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“Absolutely fascinating”

Surgeons' Hall Museums
Ranked #27 of 399 things to do in Edinburgh
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: 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.
Useful Information: Wheelchair access
Brecon, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
205 reviews
74 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 128 helpful votes
“Absolutely fascinating”
Reviewed November 23, 2012

Absolutely fascinating – really knowledgeable and helpful staff. Access is through the old college up some winding marble stairs (would be difficult if you were mobility impaired). Once inside there are some historic exhibits and dioramas but then you can move to the rear of the main halls and explore surgery progression and medical interventions from the past 100+ years, truly outstanding. Have a go a keyhole surgery, use the microscopes and review the old texts – highly recommended.

Visited November 2012
Thank HyddaMedras
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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826 reviews from our community

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Amersfoort, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
160 reviews
62 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 115 helpful votes
“unusual, twisted and interesting”
Reviewed November 20, 2012

The surgeon's hall is located in Edinburgh's medical university and you have to walk past reception, thru some corridors and up the stairs to get there.
The exhibition is unusual as well, ranging from historical exhibits, preparations of limbs and bodies to modern medicine.
Some parts are really eerie, like examples of disease and wounds from past wars (amputated limbs of soldiers who participated in the battle of Waterloo).
Most unusual is a little book whose leather was fabricated from the skin of a serial killer.
Not recommended if you are with small children, highly interesting for people interested in medicine and bizarre things.

Visited November 2012
Thank nielshartgers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brighton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
113 reviews
40 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
“A good summary of who's who in Scottish surgery”
Reviewed November 15, 2012

Difficult to find the way in initially - and you have to climb quite a few stairs to get there - which makes you wonder if you might need some surgical support when you arrive.
Well laid out museum on three different levels with a lot of interest in historical and more recent medicine and plenty of body parts in jars on display! It was good to discover some of the stories behind surgical breakthroughs - and there is plenty of explanation and pictorial presentation. There has been an attempt to make the exhibits more interactive with various pieces of equipment available to try out. One area had short video clips on specific aspects of medical interest - but they were not always audible or working. Not badly priced for £5 (adult) or £3 (concession) - and takes an hour or so to look round - longer if you decide to try out some of the equipment!

Visited November 2012
Thank Jean120557
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sudbury, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
251 reviews
91 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 88 helpful votes
“Fascinating insight”
Reviewed November 7, 2012

Brilliant displays of medical history - some you wouldn't really want to see but intriguing anyway. Lovely building and well kept. Definitely worth a visit

Visited May 2012
Thank frequentflyersuffolk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Inverurie, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
15 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Museum with a difference”
Reviewed October 28, 2012

Not for the faint hearted! Lots of interesting exhibits of surgery and medicine across the years. Well laid out with exhibits clearly numbered. Good value for money.

Visited October 2012
Thank Anne A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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