The best museums in Edinburgh in December 2023

These are the top 20 best museums in Edinburgh, Scotland, ranked by their rating and popularity in 2023. Click a museum for more information about the museum, including visitor information, exhibitions and reviews.

For a complete overview of museums in Edinburgh, their exhibitions and discount cards & passes, see our overview page with all museums in Edinburgh.

You may need to reserve time slots for some museums in Edinburgh. Check here to see which places and tickets you can already book in advance. 👉
Reserve now

Looking for the best museums in Edinburgh? These are the best ones:

  1. National Museum of Scotland1

    National Museum of Scotland

    The National Museum of Scotland is housed in a Romanesque Revival building. The collection of the museum includes a wide variety of objects that are displayed on seven floors, including artifacts from the age of dinosaurs up to current technology and science. It takes visitors on a journey through t
  2. Edinburgh Castle2

    Edinburgh Castle

    This most famous of Scottish castles has a complex building history. The oldest part, St Margaret’s Chapel, dates from the 12th century; the Great Hall was erected by James IV around 1510; the Half Moon Battery by the Regent Morton in the late 16th century; and the Scottish National War Memorial aft
  3. The Real Mary King's Close3

    The Real Mary King's Close

    Underneath the Royal Mile lies a warren of underground streets and houses that has remained frozen in time since the 17th century. In the company of an expert guide, visitors can explore the site and experience what it was like for people who lived, worked and died here. It is a journey through tim
  4. The Palace of Holyroodhouse4

    The Palace of Holyroodhouse

    The Palace of Holyroodhouse is a museum in Edinburgh. The museum features exhibits related to: fine art, architecture and decorative and applied art. Key themes, people and exhibits in the museum include: the royal collection includes paintings, drawings and watercolours, furniture, ceramics, clocks
  5. Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh5

    Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

    The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh lets visitors explore and tries to explain the world of plants by its wide collection of plants.
  6. Scottish National Gallery6

    Scottish National Gallery

    The National Gallery of Scotland opened in 1859 and is housed in a neoclassical building designed by William Henry Playfair. The gallery houses a collection of both classical and modern art from various countries. The displays are organized according to countries and periods. Highlights of the perma
  7. Scottish National Portrait Gallery7

    Scottish National Portrait Gallery

    The Scottish National Portrait Gallery is an art museum in Edinburgh housed in a red sandstone Gothic revival building that was built between 1885 and 1890, designed by Robert Rowand Anderson. The museum holds the national collections of portraits and the Scottish National Photography Collection. Th
  8. Edinburgh Zoo8

    Edinburgh Zoo

    Have an unforgettable day out at Edinburgh Zoo, home of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) and over 2,500 incredible animals from around the world! Set in over 82 acres of wooded hillside, the zoo is open seven days a week and is a gateway to the natural world, where you can experience
  9. National War Museum Scotland9

    National War Museum Scotland

    The National War Museum Scotland is dedicated to the 400 years of wars and battles. Visitors can see military equipment and weapons, but there are also uniforms, kilts, medals and silverware on display. Besides that, the museum features a special exhibition devoted to Highland soldiers who rebelled
  10. Surgeons' Hall Museums10

    Surgeons' Hall Museums

    The museums are home to one of the largest and most historic pathology collections in the United Kingdom. As one of the oldest Museums in Scotland, the collections grew from 1699 after 'natural and artificial curiosities' were publically sought, with the Playfair Building opening in 1832 to house th
  11. 11

    Georgian House

    The Georgian House is an 18th-century townhouse in Edinburgh. Most of the furnishings and fittings in the townhouse date from the later Georgian period (1760-1830), but some objects are even older. Visitors can walk around the house at their own pace, and a volunteer can answer questions in each of
  12. Museum of Edinburgh12

    Museum of Edinburgh

    The Museum of Edinburgh is housed in a historical building from the late 16th century and tells the story of the city's history, guiding visitors through Edinburgh's past to reveal its origins and legends. Among all the objects in its collection is ​a copy of the National Covenant, an artifact from
  13. Craigmillar Castle13

    Craigmillar Castle

    Craigmillar Castle is a museum in Edinburgh. The museum features exhibits related to Social History and Architecture.
  14. 14

    Holyrood Abbey

    Holyrood Abbey is a museum in Edinburgh. The museum features exhibits related to: archaeology, architecture and social history.
  15. Museum of Childhood15

    Museum of Childhood

    The Museum of Childhood houses a collection that ranges from the 18th to the 21st century, that includes dolls and other toys, spread across four floors. Children will enjoy the toys and adults can learn about what the childhood looked like in the past.
  16. The Museum on the Mound16

    The Museum on the Mound

    The Museum on the Mound exhibits treasures from the HBOS collections. Located in the historic Bank of Scotland Head Office, the museum takes a look at the story of money which features art & design, technology, crime, trade and security.
  17. Peoples' Story Museum17

    Peoples' Story Museum

    The Peoples' Story Museum is a museum in Edinburgh that aims to cover the ordinary lives of Edinburgh's common folk.
  18. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art18

    Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

    The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art is a museum in Edinburgh. It houses the collection of modern and contemporary art dating from about 1900 to the present with over 6000 paintings, sculptures, installations, video work, prints and drawings. The museum is situated in two buildings that face
  19. The Royal Yacht Britannia19

    The Royal Yacht Britannia

    A Royal residence for over 40 years, The Royal Yacht Britannia sailed over 1,000,000 nautical miles on 968 state visits with the Royal Family. Now a five-star visitor attraction in Edinburgh, you can tour five decks of the last Royal Yacht and discover stories of life at sea for both the Royal Famil
  20. Writers' Museum20

    Writers' Museum

    The Writers' Museum is a literary museum that is devoted to three Scottish writers. Once collection is dedicated to Robert Burns, a Scottish national poet and lyricist. Another collection focuses on Robert Louis Stevenson, a poet and novelist, the author of Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. And

All museums in Edinburgh