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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
Open 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 546 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 314
  • 155
    Very good
  • 24
  • 7
  • 4
Gruesome but great.

Gorgeously renovated building; a strangely calm place where you can see all manner of medical memorabilia; only £6 to get in and an easy way to spend 2 hours; on my visit list... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed yesterday
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546 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 504: English reviews
Level Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

Gorgeously renovated building; a strangely calm place where you can see all manner of medical memorabilia; only £6 to get in and an easy way to spend 2 hours; on my visit list every time I come to Edinburgh.

Thank YummyMummy24
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

This was a fascinating visit. A bit gruesome in parts - what was in those bottles!!! Children would love it!

Thank Mary D
Preston, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

Myself and a group of friends visited this museum complex. We were really impressed by the variety of specimens and artefacts on display and I personally felt like I'd learned something. Everyone in my party said they enjoyed it. It was a good way to spend a couple of hours.

Thank ChristopheBlades
Level Contributor
22 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

If you have any interest in Science, Medicine, anatomy or human body this historical collection is one of a kind; amazing artifacts and anatomical specimens.

Thank BaronAnchorage
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW via mobile

We came about an hour before it closed, but we had a ton of fun looking at everything. Very well laid out and very informative

Thank MelBee16
london county hall
Level Contributor
292 reviews
169 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 112 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

On entering it can be confusing as to the way in, straight up the stairs or there is a lift to the left. Firstly this is not a place for children, it is to be taken seriously. There is plenty to see, you can spend at least 2 hours looking at the jars of various pieces of the anatomy. Lots... More 

Thank Beatrice-TA
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
33 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

I would absolutely recommend making a trip to the Surgeon's Hall Museums if you are in Edinburgh or passing through. I made sure I got in about 15:30 - my own gripe if I didn't give myself enough time to get round all of the attractions. If you're interested in the Edinburgh grave robbings, then this is the place for... More 

Thank A T
Birmingham UK
Level Contributor
27 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 days ago NEW via mobile

Apart from the operating theatre simulation this was like an old fashioned type of museum with many cases of artifacts with explanations nearby. Modern building which needs a visionary to make the most of it.

Thank snippo
Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland
Level Contributor
53 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

Overall it was informative, and had many old collections. The museum melded modern day technology with the old. Plenty of things to learn about and it included a tribute to women in medicine. Also, the admission fee of 6 pounds was reasonable compared to some.

Thank Yves22
Level Contributor
13 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

Absolutely fascinating! Loved the exhibits. Only wish that they had been set up slightly differently- maybe with plaques that tell more of a story as to what you are looking at rather than just the disease. Still very cool and worth a visit.

Thank DavidR2233

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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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