Museums in Edinburgh

The Museums in the city of Edinburgh take you on a trip through time. The Royal Yacht Britannia, Scotch Whiskey Experience and the National Museum of Scotland are just a few.


Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

Scottish Gallery of Modern Art

Art lovers visiting Edinburgh should be sure to pay a visit to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. The museum includes works by 20th century masters, including Picasso and Matisse, along with a broad selection of work by contemporary artists, such as Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Damien Hirst, and Rachel Whitehead.

In particular, sculpture lovers will enjoy the front lawn of the museum, which was transformed in 2002 into the giant sculpture “Landform,” by American architectural theorist and landscape designer, Charles Jencks. The museum won a 2004 Gulbenkian Prize for the work.

The works of the Scottish Colourists are also featured in the museum. These Scottish artists were not highly regarded in the 1920s and 30s when they originally worked, but late in the 20th century their art had a profound effect on contemporary Scottish and other British artists.

In short, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art is one of Scotland’s finest art galleries and deserves to make the itinerary of any Edinburgh visitor.

Royal Yacht Britannia

Royal Yacht Britania Edinburgh - Photo Credit - Paul Robertson - C.C. License

The Royal Yacht Britannia was launched from Clydebank in 1953 and commissioned for service to the Royal Family in 1954. Before being taken out of service in 1997, this luxury ship completed 968 official voyages, covering more than one million nautical miles. After serving Queen and country for 43 years and 334 days, this famous vessel is now moored in Edinburgh and is a five-star visitor attraction and popular corporate event venue.

Visitors to Edinburgh will not want to miss this intriguing attraction, which is located just two miles from the city centre in the historic port of Leith. With a Visitor Centre, self-guided audio tour, gift shop and the Royal Deck Tea Room, the Royal Yacht Britannia is an ideal stop for families, couples, business travelers and groups of friends visiting the city.

The self-guided audio tour covers five decks and includes the Royal Apartments, State Dining Room, State Drawing Room, Royal Bedrooms, Sick Bay and Operating Theatre, Engine Room, Bridge, Sun Lounge and Royal Marines’ Barracks. Additionally, as visitors tour the decks of the Royal Yacht Britannia, they will be surrounded by nearly all of the original furniture, paintings, photographs and artifacts that were on the ship during her royal service.

Scotch Whiskey Experience

The Scotch Whiskey Experience (formally known as the Scotch Whiskey Heritage Centre), a fascinating Edinburgh Museum, celebrates Scotland’s national drink with an interactive guided tour that involves you in the whiskey making process. After entering the center, you board a swirling whiskey barrel for a journey through the distillation process. Make your way through a mechanical replica of a distillery while the “Whiskey Ghost” tells the stories behind the making of Scotch Whiskey.

While on the Edinburgh Museum tour, children can follow their own special guide, “Peat the Cat”, to discover a range of age-appropriate fun facts about the process. After leaving the barrel, guests enter the McIntyre Whisky Gallery, where whiskey makers spill all of the secrets of the craft—from the characteristics that make Scotch Whiskey unique, to the qualities that give Scotch Whiskey its special flavor.

For your next stop, visit the Sense of Scotland room where expert whiskey makers guide you as you experience the aromas of different types of whiskies. They can also help you choose the perfect Scotch Whiskey for your palate. End the tour by drinking a dram of your favorite Scotch Whiskey — or a soft drink for those under the age of 18.

Opening Times and Prices

Opening times for the Scotch Whiskey Experience are as follows:

Standard Hours (September to May) – 10am to 6pm

Extended Summer Hours (June, July, August) – 10.00am to 6.30pm

Admission Prices

The Scotch Whisky Experience Tour Entrance Prices

Adult: £11.50
Concession (OAP’s, students): £8.95
Child (6-17years): £5.95
Family (2 adults and up to 4 children): £27


Address: 354 Castlehill, Royal Mile, Edinburgh
Tourist Bus: Served by Edinburgh’s Hop-on Hop-off Tour Bus


National Museum of Scotland

The National Museum of Scotland is a collaboration of works tracing Britain’s history from early paleontology fossil collections, dating from the origins of man, to contemporary agricultural adventures with hand’s on learning experience. The Museum is internationally acclaimed for its dedication to bring the sciences to life through interactive workshops and discovery centres in pursuit of education and excellence. In addition, the permanent and seasonal exhibitions contain a rich and cultural collection of archaeology and anthropology studies with priceless artifacts dating back to the Vikings and beyond.

The National Museum of Scotland makes a great full or half-day excursion into antiquity with popular exhibits to include the Lewis Chessman exhibit, a 30 piece walrus ivory chess set dating to the 12th Century, proving to be one of the most significant archaeological finds of its kind. Explore the ancient stones and stelae with Pictish carvings, a written form of symbolism associated with the first writings of man. Discover the mystery of Celtic art with the 7th Century Hunterston Brooch, a piece so exquisite that it is believed to have been made by royal craftsman and passed ownership through persons of power and prestige.

The food and beverage experience at the Edinburgh Museum includes the luxurious Board and Bute Rooms, perched above the city of Edinburgh with sweeping roof top views of the historical Old Town. Or enjoy light snacks and cocktails from the casual roof terrace for year round panoramic scenery of the best of Edinburgh. The Edinburgh Museum is the ideal getaway for culture, relaxation and learning about scottish life.

How to get there

Chambers Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1JF
Served by Edinburgh’s Hop-on Hop-off Tour Bus

Opening Times and Prices

Daily: 10:00-17:00

Admission to the museum is free.


Click here to find Hotels near the National Musuem of Scotland

National Gallery of Scotland

The National Gallery of Scotland, in Edinburgh, presides over the Princes Street Gardens from its location on The Mound that bisects the two sections of the gardens. It was originally designed by William Henry Playfair in the mid-19th century and subsequently remodeled by William Thomas Oldrieve in 1912. Since that time the curators have focused on the growth of its Scottish and European art collections.

The museum is the home to over 30,000 works on paper that originate from the Renaissance to the end of the 19th century. It also houses a library that contains roughly 50,000 books, microfiches, journals and slides. Notable paintings within the museum include: The Reverend Robert Walker Skating on Duddingston Loch by Sir Henry Raeburn, Haystacks by Claude Monet and Virgin Adoring the Sleeping Christ Child by Sandro Botticelli. The museum also boasts many land and seascapes by William McTaggart as well as masterpieces by artists such as Johannes Vermeer, Sir Anthony van Dyck, Titian and Raphael.

In 2004, the National Gallery opened the Playfair Project, which includes an interactive gallery area, gift shop, restaurant and lecture theatre. The interactive gallery features virtual displays of the collections of both the National Gallery of Scotland and the Royal Scottish Academy.

How to get there

The Mound, Edinburgh, EH2 2EL
Served by Edinburgh’s Hop-on Hop-off Tour Bus

Opening Times and Prices

Open daily 10am-5pm. Thursdays until 7pm.

August – Open Daily 10am-6pm. Thursdays until 7pm.

Admission to the museum is free.

More Information

> National Gallery of Scotland Website
> Hotels near the National Gallery of Scotland