Surgeons' Hall Museums
Surgeons' Hall Museums
4.5
Speciality MuseumsScience MuseumsHistory Museums
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
Surgeons' Hall Museums is an award winning Museum that is home to one of the largest and most historic pathology collections in the United Kingdom. Surgeons’ Hall Museums reopened in 2015 after a major £4.4 million Heritage Lottery Funded redevelopment project. As one of the oldest Museums in Scotland, the collections grew from 1699 after 'natural and artificial curiosities' were publically sought. In the 1800s, the Museums expanded to include the remarkable collections of Sir Charles Bell and John Barclay, with the Playfair Building opening in 1832 to house these. Whilst the Museums were initially established as a medical teaching resource, all are now welcome to visit. The Museums are currently home to an extensive collection of pathology, anatomy and medical ephemera.
Duration: 2-3 hours
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The area
Address
Neighborhood: 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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See what travelers are saying
  • Floridafamily23
    Gulf Breeze, Florida12 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Student ID clarification needed
    While it was a wonderful experience and I give it a five star for families with teens, there needs to be some clarification. Our 17 year old who obviously is in school doesn’t have a student ID so she had to pay the adult price. Even a government issued ID didn’t count to prove she was of student age. The facility needs to understand that not all schools (Pre-college) give out student ID’s. While this was only a matter of a few dollars extra to pay, the situation was handled in a sharp manner by staff. Not at all a good first impression. Visit June 20, 2023.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written June 20, 2023
  • Pandabuddie
    United Kingdom1,459 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Interesting
    Well worth a visit if in Edinburgh. Entry fee is £9 you can use your ticket again on the same day if you decide to break up the day. Spent a few hours here going round all the exhibits. Very interesting information on display. Also, the garden is lovely to.
    Hello! It's wonderful to hear you enjoyed your visit to the museum. Thank you for taking the time to leave a review!
    Written July 11, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written July 10, 2023
  • DantesDame
    Basel, Switzerland232 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    An excellent collection
    This is an incredibly interesting and comprehensive museum. The displays are well laid out and there is a LOT of things to see. If this is your thing, then this is your place. The only reason I didn't give 5 "dots" was that some of the descriptions were a bit lacking in detail and depth. But you should still go, as the displays really are amazing.
    Hello! We're pleased to hear you enjoyed your visit. Thanks for taking the time to leave a review!
    Written August 18, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited July 2023
    Written July 28, 2023
  • Jason E
    205 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Fantastic
    First of all it’s great value, very cheap for 3 adults and 1 child. There is soo much to see and do, you would need to give yourself 2 hours. There is a great workshop where you assemble a full adult real skeleton. Plenty of interactive attractions. Thousands of body parts and organs stored in jars as well as hundreds of modern and old surgical instruments and devices. This is not for the faint hearted or squeamish. Highly recommended.
    Hello! It's wonderful to hear how much you enjoyed your visit. Thanks for taking the time to leave a review!
    Written August 18, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written August 3, 2023
  • Rooombiter
    Isle of Wight, United Kingdom809 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Allow plenty of time, so much to see
    We spent far too long in this wonderful museum, so many interesting exhibits beautifully displayed. We allowed a couple of hours and spent over three. I read a review that said “ we thought we weren’t squeamish but it turns out we were” and that’s exactly what happened with us, by the time we were at the end of the pathological specimens we were a paler shade than we started! It’s not all body bits in jars though, so much to see here from early dental instruments to the latest robotic controlled surgical wonders and you could get the chance to operate a rib spreader… who wants to miss out on that:)
