St Cecilia's Hall Concert Room & Music Museum

St Cecilia's Hall Concert Room & Music Museum

St Cecilia's Hall Concert Room & Music Museum
5
10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
About
St Cecilia's Hall brings together one of the world's most important collections of historic musical instruments into the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town. As well as being Scotland's oldest purpose-built concert hall, St Cecilia's Hall is open as a free public museum and hosts a range of concerts and public events. St Cecilia’s Hall is proud to be part of The University of Edinburgh. We are currently open Thursday - Saturday.
Duration: 1-2 hours
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The area
Address
Neighborhood: Old Town
Few Edinburghers live in the Old Town, but its labyrinth of dank alleys and steep streets suggests this was not always the case. Today, it’s mostly visitors, tartan-flavored souvenir shops, and pipers that you’ll find on its cobbled streets. This is the place to get a feel for Auld Reekie (Old Smelly), as the town was once nicknamed, and stroll the Royal Mile, the thoroughfare that links the castle with the royal palace – two of Edinburgh’s great set-piece attractions. But there’s lots more exploring to do here down dozens of little alleys, or wynds, while at night the city’s busiest clubs erupt along the Cowgate which is closed to traffic for this purpose.
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See what travelers are saying
  • Kevin4455
    Carlisle, United Kingdom24 contributions
    Wonderful gem of a museum!
    We spent a fabulous time exploring the instruments in this really interesting museum. The building is hidden but beautiful. The lass on reception was very helpful and friendly. Even on a Saturday afternoon the place was not at all busy. We would have loved to attend a concert in the hall if time had allowed. Maybe another time!
    Visited February 2023
    Written March 1, 2023
  • Jon C
    Bournemouth, United Kingdom2 contributions
    A mind-blowing experience for music lovers.
    The building and its exhibits are truly amazing. It's tucked away out of the maelstrom that is Edinburgh, yet very accessible. The staff are happy to explain all aspects of music making and I've come away, thrilled and delighted. Whether an afternoon or a brief half hour, this free museum should not be missed.
    Visited April 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written April 30, 2023
  • TravellingADGW
    Edinburgh, United Kingdom22 contributions
    Very Welcoming
    Absolutely lovely. Very welcome and informative staff willing to talk about everything in the museum. I think one of the members was called Chris and discussed much of the collections with me. Thanks for a great experience.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 15, 2023
  • Patrick G
    4 contributions
    Definitely check this place out!
    Exceeded expectations. Spent about an hour but if you are really into music, could take much longer. Fascinating collection of instruments we've never seen before. As others have said, the staff were incredibly welcoming and knowledgeable.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written August 1, 2023
  • Philip B
    3 contributions
    Enlightening tour.
    Many thanks to David. David is a volunteer and resident piano expert. He will put the instrument in the context of history. Music lovers can wallow in a wonderful collection of instruments 🎹 🎸 🥁 and the second oldest purpose-built concert hall in the UK. Discover. You will be rewarded.
    Thank you for taking the time to review your experience on one of our volunteer-led tours! We're so glad that you enjoyed your visit and will pass along your feedback to David!
    Written February 16, 2024
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited November 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written November 2, 2023
  • LisaB
    4 contributions
    A wonderful museum in the heart of the Old Town
    This is a gem of a place! I used to live in Edinburgh, have visited many times since and only recently learnt of its existence. Unlike many museums, it is QUIET. Or at least it was when I was there. Very relaxing after the busyness of the Royal mile, etc. The room of the keyboards is upstairs, the larger room downstairs is where the strings, brass, wind and percussion instruments are displayed. I loved seeing the serpents, the violas da gamba, the bassoons, etc. Everything is well labelled with the history of each instrument. Everything is beautifully presented and there are some really surprising things too e.g. a violin, known as a pochette, which is not a violin-shape but rather thin and straight like a recorder! Various sorts of pipes including the Scottish bagpipes but also the much smaller Northumbrian smallpipes usually played in a domestic setting (or, contemporaneously, by Kathryn Tickell.) There's just so much of interest and I'll be visiting here again. A small selection of merchandise on the way it (I bought the official guide which has some lovely photos in it.) Entrance is free and the staff are helpful.
    Thank you for taking the time to review us. We're glad to hear you enjoyed your visit and we hope to see you again soon!
    Written February 16, 2024
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited January 2024
    Traveled solo
    Written January 23, 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

