Adventures · UK

Five Free Museums in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is an incredible place that I highly recommend you visit. I had 24 hours here just a few weeks ago before I headed off on a tour of the Isle of Skye (also highly recommend this!!) and I was determined to cram in as much sightseeing as I could. I managed to go to FIVE museums within the space of a few hours and they were all FREE.

Museum on the Mound

Have you ever seen a million pounds before? I have & you can too if you visit here. The museum offers an interesting insight into the history behind Scotland’s oldest bank. It is located just off The Royal Mile and is less than 500m from Edinburgh Castle so it’s easy enough to pop in and take a look around. The museum consists of six rooms and there is plenty to learn about from the history of the bank to cracking a safe! It doesn’t take long to see everything here so if you have a spare 30 minutes you should take a look around.

National Museum of Scotland

When searching for museums in Edinburgh this is probably the top result on Google. If you explore at leisure you could easily spend the whole day here, but unfortunately I was under time constraints so spent just under an hour here. There are fascinating exhibitions here and my favourite section was in the Science & Technology section where you can see Dolly the Sheep. I can also highly recommend the Scottish History exhibition which is spread over several floors and has plenty to keep you entertained.

The Writer’s Museum

I absolutely love reading so I couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to visit this museum. Tucked down an alleyway just off the Royal Mile you could be forgiven for walking by without stepping inside. The biggest distraction is the array of quotes on the paving stones outside, two of my favourites are below

It’s a grand thing to get leave to live” and “I care to live only to entice people to look at Nature’s loveliness“.

The museum itself is pretty small but superbly looked after and of course, free! The museum focusses on three Scottish authors – Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson.

I spent the longest in the Robert Louis Stevenson exhibition due to his love or travelling, something I’m sure many of us can relate to…



Museum of Edinburgh

Another small but interesting museum at the end of The Royal Mile. There is a video room at the very back of the museum which shows how Edinburgh has built up over the ages. Some interesting facts I learnt here – 2000 nomads first moved to Edinburgh and were initially outnumbered by bears and Edinburgh was known as the “original Manhattan” as there were 10-storey skyscrapers here years ago. It’s probably the first and last time you’ll hear a comparison between Edinburgh and New York – but a fun fact nonetheless!


The People Museum

I’ve saved my personal favourite for last. The People’s Museum is opposite the Museum of Edinburgh so it would be silly to visit one and not the other. This museum follows the people of Edinburgh through the ages, highlighting the hardships they’ve faced. The museum is pretty family orientated & child friendly but as an adult visiting I had fun on my own anyway!

There is so much to see and do in Edinburgh but if you find yourself at a loose end or if it starts raining (which it does a lot) and you need to kill some time I hope you visit at least one of these museums.

Any museums you think I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments below.



One thought on “Five Free Museums in Edinburgh

  1. I was just in Edinburgh for a quick visit and was really surprised how many museums are free. Unfortunately I did not have time to visit any of them. We need more free museums in the US!


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