    Hello! It's fantastic to hear you enjoyed your time at the museum. Thank you for taking the time to leave a review!
    Written August 25, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written August 23, 2023
  • Kim W
    Gippsland, Australia269 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Most unusual but good.
    I would have scored this higher except for the fact that the Museum does not take into consideration the needs of infirm visitors. There are NO seats anywhere, except the AV theatre, where one can sit down to rest. Not even a few small stools. This is NOT good. But the exhibits themselves were excellent and informative.
    Hi Kim. We're glad you enjoyed the museum. We do have small folding stools available from our ticket desk for those who require it. There is also seating available in our pathology gallery and our Body Voyager gallery. Thanks for taking the time to leave a review.
    Written September 11, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written September 10, 2023
  • John Doe
    31 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A truly fascinating experience
    This was, by far, the most interesting museum I've ever been to. Absolutely loads of exhibits, with excellent explanation and background, spread over several floors. It's worth bearing in mind that the exhibits may be difficult for some, given each represents a life, however they're tastefully presented and justified by context. One can spend hours here.
    Hello! It's fantastic to hear how much you enjoyed the museum. Thanks for taking the time to leave a review.
    Written October 11, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 8, 2023
  • rebecca c
    90 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    The best museum in Edinburgh - interesting, thought provoking & so many exhibits.
    I visited with my 14 year old daughter who has aspirations to go into medicine or veterinary practice. We hadn't planned a visit here in our jam packed Edinburgh itinerary, but as we were walking past we decided to pay a visit and so glad we did - what a truly amazing museum. Some great interactive exhibits and many thought prevoking ones. Really opened up conversations - eg the blackened lungs - my daughters response was that she "didnt realise they went black for real" and she would "never ever pick up a cigarette or vape ever" having seen that. Equally the embryo skeletons opened conversations about pregnancy, terminations and how she hadnt realised how developed they were at various stages. I loved seeing organs such as an apendix with gangrene & gall bladder full of actual gall stones. It brings medicine and the body inro perspective being able to actually see it! The war wounds and Burke and hair exhibits were gruesome but fascinating. We could have spent days here and not seen it all. I'd recommend this museum whole heartedly & if you just visit 1 museum in edinburgh I'd choose this one.
    Hi Rebecca. It's brilliant to hear how much both you and your daughter enjoyed the museum. Thank you for taking the time to leave a review.
    Written October 11, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written October 9, 2023
  • Freedom20936636000
    1 contribution
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    The Blood and Guts Tour is a Must!
    Our tour guide Gerry made this the best tour I have ever taken. He had done a ton of his own research and he made the subject matter spring to life. My kids, ages 14 to 13 loved it as well. We took the tour in June and I finally got around to writing a review, but it was that good and I wanted others to know. Believe me, if you have a remote…
    Hello! It's fantastic to hear you enjoyed the Blood and Guts tour with Gerry! Thanks for taking the time to leave a review.
    Written October 20, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written October 16, 2023
  • 2kirstyg
    London, United Kingdom6 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    What a gem of a museum!
    My first visit despite bring a resident most of my adult life, and will be back with others to show off this brilliant museum. Spend a good couple of hours going through the galleries, learning about the history and future of surgery and dentistry, including enough pickled body parts to keep anyone happy. Or disgusted. Trying out the keyhole surgery machine was a highlight.
    Hi Kirsty! It's fantastic to hear you enjoyed your visit. Thank you for taking the time to leave a review! We look forward to seeing you again in the future.
    Written October 31, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 29, 2023
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

