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Surgeons' Hall Museums

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

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 591 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 339
  • 166
    Very good
  • 24
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  • 4
Ever wanted to learn about history of medicine?

At one end of the museum we have displays depicting the move from leeches and other quackery in to modern medicine. A field of study that the Scots can be rightly proud of... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed 2 days ago
Mike R
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591 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 540: English reviews
Level Contributor
18 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

At one end of the museum we have displays depicting the move from leeches and other quackery in to modern medicine. A field of study that the Scots can be rightly proud of bringing so many advances to. In the first two sections you see some horrible and bizarre treatments. How amputation was done with little more than a saw... More 

Thank Mike R
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW via mobile

Without a doubt one of the best museums in Edinburgh if one is interested in medicine and anatomy. The amount and peculiarity of the pieces on display was simply exceptional.

Thank pizzaissodelish
Windsor, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
30 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

I've been wanting to see the book bound with William Burke's skin for years, wasn't disappointed. Pleasantly surprised to see the collection of specimens from military injuries.

Thank Alexandra S
Middlesbrough, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
25 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago NEW

For only £6 Enterance fee it's well worth a nosey .but be warned Cos these is certain body parts in jars.i Really enjoyed museum Visits.

Thank Adcon409
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 attraction reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago NEW

Absolutely fantastic!!!! Highly recommend a visit but make sure you leave plenty of time for it as we spent over 2.5 hours here!!!! Definitely value for money!!!

Thank GL2288
Istanbul, Turkey
Level Contributor
22 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

We ended up here by accident and had a wonderful time! It's not for the faint hearted but still a very interesting medical history and a view of the human body you rarely have the opportunity to see.

Thank Fistikci_Sahap
Level Contributor
71 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

For the budding doctor, or simply curious visitor, this museum has all sorts. It's recently refurbished and all exhibits are well set out. There are surgical devices and an interesting dentistry section.

Thank Doremouse
Lancashire, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
89 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

Amazing amazing if you love Anatomy and Physiology and all things related to life itself. Didn't have time to enjoy this because I would be in there for a day or two or three so I am coming back alone without my man so I can spend all the time I want exploring. So much to learn, very interactive and... More 

Thank Janine S
Eketahuna, New Zealand
Level Contributor
89 reviews
43 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

What a collection of bits and pieces. Edinburgh is rightly proud of its medical heritage and this museum is very interesting. At £6 it was a little steep but there is plenty to see.

Thank ekebabe
Manchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
45 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

Loved the little video presenting a dissection from the olden days, and the specimens were fantastic! Great rainy-day experience. Maybe less so for little kids, as some of the stuff in there is a bit on the creepy side.

Thank Paulina W

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Staying in Southside & Holyrood

Neighborhood Profile
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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