5.0
75 reviews
Excellent
70
Very good
5
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languageaficionado
3 contributions
May 2021
What a lovely museum filled with a large array of beautiful, ornate, and fascinating old instruments of all kinds. The layout of the museum makes it easy to walk through and not miss anything and the atmosphere is calm, which makes the experience all the better. I will definitely be going back again as well as for the concerts when they start up again.
Written May 24, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

vessi80
North Lanarkshire, UK1,080 contributions
Jul 2022
Five minutes from the madness of the Mile. Re-opened after restoration in 2017, the striking modern exterior is matched inside by four stylish galleries of historic instruments and an 18th century Concert Hall , the oldest in Scotland.
It's pure harpsichord heaven in here ,never mind the brass and the woodwind.
Though you cannot touch the main exhibits, there are drawers of surprises. So, you can pluck a string or guess the age of a bow, no problem. Kids will love opening those drawers .
The info is educational and really entertaining. Cost of Living worries in the 18th century? Just decorate one side of your family harpsichord and the other rests against the wall.
Closed Mondays. Free Entry. Check online for the full programme of concerts being held here during the Festival.
Welcoming and knowledgeable staff.
Written July 30, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Allan V
1 contribution
May 2021
The surprise of finding this lovely gem in the centre of Edinburgh. The museum is fascinating as the hall is wondrous. Using the QR code to discover the commentary with sample instrument sound is a must. An amazing range of Harpsicords are on view together with a wide range of instruments from around the world. An interesting visit
Written May 13, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

lovelife
London, UK48 contributions
Oct 2021 • Couples
Lots of harpsichords, pianos etc but even better the ground floor collection of brass, wood and wind instruments. Hub was captivated for nearly an hours with the hurdy gurdy, saxes and Chinese items. Well worth a visit.
Written October 28, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Brian O
Lincoln, UK4 contributions
May 2022
What a find! We were walking along Cowgate in the Old City looking for access to Royal Mile and went up Niddry Street, narrow waste strewn alleyway and came across St Cecilia's. It has a modern attactive entrance.

Inside is a restored concert hall and modern museum where we heard a Handle duet, harpsichord and organ (musicians rehearsing)

The top floor has a large collection of keyboards showing the development of the instruments. A volunteer showed us around and a conservator/technician spoke about repairing/restoring them. In a last room a knowledgable and entertaining young woman spent time explaining interesting aspects of the instruments on display.

The lower floor has a fantastic display of stringed, wind, brass and percussion instruments with very interesting information.

An excellent way to spend a couple of hours for anyone with an interest in music!
Written May 27, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

JonRambo
West Sussex, UK126 contributions
Aug 2021
The museum is run by the University of Edinburgh and contains some of its musical instrument collection: seemingly one of the largest in the UK. It's presented in an accessible manner and does not come across as overly academic. The staff were very welcoming and knowledgeable. One of the curators was on hand to answer questions and gave us some demonstrations of the keyboard instruments.
The museum will appeal to anyone with an interest in music or history, including young children. Best of all, entry is free.
Written August 22, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Alexis D
1 contribution
Sep 2021
This place is such a gem! I found this walking past it is a little hidden on a side street known more for its bars, but this place is amazing. I met a volunteer named John and he was a well of information and super friendly. He basically gave me a personal tour! It was amazing!
10/10 would recommend. The University of Edinburgh runs it so its collection has some really amazing and rare instruments. They have a concert hall too that hosts musical performances and the acoustics in that room is something else. Seriously.

You are missing out if you don't go here.
Written September 12, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Andrew Kyle
Manchester, UK10 contributions
Jul 2021 • Friends
Huge and fascinating collection of musical instruments of all kinds - including some really important early harpsichords - in a beautiful modern purpose-built museum. Part of the University of Edinburgh, but open and welcoming to all. Highly recommended hidden gem.
Written August 1, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ginger-Effie
Northumberland, UK30 contributions
Jan 2023 • Friends
I visited this museum with my husband and some friends in January 2023. Everything in the museum was so interesting, from seeing a harpsichord once played by Mozart to seeing their concert room, and a lovely personal walk around the upper floor with John, one of the volunteers who just knew so much about the instruments in the museum and who spent time being genuinely invested in sharing his knowledge and making us feel welcome. The museum is over to floors with stairs and a lift, and has a room with tables and chairs amongst more instruments to look at, to just sit and takes five if you want to.

There’s no gift shop but there are a few bits and pieces near the reception desk you can buy - post cards, badges etc.

There’s no cafe but the museum is so close to the main streets of Edinburg that doesn’t matter at all.

From the Royal Mile the museum is down a short street which is slightly steep but I managed it up and down on my first trip out without crutches in for months so it’s not too bad. Accessibility was no problem inside either and there are places to sit on the way around.

The museum is free to get in as it’s a part of the university but a donation is very much deserved in my opinion. Great place to visit.
Written February 12, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Leslie W
175 contributions
Oct 2021
This place was really hard to find, I finally got there from Cowgate, not sure if that’s the normal way in. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but it’s a very nice performance hall, with a wonderful museum. I’m so glad I found it! They had an outstanding display of historical keyboard instruments, beautifully displayed and signed. There was a separate area showcasing other instruments besides keyboards as well.
Written November 10, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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