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles1,857 reviews
Excellent
1,258
Very good
487
Average
87
Poor
16
Terrible
9

Kristian
Ljubljana, Slovenia31 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2020 • Couples
If you just want to see some stuff its cool, but if you want to take a bit of time for the museum take most of your day for it. It is gigantic and there are jars everywhere. It is also interactive and includes a bunch of unapropriate videos for a weak stomach. I loved the whole museum and am really blown by it. We were 2 (students) and paid 9. The prices for the museums (all that I visited) are really fair considering what visitors get in return. It is amazing
Written September 24, 2020
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.
Hi Kristian. We're glad to hear you thoroughly enjoyed your time in the museum. Thanks for taking the time to leave a review!
Written September 30, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

ItTastesLikeFeet
Edinburgh, UK498 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Solo
A well designed, modern museum over different levels. There are stairs as well as a lift so each level is easily accessible. Head to the reception on level 3 to get your ticket first. Staff were friendly and helpful, and they provide a map of the levels so you know what you are heading into. Adult ticket is £8 and no photography is allowed.

Really interesting to see the history of medical discovery as well as anatomy, skeletons and various diseases. A great level of detail in all the descriptions of the exhibitions and I found it very informative. There were some interactive parts scattered around the museum as well as videos and diagrams. There doesn’t seem to be an age limit on the museum despite the sensitive nature of some of the subjects - there were young children visiting when I was there. In my opinion it is a great learning opportunity for children, especially the anatomy and bones section. Definitely a niche museum but worth a visit for those interested.
Written February 22, 2020
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.

Petunia Landside
38 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2021 • Couples
The museum is really really good, very informative and gory. Definitely must see if in Edinburgh.
The tour however with Chris was a slight disappointment, not allowing masks off OUTSIDE when we were doing a 1m distancing. He rudely asked if I know my mouth AND nose were attached to my lungs when I was putting it back on and pulling it out to cover my whole face. With a mask on himself I struggled to hear but otherwise the tour was informative and I would recommend with a different guide. To add Chris was 10 minutes late and we were not told, just aimlessly standing waiting and we were thinking about leaving.
Ignore that and the tour was great, informative and the museum is really unique and fascinating.
Written May 16, 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.
Hello. We’re sorry to hear you were disappointed with our Blood and Guts walking tour. The safety of our guides and visitors is our main priority therefore we do require both guides and visitors to wear face coverings (unless medically exempt) while on the tour. We do publicise this policy on both our Eventbrite booking page and our website and this policy is in line with other walking tours in the city. We have spoken to Chris and the comment about the nose and mouth being attached to the lungs is a joke he makes at the start of each of his tours and is not directed at anyone in particular. We apologise for the time keeping. This is not our usual standard and we will be looking into this further. We’re glad you enjoyed your visit to the museum. Thanks for taking the time to leave a review.
Written May 18, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

GailZ1889IG
Kirkcudbright, UK6 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
Just back from my 5th visit to the Museum! Originally recommended to me by a friend a few years ago, each visit does not fail to disappoint, there is so much to take in. Truly outstanding collections of almost every body part possible in varying shapes/sizes! Amazing how medicine, surgical and dental techniques have advanced and progressed over the years, I am just thankful that I am living in 2020! If you are in Edinburgh please do make time for this, I cannot recommend it highly enough. Friendly staff each time I have visited. Well laid out with plenty of space to walk around without feeling cramped and no pressure to keep moving, spend as much time reading about and staring at the exhibits as you like. Also enjoyed the touchscreen videos (optional) of keyhole operations etc, which are situated at various intervals throughout the collections. Regardless of your background, whether you are medically qualified or purely someone who has an interest in such things or just someone who is curious, you will most certainly come away having learned something! Oh...do check out the 7 toed foot, the stomach hairballs (wow) and the extensive pathology section!
Written January 16, 2020
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.
Hi Gail. It's fantastic to hear you enjoy the museum so much! Our collections definitely make you appreciate how far the world of surgery has advanced. Thank you for your kind comments about our team and for taking the time to leave a review. We hope to welcome you back for visit number 6 soon.
Written January 21, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

paulanchris
Greasby, UK503 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2021 • Couples
I was really looking forward to this visit. Unlike most museums this charged an entry fee of £9.00 I was so glad I was able to get a concession of 4.50 and I still dont feel it was worth it.
Unless you just want to look at parts of human bodies preserved in formaldehyde give this exhibit a miss.
It just didnt grab my attention. Wouldn't waste your money. You couldn't even take photos
Written July 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.
Hello. We're sorry to hear you did not enjoy your visit to the museum. We understand that our collections are not for everyone. As we are not funded by local or national government we do need to charge an entry fee to help us preserve our historic collection of national significance. At £8 for adults and £4.50 for concessions we are one of the cheapest paid for attractions in the city. Due to the nature of our collections, we do have to adhere to the Human Tissue Act which means we cannot allow visitors to take pictures in the galleries. We hope you enjoyed the rest of your day.
Written July 2, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

