Adult: £6, Students, NHS staff and children under 16: £3.50, unders 5's go free.

If you are fascinated by the wonders of the human body, this museum is a must-visit. Owned by The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, Surgeons' Hall Museums consist of the Wohl Pathology Museum, the History of Surgery Museum and The Dental Collection. The museums reopened in 2015 after an extensive refurbishment, making the collections more engaging and accessible than ever before. 

The Wohl Pathology Museum is one of the largest collections of pathological anatomy in the world, with rows of cabinets filled with well preserved specimens that give a fascinating insight into the human body. Go across the hall to The History of Surgery Museum and explore Edinburgh's significant contribution to surgical practice across the globe, including some of the more grisly details (keep an eye out for the pocketbook which is said to be made out of the skin of bodysnatcher William Burke), and learn about dentistry through the ages in The Dental Collection. 

Museum of Childhood

Museum Of Childhood Interior

42 High Street, Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 1TG
Open 10am to 5pm Monday to Saturday, 12noon to 5pm Sunday
Free to enter, donations welcome 

Explore the first museum in the world dedicated to the history of childhood. There are is a wealth of intriguing objects from childhoods past on display, with a collection including everything from games to clothing and covering many aspects of childhood in days gone by. With a chance to reflect upon the changing faces of childhood throughout the years, this is a treat for visitors both young and old, and a firm favourite with many Edinburgh residents. 

Top Tip: Take some spare change and pop a coin into the penny machines in the welcome hall and watch some of the exhibits come to life! 

Museum on the Mound


The Mound, Edinburgh EH1 1YZ
Open 10am to 5pm Tuesday to Friday, 1pm to 5pm Saturday to Sunday and bank holiday Mondays
Free to enter

Take a fresh look at money in the Museum on the Mound. Located in the beautiful iconic building of the Lloyds Banking Group headquarters on The Mound, this museum gives a fascinating insight into the world of economics and money. Have a go at cracking open a safe, see Scotland's oldest banknote and get an idea of what one million pounds actually looks like. 

Unfortunately they don't give away free samples, but this is still a fantastic day out for anyone who has an obsession with coins, notes, and everything in between. 

The People's Story

Peoples Story Sign

Canongate Tolbooth, Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH8 8BN
Open 10am until 5pm Monday to Saturday, and 12noon until 5pm on Sundays during August
Free to enter, donations welcome

The People's Story museum is located in the Canongate Tolbooth, which is a historic landmark in itself built in 1591. It provides visitors with a realistic and fascinating look at what life was like for Edinburgh citizens in days gone by. Explore displays that range from crime and punishment to a night out at the cinema, the suffragettes to Leith docks, advertisements for work at breweries to figures of 1980s punk. This is the perfect place to get a glimpse into the Edinburgh of everyday people - from the 18th century to recent times.

The Writers' Museum and Makars' Court

Writers Museum 500X210

Lady Stair's House, Lady Stair's Close, Lawnmarket, Royal Mile, Edinburgh, EH1 2PA
Open 10am unitl 5pm Monday to Saturday, and 12noon until 5pm on Sundays during August
Free to enter, donations welcome

Celebrate the lives of Scotland's greatest writers, Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson at the architecturally enthralling Lady Stair's House built in 1622. At the Writers' Museum you can see Robert Burns' writing desk, the printing press on which Scott's Waverley novels were produced and many more. Upon leaving the museum be sure not to miss the quotations carved in stone celebrating Scottish writers. 

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