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Surgeons' Hall Museums

Certificate of Excellence
Neighbourhood:
Southside & Holyrood
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Address: Nicolson Street, Edinburgh EH8 9DW, Scotland
Phone Number:
+44 131 527 1711
Website
Today
10:00 - 17:00
Closed now
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Hours:
Sun - Sat 10:00 - 17:00
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Fee: Yes
Description:

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 740 reviews
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Very interesting!

Wanted to visit here for years and it did not disappoint! Loved the history of surgery and the pathology areas. So many interesting specimens! As a physiotherapist, I may perhaps... read more

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed yesterday
meganmcivor
,
Fife, United Kingdom
via mobile
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740 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 667: English reviews
Fife, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
48 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW via mobile

Wanted to visit here for years and it did not disappoint! Loved the history of surgery and the pathology areas. So many interesting specimens! As a physiotherapist, I may perhaps be biased with my review as I find anatomy and medicine interesting! My partner did get a little bored after a while. Very cheap entry (about £6) and we spent... More 

Helpful?
Thank meganmcivor
Galway, Ireland
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW via mobile

This was one of the best and most interesting attractions we saw in Edinburgh. A bit gruesome in some parts, but that's what it is all about. You get to see literally everything in the human body in jars . Also real skeletons. Make sure you have a couple of hours to spare. I had an hour and a half... More 

Helpful?
Thank aoifeg691
Dumfries and Galloway, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

I brought my mum here when she came up to visit me as her and my dad had been years ago before it was renovated and knew I would enjoy it. We are big into our medical dramas such as Greys Anatomy as well as things like 24 Hours in A and E - so it does take a lot... More 

Helpful?
Thank kellykat98
Westhill, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
34 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 days ago NEW

We stopped by here having already visited the national museum and art gallery etc on previous visits. The entry fee was £6.50 and the exhibits were fascinating and very informative. If you decide to go give yourself at least 3-4 hours to really give yourself enough time to really appreciate and read all the material and view all the samples... More 

Helpful?
Thank Chunkybuns
Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
50 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 days ago NEW

I must have spent four hours here altogether, and only time constraint took me away before I'd seen all I was interested in. From the centuries' old skulls and circulatory system preservation to the most modern techniques - you can try your hand at some keyhole surgery - there are surprises and wonder in every glass case.

Helpful?
Thank Christine M
Edinburgh
Level Contributor
28 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 days ago NEW

Went here on a Saturday with an eight and 10 year old. We were worried about the 8 year old, in case he got bored. Not at all. The kids really loved it and now they are drawing the human body and naming the parts! Result! Adults were so impressed with the whole set up and the staff also. Would... More 

Helpful?
Thank SPP7
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
38 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

Wonderful museum, entry fee reasonable for the wealth of information and unique displays. Probably not the best museum to visit if you are squeamish due to the body parts displayed in jars but fascinating exhibits on the history of medicine and surgery. Without some of the brave intellectual leaps our modern medicine may be very different. Super surgery tools and... More 

Helpful?
Thank Sophie R
North East England
Level Contributor
59 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

What a wonderful museum! Even for one who has little medical knowledge and for whom medical terminology is a foreign language. If I say that we spent over four hours here and at no point was I bored, you might get the picture. There are many other museums that could take a leaf out of this wonderful place. We began... More 

Helpful?
Thank MFPthetraveller
Scotland, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
57 reviews
39 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

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 

Helpful?
Thank Susan W
Tickhill, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
37 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago 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 

Helpful?
Thank Si69

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Biggar, United Kingdom
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Staying in Southside & Holyrood

Neighbourhood Profile
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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