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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 - 17:00
Closed now
See all hours
Sun - Sat 10:00 - 17:00
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 694 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 395
  • 194
    Very good
  • 27
  • 7
  • 4
Very interesting a lot to take in.

We really enjoyed our visit and well worth the £4 entrance fee as we were in for hours. Some of the exhibits are not for the faint hearted as they display a lot of body organs and... read more

4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 3 days ago
Neville S
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
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694 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 627: English reviews
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
39 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

We really enjoyed our visit and well worth the £4 entrance fee as we were in for hours. Some of the exhibits are not for the faint hearted as they display a lot of body organs and surgery over the years, if your into this sort of thing its a must.

Thank Neville S
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
91 reviews
49 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 days ago NEW

This is one of the most fascinating museums I've ever visited, and well worth the £6! I loved learning about the history of surgery, and how Edinburgh has had a large influence on medicine and surgery. I've got my cochlear implant surgery coming up in a couple of weeks, and considering it will be my first ever surgery, I was... More 

Thank shexbeaver
Limerick, Ireland
Level Contributor
21 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

We went to kill a few hours and didn't realise how fascinating it would be. The exhibits show all about the anatomy and how surgery has progressed through the years. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who is squeamish in any way as there are thousands of varying body parts on show. There is also hallways of every body part... More 

1 Thank clodagh g
Biggar, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
23 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

We visited the Hall as part of our break to Edinburgh. On excellent public transport links, as it is almost impossible to find an accessible parking space, which i require. The museum is full of many interesting displays. From the beginning of surgery to current techniques. Pros. Very good attraction Staff. Cons. The accessible toilet is not exactly accessible, as... More 

Thank schoolstloyal
Level Contributor
13 reviews
10 attraction reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

'Interesting' would be the understatement of the century here. Our two children (11 & 13) were engrossed in all the specimens and there were a few interesting interactive displays for them (& us) to play on, too.

Thank FuzzyDolphin
Level Contributor
21 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

I went there with my dad (not sure why I wasn't presented with just "Family" as an option, my dad isn't a teenager, nor am I) and we spent quite awhile in the museum reading about disturbing surgery procedures and taking in the gory sights of what various tumors, injuries, physical manifestations of sickness would look like. For someone who... More 

Thank Ashley F
Preston, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
51 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

My mother said this best... it's the most interesting and horrifying museum we've been to and yet still enjoyed. There is a small entrance fee (£6 when we went), and its spread over a couple of floors (with lifts). There is an exhibition on surgery through the ages and an extensive collection of innards for you to wander through. If... More 

Thank Scifibooknut
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago

I think you need to have a bit of a strong stomach but the exhibition, interpretation boards, films and exhibits are fascinating. Also - just a 3 min walk from National Museum.

1 Thank Karolina C
Prestwick, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
240 reviews
40 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 131 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Just along from the National Museum is a his interesting site. It is extremely educational and worth th effort

Thank snei
Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
110 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Went specifically to see death mask of grave robber Burke and book made out of his skin!! Rather macabre but hey ho. The museum is amazing and if you have any note rest in the human body you can see virtually every bit of it preserved in hats on the corridors of shelves. I would think most people have never... More 

1 Thank Sue M

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Biggar, United Kingdom
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Staying in Southside & Holyrood

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Southside & Holyrood
Many of Edinburgh’s student hangouts gather around university buildings in Southside, the sort of neighbourhood 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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