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Surgeons' Hall Museums

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Southside & Holyrood
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Address: Nicolson Street, Edinburgh EH8 9DW, Scotland
Phone Number: +44 131 527 1711
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Today
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
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Hours:
Sun - Sat 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Fee: Yes
Description:

Surgeons’ Hall Museums (SHM), part of the Royal College of Surgeons of...

Surgeons’ Hall Museums (SHM), part of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, houses one of the largest and most historic collections of artefacts charting the history and development of surgery. The collections include surgical instruments and artworks and one of the largest collections of anatomical specimens in the world.

These specimens are displayed in the Wohl Pathology Museum, which is located within the iconic building designed by William Playfair in 1832.

All of the exhibits which have made SHM world-famous will be back on display: including a pocket book made from the skin of the infamous murderer, William Burke; and exhibits relating to Dr Joseph Bell, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s teacher and main inspiration for Sherlock Holmes, the highlight of which is a letter from the author crediting his mentor as such.

The reopened SHM, whose transformation has been supported by a £2.7m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, will also feature even more interactive and display exhibits, which will help visitors from all around the world discover the stories and breakthroughs that have shaped modern surgical practice.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 328 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 189
    Excellent
  • 107
    Very good
  • 22
    Average
  • 7
    Poor
  • 3
    Terrible
A great place to investigate - but you may need a strong stomach!

This is an incredibly interesting place for people who are interested in the medical field, and even those who aren't. I found it incredibly insightful, but you do need a strong... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed yesterday
KIB85
,
Bristol, United Kingdom

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328 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Bristol, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
33 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

This is an incredibly interesting place for people who are interested in the medical field, and even those who aren't. I found it incredibly insightful, but you do need a strong stomach for a lot of the exhibits. It is recommended that you need 2 hours to see everything, we only had an hour here, but certainly needed more time... More 

Helpful?
Thank KIB85
Middlesbrough, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
72 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

I visited the museum with 3 of my children 13, 10 and 9 while on a day trip to Edinburgh. We Home Ed so we were able to visit on a Wednesday afternoon. It was fairly quiet so we were able to get around easily and close up to all the exhibits. The lady on the Pay desk said the... More 

Helpful?
Thank jackiefarrell
Leeds, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
25 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

Was a very interesting trip - lots of well explained exhibits. Covers the history of surgery and dentistry very well. As well as the history of medicine specific to Scotland/Edinburgh. ***However*** this is really not for the faint hearted. If you are at all squeamish I would NOT recommend this! There are lots and lots of real body parts and... More 

Helpful?
Thank GraceCharlotte11
Townsville, Australia
Level Contributor
82 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

Our teen daughter enjoyed this immensely as very interested in medicine etc would have loved to go through it with a professional to go into a little more detail. I liked the walk through history of some of the old medical instruments - can tell you I would have run a mile in the opposite direction if anyone had come... More 

Helpful?
Thank Mad101
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

This has got to be one of the best museums I have ever visited. So informative and so much to look at! It is a bit gruesome at times, so definitely not for the faint of heart. We visited on a Saturday, it was £6 per adult, and it was nice as it was a very quiet place. We visited... More 

Helpful?
Thank Jen T
County Durham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

This museum was recommended by a friend, wow. It was amazing. So informative. Even as a nurse with 20 years experience it was so educational. So many things to see. I would highly recommend to anyone. We were in there over 3 hours. A must for anyone with an interest in anatomy.

Helpful?
Thank June J
Gatwick UK
Level Contributor
128 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

A fascinating and sometime disturbing look and surgery, dentistry and medicine in the past two centuries. Fascinating exhibits of yesteryear and ailments that I did not know existed

Helpful?
Thank ColinHawkes
Cork, Ireland
Level Contributor
35 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

We had a class trip here in December (student teachers) and it was very interesting, especially if you have an interest in all things gory and medical. You will need a bit of time to get around, it's not a place you can rush through. Amazing what disease can do to the body. Worth a look!

Helpful?
Thank Clarebell1
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
14 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

Even if you have been before the refurbished Surgeons Hall is worth a look, as long as you're not too squeamish! Many interesting exhibits and a history of surgery. The lady on reception was extremely friendly and helpful. Thank you.

Helpful?
Thank ESM42
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
40 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

Surgeons hall is one of these places that should be advertised more. We found out about it from a friend and went off to explore on their recommendation. So glad we did. The museum is quite small but so well laid out with just the right amount of information and is truly fascinating. They have things on display that you... More 

Helpful?
Thank Doc157

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Staying in Southside & Holyrood

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Southside & Holyrood
Many of Edinburgh’s student hangouts gather around university buildings in Southside, the sort of neighborhood that supports a long string of second-hand shops and eateries serving ethnic food for just a few pounds. In August the student population is replaced by vast numbers of boisterous visitors here for the Fringe, Edinburgh’s world-class comedy and arts festival which headquarters itself here. Flanking Southside are two great parks. The Meadows is a vast flat and sporty space where football, rugby, tennis, cricket, croquet, and golf often all take place side by side. Kids in its big playgrounds add to the joyful noise. Far bigger and much wilder, Holyrood Park extends to the east and provides a real hike up Arthur’s Seat, but the district is best known as the site of Scotland’s Parliament and its premier Royal Palace—and their steady stream of sightseers.
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