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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 505 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 290
  • 147
    Very good
  • 20
  • 7
  • 3
Very Interesting and Informative. Well Worth a Visit.

I visited this museum on a school trip as a child and returned recently as an adult. It's fantastic and, following a refurbishment, has many more exhibits than it had years ago... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed today
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
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505 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 467: English reviews
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
47 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed today NEW

I visited this museum on a school trip as a child and returned recently as an adult. It's fantastic and, following a refurbishment, has many more exhibits than it had years ago and now also has a section relating to dentistry. Very interesting section on world wars too. You don't need to be linked to medicine to enjoy this, just... More 

Thank Yep_Its_Holiday_Time
Level Contributor
62 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

I wish it were a bit bigger and a bit more well-organized, but a great collection of surgeons tools and artifacts from the centuries, and the pathology library has an excellent array of specimens well worth seeing.

Thank clhdoctor
Belo Horizonte, MG
Level Contributor
30 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW via mobile

My wife and I are both doctors and maybe this had a great influence since the museum is mostly based on surgery and we were a surgeon and an anesthesiologist together. But our children, 16 and 14, also found it very interesting. You can read details of the history of medicine and at the same time see the most recent... More 

Thank mpimenta
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Level Contributor
50 reviews
32 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

Fascinating displays of diseases, treatments, equipment used over the ages...Very well laid out. Includes an entire floor on dentists. Lots of body parts to illustrate the diseases, which will either enthrall or nauseate, depending on your tolerance for those. Reasonable cost, very nice staff.

Thank travelg38
Level Contributor
17 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 days ago NEW via mobile

This museum is fascinating! Whilst I may be biased working for the NHS and also having a keen interest in health it is an amazing and insightful collection of artefacts of human remains and samples. My boyfriend only felt a little unwell once and that was when I watched a hip replacement video on a video screen; I already realised... More 

Thank Naughty But N
Fife, Scotland
Level Contributor
58 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

Very reasonable cost to get in and larger than we thought, well laid out and the dental section was of particular interest as we have all been to the dentist. We found it a really interesting place to visit.

Thank Strath101
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

We paid 20 pounds for a family (2 adults and 2 children) to enter the museum. It took about two hours to go through it. My preteen son was completely fascinated. My teen son also liked . There are some specimens that were a bit gruesome but everything was well explained. I really loved visiting this museum. No pictures allowed... More 

Thank Aura H
Edmonton, Canada
Level Contributor
40 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

This exhibit was excellent especially for those in the medical profession. Different areas - I found it interesting the evolution of medical instruments - some of the old dental instruments are even similar to dental instruments of present day.

Thank KateC555
Level Contributor
110 reviews
69 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 6 days ago NEW

We visited here due to it raining but it was so fascinating! There are all sorts of sections of the human body - take time to wander around and examine the jars closely. cost £6 each to enter.

Thank maudkidd
Bo'ness, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
26 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 6 days ago NEW

As my wife is a medical student, she was keen to show me this place. The entrance to the museum has recently had a make over so is modern with easy access for wheel chairs. The museum layout is spread out over several floors so plenty of walking required. It shows the vast history of medical training and discoveries Scotland... More 

1 Thank Da-Reeds

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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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