JPickle
Northumberland, UK94 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Friends
We had been wanting to go to the museum for a long time and when we finally got round to it it was well worth it! First of all the entrance price is very reasonable and NHS staff members get discount too. The collection is vast and interesting and there are lots of interactive opportunities too. Staff selling tickets/ in the shop were extremely friendly and chatty. Overall a great thing to do when in Edinburgh!
Written March 1, 2020
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.
Hello! It's great to hear you finally made it along and enjoyed your visit to the museum. Thanks for taking the time to leave a review and for your kind comments about our team!
Written March 3, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Gareth B
3 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2020 • Couples
Sorry but not as good as the reviews would have you believe. Definitely overpriced. The small footprint of the rooms means you’re pushed along by people coming up behind. The collection is very disorganised. Not somewhere I’d choose to visit again, especially for the price.
Written March 4, 2020
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.
Hi Gareth. We're sorry to hear you did not enjoy your visit. At £8 for adults and £4.50 for concessions, we are one of the cheapest paid for attractions in Edinburgh and many visitors spend at least 2 hours with us. In the History of Surgery Museum we have organised the collection to tell the history of Edinburgh's contribution to surgery in a chronological order and in the Wohl Pathology Museum the collection is split into surgical specialties. We understand that due to the nature of our collection, the museum is not for everybody. We hope you enjoyed the rest of your time in Edinburgh.
Written March 5, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Glen O
York, UK12 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2021 • Couples
A good afternoon with many interesting exhibits. I would recommend the museum to anyone interested in a health care environment or who were studying or considering an education course in an associated field. Our only disappointment with the afternoon was a lady who worked in the ticket office was abrasive and rude and far from helpful. The polar opposite from her younger colleague who was pleasant, helpful and informative.
Written August 8, 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.
Hi Glen. We're glad to hear you enjoyed exploring our collections. We are sorry to hear about the interaction you had with our staff, this is unusual as we are normally complimented on how friendly our team are. We will discuss this with our front of house team. Thanks for taking the time to leave a review.
Written August 9, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Mobile819987
55 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2020
I had a special intrest in visiting, I believe we were in there for well over three hours,educational and sometimes gruesome, there are many real bodies, skeletons and preserved specimens to view,made me feel thankful to those who had suffered and sacrificed so much that we can have the high standard of medical care these days.. There is also a good display of surgical/dental instruments through the ages,and a section on military medicine and how it has benefited health care.
Small children and the more delicate persons may be a little,well, shocked is too strong a word, as the whole thing is done without voyeuristic sensationalism, the older kids will love it.
Written March 13, 2020
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.
Hello! It's fantastic to hear you enjoyed your time at the museum. Thanks for taking the time to leave a review.
Written March 16, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

NottsKim
Nottingham, UK309 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Family
My daughter loves anything gory, and is fascinated by medicine when she heard about this museum it was right at the top of her list of things to do.

We found it absolutely fascinating. The exhibits were very informative and held lots of information in an easy to digest format. We left with a much greater appreciation of Scotland and Edinburgh’s in particular contribution to surgery.

That said this museum contains lots of real body parts, they are respectfully displayed but even my daughter was disturbed by some. I would say if you are easily upset or put off by the idea of death or injury this really isn’t the place for you. That’s not to say the museum isn’t fantastic it is, and it approaches a difficult subject with a lot of dignity. It’s just not for everyone.
Written February 23, 2020
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.
Hi Kim. It's great to hear you both you and your daughter enjoyed your time at the museum. Thanks for taking the time to leave a review!
Written February 24, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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Surgeons' Hall Museums - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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