National Museum of Scotland

#4 in Best Things To Do in Edinburgh
National Museum of Scotland picture
morebyless/Flickr

Key Info

Chambers Street

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Museums, Free Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.5

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

If Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Yacht Britannia and Holyroodhouse Palace don't quench your thirst for some Scottish history, take a trip to the National Museum of Scotland. The museum houses a whopping 20,000 historical artifacts spread out through its numerous, diverse galleries. Here, visitors will find exhibits dedicated to art and design, the natural world (which features a giant T. rex skeleton), history, archaeology and world cultures. And don't leave without visiting the Dolly the sheep display (named after Dolly Parton), the first mammal to ever be cloned from an adult cell. 

Recent visitors said this is a great place for a family outing, and can easily be enjoyed by all ages. Children especially enjoyed the taxidermied animals in the Natural World galleries and adults appreciated the free admittance. Keep in mind this museum is big, so if you're on a time crunch (visitors reported spending a few hours here), map out what you'd like to see before your visit. 

Admission to this museum is free. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with abbreviated hours on holidays. The National Museum of Scotland can be easily reached on foot if you're in Old Town. Several of Edinburgh's top tours also make stops at the museum. The attraction is located less than a half-mile south from Camera Obscura & World of Illusions and Edinburgh Castle. For more information on the National Museum of Scotland, visit its website

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Time to Spend
#1 Calton Hill

If you're like the writer Robert Louis Stevenson, you might enjoy the view from Calton Hill; this spot was a favorite of his. One of the most popular vantage points for photo ops (and included in the city's UNESCO World Heritage site distinction), Calton Hill affords a majestic panorama of the city below – so don't forget to bring your camera, or make sure your phone is charged. Located east of New Town, Calton Hill is one of the country's first public parks, founded in 1724. Today, the hill supports several iconic buildings and monuments, so much so that it has been nicknamed the Athens of the North. Some of these structures include the Burns Monument, erected in honor of Scottish writer Robert Burns, the Nelson Monument, designed by Robert Burns, and the National Monument, modeled after the Parthenon but given the name "Edinburgh's Disgrace" for never having been completed. 

Recent travelers loved Calton Hill for its beautiful views, peaceful surroundings and relatively easy hike to the top. With Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh Castle and the sea in sight, some visitors say the best time to go is during sunset or sunrise. Calton Hill is less than a mile from the Royal Mile and less than a half-mile from Edinburgh Waverly train station.

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