Edinburgh / Attractions / Museums

14x Museums in Edinburgh

An overview of the best museums in Edinburgh Scotland

museum Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a city with many museums, such as the famous National Museum of Scotland. An overview of the 14 most visited museums in Edinburgh:

Edinburgh, a city with amazing museums

In addition to the famous World of Illusions, a museum with optical illusions, and the National War Museum, Edinburgh has even more museums in store for museum lovers. Below is a list of the most famous museums in the Scottish capital and the sights that you can find in these Edinburgh museums:

1. National Museum of Scotland

The National Museum of Scotland was formed in 2006 following a merger of the Museum of Scotland and the Royal Scottish Museum. This museum housed in a beautiful building has an extensive collection of Scottish antiquities, culture, science, technology, history and natural history. You can find the museum on Chamber Street and admission to the museum is free. There are six departments, which will take you a while. So allow enough time for a visit, because this museum is by far the top of the Scottish museums.

More info National Museum

The National Museum of ScotlandThe National Museum of Scotland
National museum ScotlandAn Edinburgh museum with a varied collection

2. Museum of Illusions

A well-known attraction in Edinburgh is the museum Camera Obscura and the World of Illusions in the former city observatory. The top floor of the museum contains the Camera Obscura, from which you have a beautiful view of the city. The World of Illusions is a highly interactive museum with over a hundred interactive elements. For example, visit the plasma spheres or the Shadow Wall. Get to know holograms and 3D realizations or walk through the famous Vortextunnel.

More info Museum of Illusions


3. Scottish National Gallery

On the Mound, the artificial hill that divides the Princess Street Gardens into two parts, is the Scottish National Gallery, the museum of neoclassical works of European and Scottish origin. This National Gallery also houses a number of great foreign artists, such as Johannes Vermeer and Jan Steen. Architect William Henry Playfair designed the building, which has been open to the public since 1859. The Scottish National Gallery consists of two buildings, the National Gallery Building and the Royal Scottish Academy Building. Both parts are connected by an underground tunnel.

  • Location: The Mound, Edinburgh EH2 2EL (In the middle of Princes Street Gardens)
  • Admission: Free (book your visit here)
  • Hours: Daily from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Website

4. Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Queen Street is home to the famous Scottish National Portrait Gallery. This museum houses the national portraits, which are mainly made by national artists. The Scottish National Photography Collection is also located in this museum. The building in which the National Portrait Gallery is located is made of red sandstone in the Gothic style and is modeled on the Doge's Palace in Venice. It was built between 1885 and 1890. The museum was founded by the owner of The Scotsman, a Scottish newspaper, in 1889. You will find works such as the portrait of Robert Burns of Naysmith, Robbie Coltrane of John Byrne and Sean Connery of John Bellany .

  • Location: 1 Queen Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1JD (In the district New Town)
  • Admission: Free
  • Hours: Open daily, 10am - 5pm
  • Website

5. Dynamic Earth Edinburgh

Dynamic Earth Edinburgh is a science center in Edinburgh and is the largest interactive visitor attraction in all of Scotland. It is a tourist attraction, where you can experience the Big Bang in the Deep Time Machine. You can shoot through the galaxy in a rocket, but you can also physically experience all kinds of earthly processes, such as volcano eruptions, the cold of the Aurora Borealis and the undersea ocean world in a traditional yellow submarine. It is even not possible to relax from all the impressions in the Cinema, because even in the film room you can watch films in 360 degrees with an enormous sound quality.

  • Location: Holyrood Rd, Edinburgh EH8 8AS (near the Scottish Parliament building at the end of the Royal Mile)
  • Website


6. Surgeon's Hall Museum

The Surgeon's Hall Museum has received multiple awards and houses the largest and most historic collection of pathological objects. The museum is owned by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and consists of three separate museums: the Dental Collection, the History of Surgery Museum and the Wohl Pathology Museum. The museum opened in 1832, making it one of the oldest museums in both Edinburgh and Scotland. You can learn more about the evolution of surgical instruments, experience the first public dissection and learn more about famous medical names such as Burke, Hare, Lister and Simpson.

  • Location: Nicolson Street Edinburgh EH8 9DW (A bit south of Old Town)
  • Admission: Adults £ 8.50, children up to 16 and people over 60 £4.50
  • Hours: Daily from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Website

7. Georgian House

The Georgian House is a restored 18th century village house situated at number 7 Charlotte Square in New Town Edinburgh. Today you can view an extensive collection of paintings, costumes and furniture from that time in the village hall. The restoration and furnishing has been carried out by the National Trust For Scotland. You can visit a number of well-known rooms in the Georgian House, such as the Drawing Room with numerous paintings and the Dining Room, which is decorated with dozens of portraits.

