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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 729 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 417
  • 204
    Very good
  • 27
  • 7
  • 4

Great museum very interesting and centrally positioned in Edinburgh also near a few other attractions.so you could have a day of it. £6.50 entrance fee or £4 for students and NHS... read more

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed yesterday
Susan W
Scotland, United Kingdom
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729 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 659: English reviews
Scotland, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
57 reviews
39 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW

Great museum very interesting and centrally positioned in Edinburgh also near a few other attractions.so you could have a day of it. £6.50 entrance fee or £4 for students and NHS staff. But well worth the fee, Spent 2.5 hours here. You follow the history and life of the men who made history in medicine and the advancements they made... More 

Thank Susan W
Tickhill, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
35 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW via mobile

This was on my wife's of must do things in Edinburgh, whilst I was not very keen at 1st I soon became a fan . A £6.50 entrance fee at 1st seams a little expensive but when u start walking around but becomes cheap . A great selection of exhibits from the very early stages of modern medicine right up... More 

Thank Si69
Towcester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
63 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago NEW via mobile

Very interesting history of medicine/surgery. Nature of the exhibits mean it's probably not suitable for the squeamish or very young but a must for those with an interest in medicine or health. Takes a good couple of hours to take it all in.

Thank Towman2014
Cheshire, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago NEW via mobile

This was part of a cultural trip round Edinburgh. Very informative and interesting. Found the specimens amazing

Thank jacqueline d
Level Contributor
31 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago NEW via mobile

Never been to a place like this before!! Unreal what is on show but so interesting. This place is well worth a visit. £6.50 entry charge which we found fair priced.

Thank JZ4499
Auckland, New Zealand
Level Contributor
45 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago NEW via mobile

My boyfriend and I are both nurses and found this museum very interesting. It is immaculately presented and has a good range of strange things to see. The interactive parts were fun. The lady at the front desk was so lovely and welcoming as well! :)

Thank Laken R
London, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
62 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago NEW via mobile

Well presented and a variety of specimen. Lots of interactive features. Maybe a little bit pricey at £6.50 entry but had I known I would have brought my NHS badge for concession. Oh and the cheery receptionist really helped with the experience. Impressed!

Thank CanadianJames
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

It is a great little museum. Terrific displays. If you are interested in medicine, its history then it is a must visit attraction. Not sure if if would be suitable for very young kids though - cut of limbs, fingers, skulls, feet affected by cancerous growths might give the little ones nightmares :)

Thank limpkorn
Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 days ago NEW via mobile

Enjoyed our day here. As a nurse I found surgeons hall really interesting with samples dating back years. Lots of instruments on display some of the older ones looked brutal compared to what is used now. Great museum will come again.

Thank Cammy210793
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
26 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 days ago NEW via mobile

We were looking for something different to do for a day trip in Edinburgh. My 9 year old son has been doing research on Burke and Hare at school recently so decided to visit the Medical and Pathology museums at Surgeons Hall. I was worried it might not be appropriate for a 9 and a 12yr old but I shouldn't... More 

Thank MacOnTheHill

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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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