Another museum on the Royal Mile with free admission is the Museum of Edinburgh. It is located just opposite Canongate Tolbooth in an old restored house from the 16th century. If you don’t have time to see the whole museum you can at least go inside to see the house, which was a typical aristocratic house in this part of the Royal Mile.
As the name indicates the museum’s exhibition is about the history of Edinburgh.
The museum is open between 10 - 17, Monday - Saturday.
These two museums are next door to one another, they are connected on the inside so you can walk from one to the other.
I didn't have a lot of time so I just took a brief tour of the Royal Museum, the focus of which is natural history, science & industry and decorative arts, then headed over the the Museum of Scotland, set up to take visitors on a chronological journey through Scotland, the earliest starting on the lower levels.
They announced a free museum overview tour as I was entering, turned out to be the only one on it. The guide took me to the different levels of the museum, explained how the exhibits were laid out and pointed out some of the highlights. Check in Hawthornden Court for a schedule, they also had a highlights tour that might be good if you are pressed for time like I was. The brochure also says they have free audio guides at the same spot.
Tip #1: for a great view over the city, head up to the Roof Terrace on the 7th floor of the Museum of Scotland
Tip #2: currently on Tuesday it's open until 8 pm. And like all the other museums in Edinburgh, it's free!
As the Museum of Scotland the Royal Museum is part of the National Museum. The exhibition rooms are situated on three floors around the big main hall. There are exhibitions about The National World (for example evolution, British animals and birds, fossils), Science and Industry (for example art and industry, gramophones) and Art and Culture (for example Ancient Egypt, European, Islamic, Chinese and Japanese art).
Entrance is free.
The museum is opened:
Monday to Sarurday 10 - 17
Tuesday 10 - 20
Sunday 12 - 17
Beautiful, calm and free!
See the Millenium Clock and eat at the Cafe!
Click on my photo to enlage - see the engraving on the brass plate!!!
"Scotland's premier museum housing international collections of African, American and Pacific ethnography, jewellery, scientific instruments, costume, fossils, Japanese and Chinese material, Middle Eastern cultures, mammals, fish, birds and insects! Guided tours and audio tours are also available. Adjacent to the Museum of Scotland. (Although admission is free, there may be a charge for some temporary exhibitions - like the Cats, 4 pounds)"
Opening Days/Times: Jan - Dec.
Mon - Sat: 1000 - 1700 (open until 2000 on Tuesdays).
Sun: 1200 - 1700.
STB Award: ***** (5= top score) Museum
Disabled Facilities: Parking: Yes
Toilets: Yes, Shops: Yes, Eating Places: Yes - Great cafe on ground floor
Tel: 0131 247 4219/
Fax: 0131 220 4819
Car Parking - Don't even think of it.
This stunning victorian building houses a variety of exhibits in over 30 galleries. There are several types of organised tours and lectures. Access to the exhibits and tours is free but some lectures require pre-booking and a charge.
Cafe Delos si located in the main foyer and is a great spot for people watching. The Soupson is an above your average canteen that has a good selection of delicious soups and freshly made rolls.
There is a Museum Shop in between the Royal Museum and the Museum of Scotland.
Adjoining the new Museum of Scotland is a fine old Victorian building which houses the Royal Museum, with collections of Decorative Arts, Science and Industry, Archaeology and the Natural World.
Since this museum is FREE you can simply walk in and take a look at one or another of the departments anytime you feel like it. It's an interesting museum, but parts of it are somewhat dated, so they are planning "a major development project for 2008-2012 which will reinvent the Royal Museum for the twenty-first century."
Open Monday to Saturday 10am - 5pm, Tuesday 10am - 8pm, Sunday 12 noon - 5pm.
An absolutely AMAZING museum. I visited here nearly every other day when I lived in Edinburgh and always saw something different. Natural history, geology, artifacts from around the world, science. It is a huge and amazing museum. One of my favorites in the world.
Plus there was this really cool clock in the foyer with a big reflective pendulum.
The Museum of Edinburgh is small museum located on the Royal Mile that's worth a stop should you find yourself with an hour or so to spare. The museum houses collections relating to the history of Edinburgh from prehistoric to present day.
In one of the rooms, there a sweet little display for Greyfriars Bobby, the loyal Skye Terrier who stayed by his masters grave in Greyfriars kirkyard.
This museum is fantastic. So good that my family went there two different days. If you are spending more than one day in Edinburgh, I would suggest taking at least 3 hours out of your schedule to visit and I would also try to wait until it is raining, then you can maximize your time seeing the outdoors when it is not raining. The building is Victorian and the inside is very modern and very attractive. The display of Western art was really good. There is such a variety of displays, from what I remember it has more variety than any other museum I have been to. Check out the huge clock in the lobby at the top of the hour.
I'm not sure how helpful this tip is going to be for people wanting to go the Royal Museum, because I only went to the museum because they were showing an exhibit called 'Nicholas and Alexandra: The Last Tsar and Tsarina' (of Russia). Therefore I spent the majority of my time at the museum in this exhibition, as I had come late in the day, only about an hour and a half before closing.
But if this exhibit is anything to go by how the rest of the museum is, then it should be a very enlightening museum to visit. Everything in this exhibit (brought from The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg) was well laid out and easy to follow, constructing the life, times and death of the last Tsar and Tsarina of Russia. There were maps, photos, documents, jewellery, props wearing clothing of the times, notes, videos - many artefacts from the Romanov dynasty. Also interesting was the amount of pieces of art designed for the Romanov family by Faberge (as in 'Faberge Eggs'). It was very well presented and the information presented with all the exhibits was easy to follow as well as showing insight into a legendary family.
Aside from the exhibit, I only briefly glimpsed the gallery, whose entrance is a magnificent and large atrium. I also had a quick look in the gift shop, which as with most gift shops, seemed over-priced, but there were quite a lot of nice things, books, diaries, bags, etc. So take a look, you might find something there you like.
Mon, Wed-Sat: 10am - 5pm
Tue: 10am - 8pm
Sun: 12 (noon) - 5pm
A must for anyone interested in the history of Scotland. The new purpose built part of the museum, The Museum of Scotland, which was opened a few years ago is mostly concerned with this subject and there is also plenty to see in the rest of the museum. NOt only does it tell the story of the nation up to the modern day - the culture, wars, religion and scientific invention - but also covers natural history, science and the arts. Last time I was there they were charging around £3 entry but I'm not sure if they still are.
The Museum of Scotland is housed in a modern building in the Old Town, and covers 3 million years of Scottish history. Adjacent is the Royal Museum of Scotland, housed in a funky Victorian building.