  • Location: 7 Charlotte Square, Edinburgh EH2 4DR (In New Town)
  • Admission: Asdults £ 10.00, families £19.50
  • Hours: Thursday to Monday from 10 am to 4 pm
  • Website

8. Museum of Childhood

In the Museum of Childhood you can see everything related to children and childhood. From children's toys through the ages to miniature versions of buildings. The collection consists of eighteenth-century teddy bears and dolls. But also play soldiers, games and toy cars can be found there. The real highlight, however, is the 21-room dollhouse with over 2,000 items inside.

  • Location: 42 High St, Edinburgh EH1 1TG (this is exactly half way up the Royal Mile)
  • Admission: Free
  • Hours: Daily from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Website


9. Museum of Edinburgh

The Huntly House museum or Museum of Edinburgh is a museum that focuses on the origins, history and myths of the city of Edinburgh. Notable exhibits include: an original edition of the 1638 National Covenant and a reconstruction of Field Marshal Douglas Haig's headquarters on the Western Front during the First World War. The Museum of Edinburgh is located in the sixteenth-century Huntly House on Canongate. It is managed and maintained by the City of Edinburgh Council.

  • Location: 142-146 Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8DD (This is almost at the end of the Royal Mile, just before the Scottish Parliament building)
  • Admission: Free
  • Hours: Daily from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Website

10. People's Story Museum

The People's Story Museum gives you a glimpse into the life of the working class from Edinburgh from the eighteenth to the twentieth century. The exhibitions of the People's Story Museum, including personal stories, images and objects, focus on the crafts, culture and history of the working class in that period. The exhibitions are based on orally transmitted stories and memories of the citizens of Edinburgh. Authenticity is therefore of paramount importance in this museum.

  • Location: The Royal Mile, 163 Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8BN
  • Admission: Free
  • Hours: Daily from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Website

11. National War Museum

Located in Edinburgh Castle, the National War Museum takes you through 400 years of Scottish conflict through a unique collection of military objects such as weapons and medals, art and personal stories. The short film at the beginning of your visit already shows what you will find in the museum. Learn about Scotland's good strategic position and the many conflicts with neighboring England. An entire section is also devoted to the motives of the Scots for enlistment. Why did so many Scots enter the army, navy or air force? Finally, learn more about the distinction between Highland and Lowland, which was also reflected in the Scottish army.

More info Edinburgh Castle

Museum EdinburghThe National War Museum is located in the castle
Edinburgh museumView of the John Knox museum on the Royal Mile

12. John Knox House Museum

John Knox House Museum is located in John Knox's house which dates back to 1470, making it one of the oldest houses on the Royal Mile. The house is associated with the most turbulent period in Scottish history, namely that of the Scottish Reformation which led to the civil war and abdication of Queen Mary. Prominent figure John Knox actually stayed in the house for only a short time before his death in 1572, but his presence kept the council from demolishing the house around 1840. These days you can learn more about this exciting history of Edinburgh in every room. You can also hunt the booby traps, which were supposed to stop intruders. Or look for the devil in The Oak Room Ceiling.

  • Location: High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1SR (Halfway the Royal Mile)
  • Admission: £6 (book tickets online)
  • Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • Website

13. Writers' Museum

The Writers' Museum is located on The Royal Mile in the Lady Stair's House on the Lawnmarket. The museum focuses on three Scottish writers: Robert Burns, Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson. The collection contains works, personal objects and portraits of these three well-known authors. One of the highlights of the Writers' Museum is the original Robert Burns writing desk and the plaster cast of the author's skull. The museum is maintained by the City of Edinburgh Council. Next to the museum is the Makar's Court, where several literary quotes are engraved, making the square seen as an "evolving literary monument."

  • Location: Lawnmarket, Lady Stair's Cl, Edinburgh EH1 2PA (The museum is located near the starting point of the Royal Mile)
  • Admission: Free
  • Hours: Daily from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Website

14. Museum of the Mound

Housed in the former headquarters of the Bank of Scotland, the Museum of the Mound has an extensive collection of coins, money and economics. The museum was opened in 2006 and you can learn more about art and design of money, technology, crime, trade and security; all features related to the trading of money. See what a million pounds looks like, see Scotland's oldest banknote or learn how to crack a safe. And all this with a free entrance.

  • Location: The Mound, Edinburgh EH1 1YZ (In Old Town, not far from St' Giles' Cathedral)
  • Admission: Free
  • Hours: Tuesday to Friday 10:00 am - 5:00 pm. Saturday and public holidays 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm. Closed on Sundays.
  • Website
Museum Edinburgh
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